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Economy and Finance in Hong Kong

Finance is one of the biggest driving forces in Hong Kong’s busy economy. So much for the big picture – but what about money in daily life? All expats need a bank account, advice on living expenses, and a trustworthy currency exchange. This part of our Hong Kong guide covers such matters in detail.

Regardless of where you relocate, be it to Hong Kong, New York, or Sydney, you will have to keep track of your personal finances. Although expat jobs in Hong Kong usually pay fairly well and local taxes are low, you still need to cope with rather high living expenses. Expat life in Hong Kong is often a comfortable affair, sometimes a luxurious one, but such comfort does come at a price. The cost of living in Hong Kong is definitely above average: Depending on your personal standards, it may even be among the highest worldwide. Thus, it is worth planning your budget in advance. Or try to negotiate with your employer to cover some of your costs. You should take the expensive property prices into account. Also, if you have kids, be aware that international schools in Hong Kong are anything but cheap. Last but certainly not least, look into getting a good private healthcare plan well before you leave.

Hong Kong’s Banking Sector

Hong Kong’s economy is well-known for ranking among the freest and most efficient in the world. Its liberal market and laissez-faire capitalism have contributed to making it one of the globe’s leading financial hubs. Thus it should not come as a surprise that there are currently over 200 banks in Hong Kong. Expats in need of a financial service provider are quite spoilt for choice! Our InterNations guide to financial services offers an overview of the local banking sector and information on opening your own bank account in Hong Kong. The many reputable institutions should also be able to support you with individual advice on savings plans and wealth management, taxation issues and retirement provisions.

Monetary Matters

Did you know that Hong Kong has no restrictions whatsoever on currency transfers? This means that you could, hypothetically speaking, just step off the plane with bundles of cash stuffed into all of your pockets. As amusing as the thought may be, it’s probably more practical to pay by credit or debit card, though. We provide you with some tips on common payment methods in Hong Kong and explain where and how to best transfer money. For example, it could come in handy to know that checks are still fairly widespread in Hong Kong, or that the Octopus Smart Card counts as popular plastic money. Our expatriate guide to Hong Kong delves into all of these topics, and more.

InterNations Expat Magazine