Top 10 facts about Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of the richest and most distinctive metropolitan areas on the planet, and there has been a lot of talk about its “relationship” with mainland China lately. After a century of British control, Hong Kong lost its status as a classic Chinese city like the others. Even then, the political and administrative vision suggested following the principle of “one country, two systems”: for this reason, Hong Kong becomes a special administrative region.
China undertakes not to establish a socialist system in the metropolis, leaving the economic and political system of the city unchanged. Agreements signed in the late 1990s provide for such a special provision for at least 50 years and therefore until 2047.
Geography and population
Hong Kong is located on the south coast of China, the only country with which it shares a land border. It is surrounded by the South China Sea to the east, south, and west, and bordered to the north by Shenzhen, Guangdong provinces, from which it is separated by the Sham Chun River.
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has complex geography that includes:
1. Hong Kong Island
2. Kowloon Peninsula
3. Stonecutters Island
4. More than 200 small offshore islands, the largest in Lantau
The terrain of Hong Kong is varied, but mostly it is hilly or mountainous. The northern part of the region consists of lowlands, and the highest point in Hong Kong is Tai Mo Shan (957 m).
Hong Kong is located in the northern part of the tropical zone, so the climate is characterized by hot, humid summers and cool, dry winters. This is because cold and dry monsoon winds blow from the northeast during the winter season, while hot and humid winds blow from the southeast in the summer.
Autumn (September to November) is the most recommended season to visit Hong Kong, as well as the best time to visit mainland China in general. The average temperature ranges from 19°C to 28°C. The only weather events that can greatly affect Hong Kong's climate are tropical cyclones or typhoons. They usually occur between June and October, and an average of 5 or 6 cyclones hit Hong Kong each year.
When a typhoon approaches, warnings are broadcast on television and radio. Alerts are sent out by the Hong Kong Observatory, and if the alert level is high, most businesses and shops close and public transport services may be canceled.
According to the World Bank, updated in 2018, the total population living in Hong Kong is more than 7 million people. The data becomes significant when you consider that the population density here is one of the highest on the planet: about 6,000 people per square kilometer.
Hong Kong is one of the most important and richest international financial centers in the world, has a thriving capitalist system based on the tertiary sector, and has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world. High population growth and a lack of housing have caused the city to develop in height, making it one of the most "vertical" cities on the planet.
95% of the population is of Chinese origin. The remainder is made up of Asians (mostly Filipinos, Indonesians, and South Asians) and a small number of non-Asians (mostly Americans, Canadians, and Australians).
Cantonese Chinese and English are the official languages. The use of Chinese has increased as Hong Kong has reintegrated with China.
Hong Kong is a special region of the People's Republic of China and therefore has its own currency. The city's currency is the Hong Kong dollar (HKD), pegged to the US dollar at a rate of approximately HK$7.8 to US$1.
The dollar signs $ is used to abbreviate the currency designation. HK$ can be used to distinguish the Hong Kong dollar from other currencies issued under the same sign.
Although all coins are issued by the government, it is worth noting that Hong Kong banknotes are printed and issued by three different commercial banks: Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, Standard Chartered Bank, and Bank of China. These banknotes vary in design and color depending on the bank that printed them.
In Hong Kong, as in a developed city, there are no problems with either conventional or mobile Internet (and mobile is much more in demand among the majority). The locals have a fairly large selection of operators who, in the face of fierce competition, are trying to offer more favorable conditions.
You can use SIM cards on a prepaid basis or with a monthly payment: they are sold in supermarkets. The cost of the tariff depends on the conditions and averages 15-20 US dollars.
There is also no difficulty in finding free Wi-Fi: it is available in cafes and restaurants, on the metro, on public transport, and the so-called Internet centers.
Hong Kong is a region with a high level of economic development. It is a significant center of international trade and the financial center of Asia, in which the stock exchange operates. Hong Kong's participation in global financial processes has contributed to the development of the local banking sector.
In terms of economy, the city has the status of the most favorable business and investment environment, and one of the freest and most progressive economies. A significant share of GDP, which in 2020 amounted to $349 billion, is accounted for by the production and export of food and non-food products. Despite the factors listed above, the well-being of the people of Hong Kong is extremely heterogeneous.
In recent years, Hong Kong has also gained a reputation as an offshore zone. The absence of a number of tax fees and duties and the ease of legalizing business for foreigners make the region attractive for those who are looking for effective ways of tax optimization.
Job in Hong Kong
Being an economically developed region, Hong Kong at the same time is characterized by a low minimum wage threshold. For some unqualified positions, the rate can be as low as $3.5, which further exacerbates the urgent issue of the lack of housing stock: part of the population does not have access to the rental market due to low wages.
The average salary in 2022 is around $2,000, with a wide variation depending on the profession. Specialists with higher education can claim the highest pay: judges, lawyers, and notaries earn an average of $6,000.
Traditionally low (by Hong Kong standards) salaries are found in education among teachers, ordinary teachers, and kindergarten teachers: an average of about $1,500. A doctor in a hospital earns $2,000.
The IT sector is actively developing in Hong Kong and is also decently paid: an experienced specialist can count on a rate of $4,000 or more.
As always, the lowest salaries are found in the service sector: sales assistants in stores receive about $1,400, a public transport driver about $1,600, and waiters in catering establishments earn about the same.
In densely populated Hong Kong, prices are quite high - especially for rental housing and apartments for tourists. The minimum daily cost of renting a bed in a hostel is $50, while for a good hotel you will have to pay at least $10. A one-room studio in the city center costs about $2,000 on average, but the same apartment on the outskirts will cost almost half as much.
A ride on local public transport will cost at least $1, but a short taxi ride will cost $10-$15. Equipment, for obvious reasons, is cheaper than in other European countries.
The category of very expensive goods includes cigarettes: a pack can cost 6-7 USD and more.
Medical care and education
The Hong Kong healthcare system is considered one of the most developed in the world. In the region, public medicine prevails over private medicine, with facilities providing emergency care, dental care, and highly specialized care.
Service in public medical institutions is provided on a preferential basis and is of sufficient quality, although it is inferior to private ones in terms of service. Commercial hospitals have relatively high rates. You need to pay for all procedures separately:
1. Doctor's appointment and consultation;
2. Diagnosis and treatment appointment;
3. Analyzes and manipulations;
4. Medications and more.
An appointment alone will cost at least 15 USD, and in total, you need to spend about 70-100 USD for a visit to a private doctor (much more when it comes to dentistry). In exchange, the patient receives service with all amenities, high-quality modern equipment, and no queues.
Just like medicine, education in Hong Kong is considered to be of high quality and is quoted in the international scientific community. Higher education institutions are ranked among the best in the world.
However, it should be noted that almost all education in the metropolis is paid for and is not cheap. Regular language courses at the university will cost no less than 300 US dollars per week. A year of study in a not very prestigious university costs an average of about 8,000 US dollars, and when it comes to the most reputable institutions, prices rise to 18,000 a year: bachelor's and master's programs cost about the same.
The most expensive education is the MBA degree: the annual cost can reach 70,000 USD.
For admission to any higher educational institution in Hong Kong, knowledge of English is required and the provision of an IELTS or TOEFL certificate confirming this at least 6 and 79 points, respectively. The requirements for the results of the language exam vary depending on the university, the chosen degree, and other factors.
The language exams themselves are also paid, as in any other country in the world, and are quite difficult - additional preparation is usually required before passing them.
Working days and holidays
Most holidays in Hong Kong coincide with holidays in China, and some traditionally international days are also days off:
1. New Year, January 1st
2. Chinese New Year, February 1-3
3. Memorial Day for the Dead, April 5
4. Easter, transitional date
5. Labor Day, May 1st
6. Buddha's birthday, May 8
7. Holiday of the beginning of summer, June 3
8. Mid-Autumn Festival, September 10
9. Founding Day of the People's Republic of China, October 1st
10. Double Ninth Day, October 4
11. Catholic Christmas, December 25
Due to the pronounced Western influence, the mentality of the Hong Kong people is significantly different from the mentality of the population of mainland China. Unlike the nearest neighbors, the inhabitants of the metropolis behave much more restrained and cultured, especially in relation to foreigners, to whom they have become accustomed.
Hong Kong is also not characterized by the all-Chinese cult of small children, there is no permissiveness that impresses Europeans. Society as a whole is more capitalistic and individualistic, but it is also characterized in places by traditional Asian values, including manifestations of collectivism.
Another feature is that Hong Kong residents do not consider themselves Chinese and identify their society as isolated.
To date, Hong Kong has not formed a sufficiently clear legal framework for the regulation of cryptocurrencies. They refer to goods rather than digital assets, and entrepreneurs can legally conduct business in this sector, having previously received the appropriate license.
Hong Kong is a unique city-state that is formally part of China, but in practice is an autonomous, independent center. This hub is home to Asian businesses, financial markets, technology, and opportunities that together overcome all the shortcomings that can be encountered in this place.