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Old 12-27-2015, 02:54 AM
 
Location: San Francisco
317 posts, read 236,613 times
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Just got back from a wonderful 3 day weekend in Hong Kong - nice change from the cold polluted airs of northern China. I'm wondering how living in HK compares to a place like Shenzhen or other nearby mainland Chinese cities. I know HK is way more expensive in terms of housing costs but how do other tangibles such as food costs, expat community, friendliness of locals, taxes compare. I also one which would be better in terms of lifestyle for ex-pat teachers.
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Old 12-27-2015, 07:03 AM
 
Location: Guangzhou, China
9,779 posts, read 13,355,348 times
Reputation: 11309
Quote:
Originally Posted by dmlandis View Post
Just got back from a wonderful 3 day weekend in Hong Kong - nice change from the cold polluted airs of northern China. I'm wondering how living in HK compares to a place like Shenzhen or other nearby mainland Chinese cities. I know HK is way more expensive in terms of housing costs but how do other tangibles such as food costs, expat community, friendliness of locals, taxes compare. I also one which would be better in terms of lifestyle for ex-pat teachers.
Most things cost more in HK than they do in China... food, clothes, etc, all cost more, just as a function of how expensive the real estate there is. Locals are generally pretty polite and/or friendly; it's a more international place, through and through... most people speak at least some English, with many speaking it at a native or near-native level. Foreigners aren't really a novelty at all, unlike in the mainland - no one will ever really notice you're there, and they will treat you basically the exact same as anyone else, which is kind of nice.

Expat community is generally pretty well-rounded, and you'll find a fair number of students, young people, and middle-class folks in the expat circle. This said, the banking/financial sectors mean that there are more high-earning Westerners who come to work there, and so, you encounter a lot more high-entitlement (read: arrogant, rude, prick-ish, snotty) expats in HK than you'll find in most mainland Chinese or other cities... sort of like NYC or London.

I know people who teach in HK, and earn in the $20k (very low end, but probably including housing) to $35k (higher end, not including housing) range. Compared to (private) Chinese ESL salaries, which are usually 10-15k/mo, this is pretty awesome... until you consider that your rent is likely going to be at least $15k/mo, for a very, very small, older, possibly shared apartment. I'm sure you already have a fairly good read on the mainand, but comparatively, I live in a newer, fully-furnished 75sq/m luxury apartment in Guangzhou's CBD (Liede metro) for 5500 RMB/mo.

A bottle of Coke in HK costs $7 HKD at a 7-11; 3.5 RMB for a bigger bottle in a mainland 7-11.
A bowl of crappy, greasy street noodles will cost about $15-20 HKD; sub-5 RMB in the mainland.
A single plate in a midlevel restaurant in Hong Kong will cost you about $80 HKD; a plate in a midlevel mainland restaurant will set you back about 20-30 yuan.

Add it all up, and the amount you'll make in HK goes a lot less far than it does in China.
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Old 12-27-2015, 10:42 AM
 
501 posts, read 461,830 times
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Actually many things are cheaper in HK, partially due to no sales tax and low import duties. Things like iPhones are 15% cheaper, and lots of other electronics are similarly cheaper. Pretty much all name brand clothing (Nike, Adidas, etc.) and all luxury goods, cosmetics, and imported food products are cheaper too. Quality of goods and services in HK tends to be much higher as well.

One of the big differences between HK and China that an expat will notice is access and exposure to foreign media and services. Google, facebook, youtube, etc are all blocked in China. Cnn, Wikipedia, the NY Times are often blocked as well. Foreign magazines and movies and books can also face hurdles getting in to the country. Of course with a little searching and a good vpn you might be able to gain access to these resources, but in HK you have easy, legal access to all of these things.
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Old 12-27-2015, 11:36 AM
 
Location: Guangzhou, China
9,779 posts, read 13,355,348 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strad View Post
Actually many things are cheaper in HK, partially due to no sales tax and low import duties. Things like iPhones are 15% cheaper, and lots of other electronics are similarly cheaper. Pretty much all name brand clothing (Nike, Adidas, etc.) and all luxury goods, cosmetics, and imported food products are cheaper too. Quality of goods and services in HK tends to be much higher as well.
True... I guess I glossed over that because I usually don't buy luxury goods, electronics, etc there. Quality of goods and services is certainly generally higher.
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Old 12-28-2015, 04:19 AM
 
28 posts, read 22,981 times
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I can tell you HK actually has a reputation for being rude and unfriendly, among the locals and visitors. I keep hearing this bad reputation for the past 60 years, as my grandparents told me the same thing, we are considered generally rude and unfriendly since from the 1960s.

On Northern HK Island and Tsim Sha Tsui..., whites, south asians and blacks are just too common. No we don't really treat you basically the exact same, we generally considered non Chinese people foreign, just like local people in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Thailand. We generally do not discriminate white people, but communication can sometimes be a problem.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 415_s2k View Post
Locals are generally pretty polite and/or friendly;Foreigners aren't really a novelty at all, unlike in the mainland - no one will ever really notice you're there, and they will treat you basically the exact same as anyone else, which is kind of nice.

HK has more choices of import international food stuff, baby formula and western medicine than Mainland China. Many supermarkets sell fruits, meats, cheese, canned food...made in the US, Australia, Europe, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Sngapore...... There are much more international cuisines with imported ingridients. In China, you may easily get bored eating different Chinese regional cuisines only.

Foreign magazines from the US, UK, Japan and Australia can be found at the English bookstores in HK. Legal gambling, no casinos and legal prostitution. Freedom of speech and protest. Protesting has become much more common nowadays. Americans openly preaching on the streets of HK. Banners denoucing the Mainland government at some touristy places frequented by Mainlanders in HK.

Quote:
Originally Posted by strad View Post
imported food products are cheaper too. Quality of goods and services in HK tends to be much higher as well.

One of the big differences between HK and China that an expat will notice is access and exposure to foreign media and services. Google, facebook, youtube, etc are all blocked in China. Cnn, Wikipedia, the NY Times are often blocked as well. Foreign magazines and movies and books can also face hurdles getting in to the country. Of course with a little searching and a good vpn you might be able to gain access to these resources, but in HK you have easy, legal access to all of these things.

Hello. I am a HK born local.

The pollution of HK or Peral River Delta is really nothing compared with the polluted air of Northern China. We Hongkongers do not really understand why many foreigners keep saying our region is polluted. I don't think pollution here is worse than that in London, Paris, Tokyo or NYC. We are proud of our life expectancy, combination of both high quality western and chinese medicine and low cost public health care with a low tax rate.

The main difference between HK and Guangdong is that professionals and white collars understand English well in HK, but the mass of HK people's English level can be terrible. You will have a big problem shopping in wet Chinese markets and eating in local cafes if you cannot speak Cantonese. Mandarin can also be useless in many situation in HK. Sad thing is most Hong Kong locals do not like hearing Mandarin and talking to rude Mainland Chinese. Mainland China and Chinese are viewed very negatively in HK, while white people and locals with good english ability are viewed positively. It is very true many HK people love Britain instead of China. Just think of which country being more developed and clean.

Clothings in HK are actually not more expensive than in Shenzhen and Guangzhou. There are many HKD10 to HKD35 winter clothings sold at HK's shops and street markets. The cheap clothings almost all came from factories in Guangdong. Food and meals are double or triple of Shenzhen's. Most taxes are zero to mostly lower than Mainland China, except for cigarettes which is much cheaper in Mainland China. Prostitution at some places can be very cheap, similar to that in Mainland China, I am not kidding, it is true, I live near a red light district.

Real estate is ****ing expensive, can be more expensive than NYC and London. The problem is partly solved by low cost public housing built by the government or employees living free of charge in places provided by their employers. Most real estate owners are USD millionaires. The rent and price of a street shop in the busy shopping areas is ****ing expensive.

More expats and international than anywhere in Mainland China , Taiwan, Japan and all of East Asia. Number of western expats comparable with that of Singapore.

And yeah, there are some pro-western locals who are very friendly to westerners, but they are not the majority of HK population. Most HK locals do not speak much English and have few to none foreign friends in their social circles. I am talking about most of the locals I know personally.

Last edited by Digitalage3; 12-28-2015 at 04:48 AM..
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Old 12-28-2015, 07:02 AM
 
Location: Taipei
6,774 posts, read 5,121,205 times
Reputation: 4566
Quote:
Originally Posted by Digitalage3 View Post
The pollution of HK or Peral River Delta is really nothing compared with the polluted air of Northern China. We Hongkongers do not really understand why many foreigners keep saying our region is polluted. I don't think pollution here is worse than that in London, Paris, Tokyo or NYC. We are proud of our life expectancy, combination of both high quality western and chinese medicine and low cost public health care with a low tax rate.
Of course it is a lot better than Northern China, but it's still really bad compares to Europe, Japan, North America, or Australia.
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Old 12-28-2015, 07:45 PM
 
Location: Singapore
653 posts, read 540,031 times
Reputation: 289
Quote:
Originally Posted by Digitalage3 View Post
I can tell you HK actually has a reputation for being rude and unfriendly, among the locals and visitors. I keep hearing this bad reputation for the past 60 years, as my grandparents told me the same thing, we are considered generally rude and unfriendly since from the 1960s.

On Northern HK Island and Tsim Sha Tsui..., whites, south asians and blacks are just too common. No we don't really treat you basically the exact same, we generally considered non Chinese people foreign, just like local people in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Thailand. We generally do not discriminate white people, but communication can sometimes be a problem.



HK has more choices of import international food stuff, baby formula and western medicine than Mainland China. Many supermarkets sell fruits, meats, cheese, canned food...made in the US, Australia, Europe, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Sngapore...... There are much more international cuisines with imported ingridients. In China, you may easily get bored eating different Chinese regional cuisines only.

Foreign magazines from the US, UK, Japan and Australia can be found at the English bookstores in HK. Legal gambling, no casinos and legal prostitution. Freedom of speech and protest. Protesting has become much more common nowadays. Americans openly preaching on the streets of HK. Banners denoucing the Mainland government at some touristy places frequented by Mainlanders in HK.




Hello. I am a HK born local.

The pollution of HK or Peral River Delta is really nothing compared with the polluted air of Northern China. We Hongkongers do not really understand why many foreigners keep saying our region is polluted. I don't think pollution here is worse than that in London, Paris, Tokyo or NYC. We are proud of our life expectancy, combination of both high quality western and chinese medicine and low cost public health care with a low tax rate.

The main difference between HK and Guangdong is that professionals and white collars understand English well in HK, but the mass of HK people's English level can be terrible. You will have a big problem shopping in wet Chinese markets and eating in local cafes if you cannot speak Cantonese. Mandarin can also be useless in many situation in HK. Sad thing is most Hong Kong locals do not like hearing Mandarin and talking to rude Mainland Chinese. Mainland China and Chinese are viewed very negatively in HK, while white people and locals with good english ability are viewed positively. It is very true many HK people love Britain instead of China. Just think of which country being more developed and clean.

Clothings in HK are actually not more expensive than in Shenzhen and Guangzhou. There are many HKD10 to HKD35 winter clothings sold at HK's shops and street markets. The cheap clothings almost all came from factories in Guangdong. Food and meals are double or triple of Shenzhen's. Most taxes are zero to mostly lower than Mainland China, except for cigarettes which is much cheaper in Mainland China. Prostitution at some places can be very cheap, similar to that in Mainland China, I am not kidding, it is true, I live near a red light district.

Real estate is ****ing expensive, can be more expensive than NYC and London. The problem is partly solved by low cost public housing built by the government or employees living free of charge in places provided by their employers. Most real estate owners are USD millionaires. The rent and price of a street shop in the busy shopping areas is ****ing expensive.

More expats and international than anywhere in Mainland China , Taiwan, Japan and all of East Asia. Number of western expats comparable with that of Singapore.

And yeah, there are some pro-western locals who are very friendly to westerners, but they are not the majority of HK population. Most HK locals do not speak much English and have few to none foreign friends in their social circles. I am talking about most of the locals I know personally.
Thank you, that is indeed very informative.
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Old 12-29-2015, 04:12 AM
 
28 posts, read 22,981 times
Reputation: 17
Hong Kong is actually cheaper than many countries with similar per capita nominal GDP.


List of per capita nominal GDP for countries and dependencies 2015
13 Netherlands
44,333

14 United Kingdom
44,118

15 Canada
43,935

16 Austria
43,547

17 Finland
42,159

Hong Kong
42,097

18 Germany
41,267

19 Belgium
40,456

20 France
37,728

21 New Zealand
36,963

22 Israel
35,702

23 United Arab Emirates
35,392

24 Japan
32,481


European Union
32,006

Last edited by Digitalage3; 12-29-2015 at 04:21 AM..
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Old 12-29-2015, 06:46 AM
 
Location: Singapore
653 posts, read 540,031 times
Reputation: 289
Quote:
Originally Posted by Digitalage3 View Post
I can tell you HK actually has a reputation for being rude and unfriendly, among the locals and visitors. I keep hearing this bad reputation for the past 60 years, as my grandparents told me the same thing, we are considered generally rude and unfriendly since from the 1960s.

On Northern HK Island and Tsim Sha Tsui..., whites, south asians and blacks are just too common. No we don't really treat you basically the exact same, we generally considered non Chinese people foreign, just like local people in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Thailand. We generally do not discriminate white people, but communication can sometimes be a problem.



HK has more choices of import international food stuff, baby formula and western medicine than Mainland China. Many supermarkets sell fruits, meats, cheese, canned food...made in the US, Australia, Europe, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Sngapore...... There are much more international cuisines with imported ingridients. In China, you may easily get bored eating different Chinese regional cuisines only.

Foreign magazines from the US, UK, Japan and Australia can be found at the English bookstores in HK. Legal gambling, no casinos and legal prostitution. Freedom of speech and protest. Protesting has become much more common nowadays. Americans openly preaching on the streets of HK. Banners denoucing the Mainland government at some touristy places frequented by Mainlanders in HK.




Hello. I am a HK born local.

The pollution of HK or Peral River Delta is really nothing compared with the polluted air of Northern China. We Hongkongers do not really understand why many foreigners keep saying our region is polluted. I don't think pollution here is worse than that in London, Paris, Tokyo or NYC. We are proud of our life expectancy, combination of both high quality western and chinese medicine and low cost public health care with a low tax rate.

The main difference between HK and Guangdong is that professionals and white collars understand English well in HK, but the mass of HK people's English level can be terrible. You will have a big problem shopping in wet Chinese markets and eating in local cafes if you cannot speak Cantonese. Mandarin can also be useless in many situation in HK. Sad thing is most Hong Kong locals do not like hearing Mandarin and talking to rude Mainland Chinese. Mainland China and Chinese are viewed very negatively in HK, while white people and locals with good english ability are viewed positively. It is very true many HK people love Britain instead of China. Just think of which country being more developed and clean.

Clothings in HK are actually not more expensive than in Shenzhen and Guangzhou. There are many HKD10 to HKD35 winter clothings sold at HK's shops and street markets. The cheap clothings almost all came from factories in Guangdong. Food and meals are double or triple of Shenzhen's. Most taxes are zero to mostly lower than Mainland China, except for cigarettes which is much cheaper in Mainland China. Prostitution at some places can be very cheap, similar to that in Mainland China, I am not kidding, it is true, I live near a red light district.

Real estate is ****ing expensive, can be more expensive than NYC and London. The problem is partly solved by low cost public housing built by the government or employees living free of charge in places provided by their employers. Most real estate owners are USD millionaires. The rent and price of a street shop in the busy shopping areas is ****ing expensive.

More expats and international than anywhere in Mainland China , Taiwan, Japan and all of East Asia. Number of western expats comparable with that of Singapore.

And yeah, there are some pro-western locals who are very friendly to westerners, but they are not the majority of HK population. Most HK locals do not speak much English and have few to none foreign friends in their social circles. I am talking about most of the locals I know personally.
Hi Digitalage3, may I ask what industry you are in? I presume you are a Hong Konger?
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Old 01-04-2016, 05:09 AM
 
32,073 posts, read 32,980,395 times
Reputation: 14950
In Hong Kong there is no internet censorship like there is in Mainland China.
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