Home » Hong Kong » What Is Life Really Like For Expats In Hong Kong?

What Is Life Really Like For Expats In Hong Kong?

Hong Kong used to be considered a mecca for expats back in the day, but is that still the case? It’s no secret that the cost of living in Hong Kong has been skyrocketing over the years and that the job market changed completely in the late 90s after the city-state was handed back to China.Does this mean that the notions about it being a great place for expats just are hand-me-down sayings from a bygone area? Is Hong Kong still a good relocation choice for migrants, and more importantly, what is life really like for expats living there? In this guide, we cover everything from the cost of living in Hong Kong to the job market, official languages, pensions and any other important questions you may have to help you make your decision.

What’s The Weather Like?

Some people who have never visited believe that Hong Kong is hot and tropical all year round. However, this is not the case. Hong Kong has a sub-tropical climate, which means that there are four distinct seasons. Unlike many other parts of Asia, which just have rainy and dry seasons, Hong Kong has spring (which is warm and humid), summer (hot and rainy), autumn (sunny and pleasant), and winter (dry and cool).

Hong Kong also experiences a monsoon season over the summer months which, as you might expect, sees many tropical storms and typhoons. However, the city is well prepared for such weather.

Is It Really That Expensive?

A few years ago, Hong Kong was the third most expensive city in the whole of Asia, coming in just behind Shanghai and Beijing. In 2019, Fortune Magazine crowned Hong Kong one of the world’s most expensive cities, sharing the title with Paris and Singapore. Fortune drew this information from the annual Worldwide Cost of Living survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit. New York is in seventh place.


Get Our Best Articles Every Month!

Get our free moving abroad email course AND our top stories in your inbox every month


Unsubscribe any time. We respect your privacy - read our privacy policy.


The cost of rent is high, especially for the amount of space you get. If you are looking to relocate to Hong Kong, it’s likely you will have to mentally prepare to downsize considerably. Supermarkets can also be expensive and offer limited choices. Imported items such as Western food can be very costly. However, transport (both public and taxis) is cheap, and hiring domestic help is relatively inexpensive. It is also worth noting that while you have to pay tax in Hong Kong, it is lower than in many other countries.

The monthly rent for a furnished studio apartment (480 sq ft) in a central area of the city would set you back about HK$28,239 which equates to £2,830.96 or USD3,597.79. To put it into perspective, the cost of living in Hong Kong is 22% more expensive than in Dubai and 34% more expensive than in Toronto, according to comparisons from Expatisan.

Is It Easy To Find Work?

The most common industries in Hong Kong for expats to work in are finance, law and property. Teaching is also relatively popular. Those who only speak English may find themselves limited with options as the job market is quite competitive. Employers have to prove that they can’t fill a position with a local employee to be able to offer it to a foreigner; bear in mind that ‘local’ also includes mainland China. This means that in order to find work in Hong Kong, you will need to have experience in your sector and a good CV or high qualifications that make you stand out above the competition.

What’s The Average Salary In Hong Kong?

The average working week in Hong Kong is 44 hours. According to Payscale.com, the average yearly salary in Hong Kong is HK$370,959. This equates to roughly £37,236.86 or $47,262.03 (US dollars). Of course, this entirely depends on your industry, experience and job position. For example, the average wage for a marketing executive would be HK$201,556 but for a marketing manager, it would be around HK$416,874.

What’s The Official Language?

Hong Kong has two official languages: Cantonese Chinese and English. Mandarin Chinese is also widely spoken. All signs are in both Chinese and English. Generally speaking, or at least in the workplace, English is spoken. However, even a basic knowledge of Cantonese Chinese will put you in good stead and make you stand out in the workplace.

Can I Retire In Hong Kong?

If your visa is not subject to a limited stay then yes, you can retire in Hong Kong. If you are already retired and wish to move there, you will need to research visa types.

There isn’t a default retirement age in Hong Kong. Employees and employers usually agree on the age of retirement which, as a general rule of thumb, is around 65 for men and 60 for women.


Have you lived in Hong Kong? Share your thoughts in the comments below, or answer the questions here to be featured in an interview!


Latest Videos

In this short video, we dive into the significant health care updates and changes happening globally in 2024. From Germany's insurance cost adjustments to Cyprus's renewed COVID-19 precautions, we cover the essential news you need to know.  Germany's Health Insurance Update:  Starting in 2024, residents in Germany will see a slight increase in their health insurance costs, with a 0.1% rise to a maximum of 1.7%. This adjustment aims to expand coverage for medical care not currently included in statutory health insurance, such as select dental treatments, IVF, and early cancer screenings.  COVID-19 Measures Reintroduced in Cyprus:  With over 3000 new COVID-19 cases, Cyprus is stepping up its game by reintroducing health measures. Requirements now include proof of a negative COVID-19 test for entry into various facilities, emphasizing the importance of vaccination, especially for the elderly, to combat the evolving virus strains.  Free Health Trials in Trieste, Italy:  Trieste launches an initiative for free health screenings, including echocardiograms and blood tests, focusing on preventive care against non-communicable diseases. This move underscores the city's commitment to improving public health through early detection and prevention.  Spain's New Health Advice App:  Madrid introduces a groundbreaking app offering reliable health advice to counteract the widespread misinformation online. This app, part of the 'Madrid Te Cuida' initiative, will guide users to accurate information, from diet tips to medical queries, ensuring the advice is vetted by health professionals.  Expat Satisfaction with Healthcare in Mexico:  A study reveals that expat retirees in Mexico are largely content with the healthcare quality and costs, with many citing significant savings compared to the United States without compromising on care quality. This insight sheds light on the growing trend of healthcare tourism and relocation for medical reasons.  Stay tuned as we unpack these updates, providing you with the insights and implications of these healthcare changes. Whether it's the impact on your wallet or the quality of care you can expect, we've got you covered in this comprehensive overview of health care in 2024. Don't forget to like, share, and subscribe for more health news around the globe!

In this short video, we dive into the significant health care updates and changes happening globally in 2024. From Germany's insurance cost adjustments to Cyprus's renewed COVID-19 precautions, we cover the essential news you need to know.

Germany's Health Insurance Update:

Starting in 2024, residents in Germany will see a slight increase in their health insurance costs, with a 0.1% rise to a maximum of 1.7%. This adjustment aims to expand coverage for medical care not currently included in statutory health insurance, such as select dental treatments, IVF, and early cancer screenings.

COVID-19 Measures Reintroduced in Cyprus:

With over 3000 new COVID-19 cases, Cyprus is stepping up its game by reintroducing health measures. Requirements now include proof of a negative COVID-19 test for entry into various facilities, emphasizing the importance of vaccination, especially for the elderly, to combat the evolving virus strains.

Free Health Trials in Trieste, Italy:

Trieste launches an initiative for free health screenings, including echocardiograms and blood tests, focusing on preventive care against non-communicable diseases. This move underscores the city's commitment to improving public health through early detection and prevention.

Spain's New Health Advice App:

Madrid introduces a groundbreaking app offering reliable health advice to counteract the widespread misinformation online. This app, part of the 'Madrid Te Cuida' initiative, will guide users to accurate information, from diet tips to medical queries, ensuring the advice is vetted by health professionals.

Expat Satisfaction with Healthcare in Mexico:

A study reveals that expat retirees in Mexico are largely content with the healthcare quality and costs, with many citing significant savings compared to the United States without compromising on care quality. This insight sheds light on the growing trend of healthcare tourism and relocation for medical reasons.

Stay tuned as we unpack these updates, providing you with the insights and implications of these healthcare changes. Whether it's the impact on your wallet or the quality of care you can expect, we've got you covered in this comprehensive overview of health care in 2024. Don't forget to like, share, and subscribe for more health news around the globe!

YouTube Video UCB21b-C4O2aXm7H18_GsXMQ_nC_Fs6gU22U

Expat Focus International Healthcare Update January 2024

Expat Focus 31 January 2024 10:36 am

This error message is only visible to WordPress admins

Important: No API Key Entered.

Many features are not available without adding an API Key. Please go to the YouTube Feed settings page to add an API key after following these instructions.