Living and Working in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a great place to launch a career in Asia. It serves as the regional office for many multinational companies as well as a gateway to China.

Topics that will be covered include:

  • Geography
  • People/population numbers
  • Economy, major industries, and career opportunities for young professionals
  • Job Boards
  • Business Associations and  Chambers of Commerce
  • Cost of living for a young single professional
  • Visa process
  • Expat Web sites

Hong Kong Information

Geography

Hong Kong comprises Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, the New Territories and many smaller islands. The terrain is hilly, containing steep inclines and a natural port.  The climate is cool and humid during the winter months with a hot and often rainy spring and summer.

People

Hong Kong is one of the most heavily populated countries in the world with a density of about 6.426 people per square kilometer.  Cantonese is the official dialect spoken by the majority of the population. English is also an official language, understood by greater than one-third of the population. Total population (as of 2010) 7.097 million with 95% being Chinese and 5% other nationalities.

Economy and Career Opportunities

Hong Kong has one of the most robust and dynamic economies in the world. In 2010 Hong Kong’s economy rebounded to 6.8% from the globally-based financial meltdown.  Hong Kong’s economic strengths include a strong banking infrastructure, almost no public debt, a sufficient supply of foreign exchange reserves, and a rigorously enforced anti-corruption government.

GDP (as of 2010) $224.1 billion (reflects current market prices) GDP actual growth rate (as of 2010): 6.8%

Main industries include finance, textiles, clothing, electronics plastics, watches, clocks.

Workforce: (as of 2010): 3.67 million

Workforce by industry:

  • Wholesale, retail, import/export, and hospitality: 32.4%
  • Finance insurance, real estate, and business: 14.1%
  • Manufacturing: 3.5%

Hong Kong is one of the top cities for a career in finance. HSBC, Citigroup, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and J.P Morgan Chase are just a few of the major financial institutions with offices in the city. As such, there is growing market for brokerage services, wealth managements, and trading jobs. While candidates may be able to get by on English alone, knowledge of Cantonese would be especially beneficial.

Average monthly disposable salary (after tax) $2,406.88

Job Boards for Expat Jobs in Hong Kong

In this list we’re only considering English-language job boards. Nonetheless, you may find that some of the positions for jobs in Hong Kong that are posted on these boards require fluent- or native-level Chinese — it definitely helps to be bilingual in China.

Happy Browsing!

1. Monster Hong Kong

Also posts listings for Mainland China as well as Hong Kong jobs

2. Jobs in China

China’s number 1 international job board

3. Hong Kong IT Jobs

Good site to search for jobs in Hong Kong in the computer and tech industries

4. eJob Fair

Job site for foreign teachers.

5. China Hot Jobs

Local and international job openings

6. ESL Teachers job board

Opportunities for teachers of English as a second language

7. Hong Kong Job Board Directory

Directory of top Hong Kong job boards

8. My China Start-Careers

Great site that lists the links to China job boards and other job information throughout China

Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce

http://www.chamber.org.hk/en/index.aspx

The Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce (HKGCC) was founded in 1861 and is the largest business organization in Hong Kong, having approximately 4000 members. The Chamber maintains 7 offices throughout Hong Kong and organizes hundreds of networking events, seminars, business matching meetings to assist members in establishing valuable business connections. As such, the Chamber provides a wonderful resource as you launch your job search in the country.

For a full listing of Chambers of Commerce and other business associations in Hong Kong visit http://www.hongkong.alloexpat.com/hongkong_information/chambers_of_commerce_hongkong.php?page=0%2C0

Cost of Living in Hong Kong

The cost of living in Hong Kong consistently ranks as one of the highest in the world according to all economic indicators. The following table lists average living expenses in U.S. dollars.

Rent per month

1 bedroom apartment in city center: $1,615.71

1 bedroom apartment outside city center: $970.44

Monthly Utility Cost

Basic electricity gas, water, trash: $112.29

Internet (6 mbps, flat rate Cable/DSL): $23.59

1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff (no discount)$0.09

Source: http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/country_result.jsp?country=Hong+Kong&displayCurrency=USD

Visa Application Process

Common Chinese visas are the L visa for tourists; the F visa for businesses, the X visa for study and the Z visa for work.  For each type of visa, you need to apply at the embassy consulate with:

  • A completed visa application form.
  • A passport photo.
  • A passport that is valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of entry to the country.

For an L visa (which you will need to enter the country for any interviews) you will need to report your itinerary which basically just means where you will travel once in the country.

For a Z visa (once you are accepted for a job)  you will also need a work permit from the Labor Ministry or Bureau of Foreign Experts, and an invitation letter from your future employer (your employer should help you with these steps.

Visa duration: The basic length of the visa is 30 days, but you can extend up to 3 months.

A “Z” visa (work Visa) is issued to foreigners who are going to be employed in China, and their family members:

Step 1: Apply for an employment license (11 working days).

Step 2: Convert your current Business (F) or Tourist (L) visa into a 2-month Z visa without leaving China (5 working days).

Step 3: Apply for an employment permit. (5 working days)

Step 4: Apply for residence permit for one year. (5 working days)

Visa Cost:

U.S. Citizens: $50. For single visa up to 30 days

Non U.S. Citizens: $30. For single visa up to 30 days

Timing

In the U.K. and Europe, visa processing generally takes from 3-4 business days. In the U.S. the time frame is typically four business days.  It would be wise to give yourself some extra time for unforeseen events and apply 1-2 months in advance.

Postal Applications

Embassies and consulates in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.no longer accept applications by mail. Postal applications are accepted by New Zealand and Australia but not preferred.  You should include a postage paid, self-addressed envelope with your application. Note: some embassies have a separate postal address so check their Web site to be sure where to send you materials.

Where to apply for a Chinese Visa

The best method is to get your visa application process completed in your own country through your embassy.  However, there are embassies throughout the world where you can complete the application process.  For a listing of these embassies, visit: http://www.beijingmadeeasy.com/practical-beijing/chinese-embassies-abroad

You may also access a comprehensive guidebook with visa application and fees for entry into Hong Kong may be found at:  http://www.immd.gov.hk/eng/services/index.html .

Useful Expat Web Sites

1. Orient Expat. Useful information on a range of subjects of interest to expats)

2. Asia Expat-Hong Kong. Provides links to jobs, apartments, classified ads, and an A-Z services directory, including business and finance, expat associations ( chambers of commerce, transportation and utilities), health facilities, shopping guide, and more.

3. Hong Kong Expat. Provides and apartment and classified ads, business directory, government listings, shopping guides, transportation information, and more

4. Allo ExpatAllo’ Expat has designed dedicated online forums and classified section in order for the expatriate community to communicate everyday by posting ads, messages, tips and also to share and trade their own information and goods making their expatriate life a lot easier”

5. Expat Forum. Forum for expats living in Hong Kong. Covers a variety of topics including jobs and housing.

6. My China Start. Great resource for expats. Contains a wide variety of very useful links about Hong Kong and other cities of China

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  • Thanks for this breakdown. I’d love if you can write about India and South Korea please.

    Sheyi

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