The cost of living in Hong Kong is notably high compared to several other Asian regions. It used to rank among the top three in the past two decades in having the highest cost of living. Being a territory recognized as East meeting West, this cosmopolitan city has maintained its stature even with the change in governance since the handover in 1997.
Recently, it only made the 5th spot in all Asian states and 79th globally. The deflation was mainly due to the weakening US and Hong Kong dollar. Expatriates are looking forward to making the move since the turn of events. Living in Hong Kong is 50% more expensive than Thailand and 20% more expensive than Singapore and Guang Zhou. Despite this, expats in Hong Kong shared in a post last August 5, 2009 in the Hong Kong Expat Forum :
Its become even more quick paced and competitive and of course, more Chinese biased. HK is totally dependent on the Mainland to thrive and you can see that from the population mix to the stance of the local media. Oh yes and pollution is worse
Everything in Hong Kong can be expensive from apartment rentals to leisure expenses to basic commodities. People relatively earn more, with an inflation rate of 2% as well due to the fast-growing trade and commercial industries Hong Kong is the richest state of the Republic of China and has higher gross domestic product per capita than the United Kingdom.
Hong Kong is the 11th largest trader in the world since it relies mostly on imported products and materials for consumption and basic necessities. In 2009, Hong Kong again proved its competence in the global market by ranking 6th in per capita GDP at almost $189, 798,100,000.00, currently 34th place in the world.
Food and Drinks Costs in Hong Kong
Food and beverages in Hong Kong are expensive since almost all materials and raw ingredients come from Mainland China and other nations. The state relies heavily on imported goods and products for daily consumption of citizens. On the average, an individual can spend around 300 euros for food and drinks.
Imported meat products and canned goods and fresh fruits and vegetables are very expensive and can cost twice as much compared to other Asian countries. Dining out in a middle class restaurant costs about 80 euros. There are also authentic Chinese dishes available. Hong Kong does not export any food or agricultural product.
Beverages are also expensive including water, which is primarily bottled and imported from Switzerland and other European regions. Hong Kong has a lot of imported wines, beers, tea and coffee products. All of these come from either Mainland China, which can be comparatively cheaper, or other Western countries. Wheat and grain products are imported from China, meat and poultry come from Australia and fruits and vegetables come from Thailand and the Philippines.
Clothing and Accessories Costs in Hong Kong
Since Hong Kong is very much a part of China, expatriates get to enjoy affordable China-made wares and accessories. These are available in wholesale or bulk in most flea and night markets in downtown areas as mainlanders boosted retail sales in the territory. Jewelry, gadgets and electronics are also very cheap but quality is questionable since some are not made of durable material. Overall, footwear, clothes, cosmetic products and other accessories are one of the advantages in Hong Kong making it an automatic shopping destination.
Hong Kong also offers high-end clothes and accessories made by the top brands and designers from all over the world. In Kowloon district, there are several shops and malls filled with all kinds of labels and brands. Tourists generally flock to Hong Kong to shop since the styles and patterns are very much updated with British standards. Street fashion is highly influenced by Western culture and one can definitely find any type of clothing, textile and style at the right price.
Housing Costs in Hong Kong
Majority of the population in reside in apartment buildings and housing enclaves. Since the space area of Hong Kong is not enough to provide land ownership to all its residents, there are a number of private and public institutions that aim to properly organize housing schemes. Immigrants will then be more safe and secure and have the best benefits in terms of living space and conditions.
On the average, a single-bedroom apartment in Hong Kong can cost around 500 euro every month including utilities and water. Prices of course depend on quality and condition. At present, Hong Kong is experiencing shortage in good and livable apartments and condominiums.
Only the wealthiest get to live in luxurious hilltop villages overlooking the China Sea. Expatriates seldom get to have the opportunity to purchase land in Hong Kong, which averages around 1 million euro at least. Housing authorities provide housing plans for rural and urban tenants and senior citizens. The government also offers a number of apartments for free to those who are earning less than average.
The worldwide recession has placed a damper on the real estate market in the territory since 2008, but this proved only for the short term as market indicators show that in 2009 steady increases in transactions and prices are being recorded.
Services Costs in Hong Kong
Transportation in Hong Kong is rampant and reliable. Taxis and MRTs are the usual modes. It is ideal to travel on foot or take the bus to save more while others ride bicycles around town. Daily transport in Hong Kong costs around five to ten euros. Health care is also given importance especially to senior citizens. Medical and rehabilitative services are not subsidized and each worker is recommended to have medical insurance.
There are a few good schools in Hong Kong and students usually study up to age 15 to 17 years old before moving to mainland China or other Southeast Asian countries to continue college. A number of notable schools in Hong Kong are affiliated with British universities that allow students pursue their degrees in Europe. As reported by an expat in February 1, 2009 in the Hong Kong Expat Forum as the following:
There are so many good schools in hong kong. ESF schools.
american international school. japanese international school. chinese international school. german international school. canadian international school.
Private education is still the best as education is never subsidized by the government.
Employment Costs in Hong Kong
It is relatively easy to find a job in Hong Kong considering that expatriates fall into the specific categories in demand. Foreign investors are always welcome but it might be harder to find a niche in the century-old competitive market. Multinational and local firms have downsized in the past decade to improve overall costs.
Hong Kong continues to dwell on the service and tourism industry while other sectors drastically changed in performance and status due to the recent changes.
Hong Kong has an employment rate of over 90%, which is one of the highest in the world. There are several low-paying jobs available but expatriates may have a harder time getting their dream job. Opportunities and company benefits are not many since firms are constantly cutting costs. Hong Kong will continue to rely on trade and imported goods for raw materials. Overall, competence and skills are essential in successfully landing a job that lasts in Hong Kong.