As China and other eastern countries become increasingly important players on the world stage, more and more of us will find ourselves making business trips to Shanghai, Beijing and, of course, Hong Kong. For several westerners, this has already translated into searching for a second home in that part of the world, but finding a property can sometimes be the easiest part. Adapting to life out east takes time, so to make the culture clash less of a shock, here is our helpful Engel &Völkers guide to living in Hong Kong.
Meaning ‘Fragrant Harbour’ in Cantonese, Hong Kong can be a little overwhelming on first arrival. Given the status of ‘Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China’ after decades as a British protectorate, Hong Kong bears the influence of both these nations. This moulding of varying elements into a cohesive whole is a recurring theme; just look at the skyline of steep mountain slopes, rubbing shoulders with towering skyscrapers.
Less than a quarter of Hong Kong’s surface area is developed as a result of its mountainous composition. It’s this that makes Hong Kong one of the densest cities in the world, with its seven million residents packed into less than 450 square miles. With no space left on the ground, the only way is up: the city is home to 1,250 skyscrapers, well over twice as many as its closest rival, New York. If you’re looking to live in Hong Kong, expect your home and workplace to be quite literally up in the air.
The density of urban development in Hong Kong has its advantages for residents. While the Central District offers the most in the way of nightlife and commercial attractions, the city’s well-developed public transport systems – particularly the Mass Transit Railway – make it possible to live further out without inconvenience. Sai Wan keeps you close to the action while also having access to the beautiful hiking areas just outside the city, while Pok Fulam and Tin Hua are recommended for families, with more spacious properties than the majority of Hong Kong. It’s also worth noting that the region has one of the biggest expatriate communities in the world, so you’re certain to meet someone from your part of the world, whichever district you choose.
With living space – and as a result, fully equipped kitchens – at a premium, eating out on a regular basis is the norm. Naturally, this means that Hong Kong has thousands of restaurants, offering everything from local Cantonese dishes to European fusion cuisine. With three Michelin starred restaurants in such a small place, chefs here have high standards and are continually pushing themselves, which is excellent news for expat foodies. The island is also ideally situated for those looking to explore other parts of Asia, with Macau just across the Zhujiang Kou and Vietnam, Taiwan and the Philippines only a short plane trip away from Hong Kong International Airport.
If you’re considering a move east, Engel & Völkers can help you make it happen. We understand both the nuances of the Hong Kong property market and the needs of our international customers, making us the ideal advisors if you’re looking to invest in this thriving region. Visit us online to find out more.