Moving almost 6,000 miles across the world is not without its complexities. If you’ve accepted a new position in Hong Kong, now’s the time to start thinking about the practicalities of the move.
Packing up your entire household and shipping it globally takes research, planning, expertise and knowledge – which is where Cadogan Tate comes in. We’ve moved professionals, couples and families to Hong Kong many times and have a detailed knowledge of the region.
When you’re making such a big international relocation, there is enough to think about. As well as preparing for your new job role, you may be finding schools, arranging medical insurance and looking for a new home. Leave your packing and shipping to us, so you have one less thing on your hands.
Cadogan Tate has plenty of experience when it comes to international relocations. We provide our removals team with the highest-quality training in the industry, to ensure your relocation goes smoothly. We have moved many professionals and their families from the United Kingdom to Hong Kong, and make shipments on a regular basis.
If you are planning a move to Hong Kong, consider Cadogan Tate to help you get your removals on track. We will work with you to come up with a seamless plan of action, and manage the whole process. It gives you one less thing to worry about. After you fill in our contact form, we’ll get in touch and arrange for a visit from one of our friendly relocation surveyors. Your appointed consultant will survey your belongings and assess any special requirements you might need.
We can then provide you with no-obligation quote for free, which will include all aspects of your move, such as specialised packing or temporary storage. If you choose to go ahead with our comprehensive service, you will be assigned a Move Coordinator who will plan and manage your whole move. They are always on hand if you have any questions, but you’ll be free to focus on other aspects of your move to Hong Kong.
Shipments to Hong Kong are relatively straightforward, and being a free port means clearance and import duties are low. Your belongings could be on the other side of the world in as little as four weeks.
If you’re moving to Hong Kong from London, our collection of resources can help you research your new home before relocation. We have some general advice on this page, as well as a growing library of articles covering key topics in more detail.
Hong Kong is an international city, with a large and diverse expat community. The economy has grown fast over the last few years, and shows no signs of slowing. It offers good career opportunities in Southeast Asia, excellent infrastructure and world-class schooling and healthcare.
Hong Kong is officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. It’s located in South China and is an autonomous territory in the Pearl River Delta metropolitan region. A popular location for both Chinese nationals and expatriates, it is home to over 7.3 million people, making it one of the most densely populated areas in the world.
Given its relatively small size and the high number of residents, the skyline is dominated by skyscrapers. It has a strong, powerful economy and is one of the largest trading centres in the world. Many expatriates work in finance, property or law, which are key industries in Hong Kong.
The official languages are Chinese and English, so most expatriates can get by without learning any Chinese. However, it can be beneficial to learn some Cantonese before relocating. Cantonese, a dialect of Chinese, is spoken by most locals. It’s not easy to learn though, and is conserved more difficult than Mandarin for Western speakers.
Hong Kong consists of a number of islands, including Hong Kong Island, Kowloon Peninsula and the New Territories, where the main urban developments are centred. There are also over 200 offshore islands. It has a humid, subtropical climate; while it’s generally dry and warm, there can be thunderstorms and typhoons.
While Hong Kong is located in South China, the lifestyle is quite different to that of mainland China. It has a more liberal political system and it controls its own economy. Until 1997, the sovereignty of Hong Kong belonged to the United Kingdom, when it was transferred to China. It’s often described as a ‘bridge between East and West’, being progressive in many ways but still exhibiting traditional Chinese values.
Life in Hong Kong is fast paced, a thriving business hub with a work-hard culture. There is such a large international population, that expatriates will receive a friendly welcome in a city that’s used to people coming and going.
The city is densely populated, so the streets can feel a little claustrophobic, particularly at peak times. A large majority of residents use public transport to commute, which is clean and efficient. The roads are busy with cars and congestion is common, with parking near impossible during working hours.
There is plenty to do in Hong Kong. It caters for all nationalities, from world foods in Michelin-starred restaurants to traditional street food to sample local delicacies. There isn’t much green space in the urban centre itself, but much of Hong Kong Island is undeveloped, which is perfect for hiking and other outdoor pursuits.
Most expatriates rent in Hong Kong, but often sign up to long-term leases of up to two years at a time.
High-rise apartment complexes are the most common, especially near the business centre. These towering buildings are usually ultra-modern, with concierge services, pools and a gym. They may also have restaurants or retail spaces on the lower floors. These buildings are owned by corporate landlords who deal with maintenance issues very quickly. Apartments like these are located very centrally, within easy reach of work, schools and all amenities. Expect to pay upwards of HK$40,000 (around £3,800) a month for three bedrooms. For those moving with family, a duplex can offer up to five bedrooms, split over a couple of floors in one of the high-rise blocks. The price rises with the additional space, with a 4-5-bedroom duplex costing in the region of HK$100,000 (around £9,700) per month.
If you prefer a house to an apartment, townhouses are available. These are usually far more spacious and offer rare outdoor space. Some townhouses are on developments, with access to communal facilities. These types of properties are normally in the suburbs, so they do require travelling into the centre. Smaller villages near the coast offer a good choice of family homes. While it does mean a longer commute to the office, you do benefit from a quieter lifestyle and plenty of outside space.
At the premium end of the market, luxury detached homes are available. They are very exclusive and get snapped up quickly. These properties usually have private gardens and their own pool. If renting, these will typically ask for HK$150,000 (around £14,500) upwards per month. Click here to know what sort of options are available for the house-hunting, Hong Kong-bound expat?
Hong Kong’s healthcare system is known around the world for its exceptional quality. The city has one of the highest life expectancies in the world, which is partly attributed to its healthcare system. Both the private and public hospitals have cutting-edge technology and highly trained doctors.
The public hospital system includes specialist outpatient clinics and general outpatient clients. These are divided into ‘hospital clusters’ by location, so no matter where you live in Hong Kong, you are close to a range of medical services. Those who are eligible pay subsidised fees to use these services (holders of Hong Kong Identity Cards and children with resident status), which includes A&E services. Non-eligible people can still access all the same services, but pay a higher fee.
There are about dozen private hospitals too, which charge roughly the same as the higher public hospital fees. However, they do have the advantage of shorter waiting times. Some private hospitals are UK-accredited, and all of them are regulated and inspected by the Department of Health.
You need to have comprehensive medical insurance, which is very often supplied by your employer as part of your benefits package. Be sure to check the level of cover offered and whether it includes family members. Read the conditions of your plan carefully, as some include restrictions on certain doctors, for example.
The official currency is the Hong Kong Dollar (HKD), which (as of July 2018) carried an exchange rate or 1 HKD = £0.097. The cost of living in Hong Kong is incredibly high; in the Mercer Cost of Living rankings, Hong Kong comes top. London, by comparison, is 13th, so there will be a noticeable difference in expenditure. However, Hong Kong also offers good earning potential, with salaries for expatriates above the global average.
The tax year runs from 1st April to 31st March, and there are three separate income taxes rather than just one unified income tax. Personal income tax is known as salary tax, and rates are considered among the lowest in the world. Personal income tax rates are progressive, and range from 2% to 17%, the latter for the highest earners.
Tax returns are sent out by the beginning of May and you have a month to file them from when they are issued. Married couples can opt for a joint assessment, but it’s worth discussing with an experienced financial advisor.
The other income taxes are a profits tax for non-corporate professional, trade or business income, which is charged at a flat rate of 15%. Property tax is levied on any rental income earned.
We recommend our customers allow four to six weeks for full load containers, and six to eight weeks for shared load groupage containers. You can talk through your options with your assigned Move Coordinator, who will advise you on up-to-date transit times for your shipping choices.
Most household and personal items can be imported into Hong Kong without any issues, and without having to pay import duties. You don’t need to lodge an import declaration against items that are for your personal use. Your shipment will be inspected by the local customs officers, but you don’t need to be there when they do. You will need to have your passport, any necessary licenses and a detailed packing list to collect your belongings. Cadogan Tate can help prepare and supply all the paperwork and licences you require.
There are some items that are prohibited, including certain medications, weaponry, fireworks, plants and some foods. There are also import limits on things like alcohol and cigarettes. If you have any items that you do wish to take with you, you can apply for a licence. Speak to your Surveyor to find out more about specific items and the process for importing them into Hong Kong.
It is possible to import a car into Hong Kong, but it is an expensive process. Cars must comply with exhaust and emissions standards. Proof needs to be supplied to the Environmental Protection Department who will issue an approval letter. This letter needs to be taken to the Vehicle Examination Centre, where your car will be checked and a Certificate of Roadworthiness given. All vehicles must be declared to the Customs and Excise Department within 14 days of importation. Within 30 days, you must submit an Import Return – it is an offence not to submit this in time, with steep penalties. Finally, you will need to register and licence your vehicle. For this you must pay the first registration tax. This is based on the taxable value of your car, which starts from a 40% rate for the first $150,000 and rises in bands up to 115% for more valuable cars. You will also pay a registration fee, and a vehicle licence fee and levy.
If you have pets you wish to take with you to Hong Kong, there are certain requirements and licences you will need. First, you need to apply for a Special Permit and pay a fee, which varies depending on the type of animal. The United Kingdom is a Group I listed country, which means that common household pets are usually exempted from quarantine, subject to full compliance of the permit’s conditions. By law, you must have a licence for any dog over five months, which can be obtained at a licensing centre.
Hong Kong’s population is a rich mix of cultures and nationalities, and the city is very welcoming of expatriates. It can take a while to settle in to any international relocation, but Cadogan Tate is here to help.
We have compiled a series of useful guides and articles exploring the lifestyle, opportunities, cost of living and working life in the Eastern city.
We make regular shipments to Hong Kong and specialise in international removals, so we’re ready to support your move.
Get in touch today to find out how we can help plan your move, pack and ship your belongings, and help with the administrative details of your shipment.