Shipping to Hong Kong
Are you planning to relocate to Hong Kong? Hong Kong has long held appeal as a popular expat destination, offering low taxation, real opportunities for career progression and a unique fusion of Asian and western lifestyles. Expats often find it relatively easy to live and work in the city which has most amenities they are used to back home.
One consideration you will have to bare in mind well ahead of time however is how you are going to go about transferring your personal belongings. With so many international removals to choose from and various options for packing and shipping, the choice can become overwhelming.
White & Company have been relocating people to Hong Kong and destinations worldwide for over 145 years. We provide extensive and bespoke door-to-door shipping and freight services ensuring your personal effects are handled with care from collection in the UK right through to delivery at your new home in Hong Kong.
When you move to a new country, and are importing used household effects, there are certain essential documents that customs will need in order to clear your effects. Like most worldwide countries Hong Kong has very strict importation regulations and consequences if regulations are not adhered to.
Used household goods and personal effects are duty free provided goods have been owned and used by the customer for a minimum of six months and customer has lived abroad for at least one year. All new items will be levied a tax. The goods must be imported within six months of arrival and items cannot be sold, lent or otherwise disposed of during stay.
To ensure that you do not incur any extra charges due to customs delays, it is imperative that you familiarise yourself with Hong Kong’s customs regulations. The following web sites will assist:
Why Move to Hong Kong?
Described as the place where ‘East meets West’, Hong Kong embraces traditional eastern values while also taking on an international outlook based on commerce and free trade that has led to unprecedented levels of economic prosperity. There are said to be over 34,000 British expats taking advantage of a thriving business and finance environment unruptured by the 2008 economic crisis.
Hong Kong comprises the Kowloon peninsula and 261 islands, the largest being Lantau Island. A special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong operates under the principle of ‘One country, two systems’, meaning unlike China, it is a capitalist economy. This system has helped Hong Kong position itself as the finance capital of Asia and increasingly draws in expats and international corporations from around the world.
Expats are attracted by the high standards of living, low levels of taxation and opportunities for business and personal development and overall find it relatively easy to live and work in Hong Kong where despite Cantonese being the official language, English is often the language of business. Hong Kong has all the amenities of home while also boasting truly first-class healthcare and educational facilities. The cost of living is very expensive but high expat salaries tend to offset these costs and many report a far higher quality of life here as a result.
Outside of the commercial commotion, the city has much to offer by way of culture, blending a unique fusion of eastern and western influences, including Asia’s top film festival, Dawn Taichi, and Cantonese opera, as well as thriving nightlife and shopping outlets. The city has also garnered a reputation as being Asia’s culinary capital, with an eclectic mix of different cuisines on offer, from the traditional Cantonese offering of Dim Sum, to Shanghainese, Vietnamese, and Japanese. Those looking for a taste of something closer to home can even indulge themselves in fish and chips!
The skyline may be dominated by skyscrapers, but it would be wrong to assume that Hong Kong is a concrete jungle. In fact, over 70% of Hong Kong is made up of mountains and expansive country parks and green spaces. Many workers forego the buzzing night of Lan Kwai Fong in favour of city escapes hiking in the plethora of nature trails or soaking up the rays on one of the city’s beaches.
Whatever side of Hong Kong you choose to embrace there is certainly something for everyone in this city, which has emerged from its years as a British colony to flourish economically and continues to grow and evolve into a thriving metropolis.
Working in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is certainly a very attractive destination as far as employment is concerned. The return to Chinese sovereignty has however led to more jobs being sourced locally. Although there are not as many employment opportunities as there once was, opportunities for ambitious foreign nationals in many of the multinational companies that operate in Hong Kong do exist.
Historically, the most popular jobs were in finance and banking and for those wishing to teach English. Today more are being employed in other developing areas of business such as management and IT, digital advertising and HR. Graduates with professional qualifications such as law are also highly desirable.
Be prepared to work hard however as the motto of Hong Kong is very much ‘work hard, play hard’, with long working days, often over 50 hours, and little acknowledgment of general working hours. For many their working environment is a place of sanctuary outside of their family life and hard work is both cherished and encouraged.
For help finding employment and advice on visa requirements the following web sites:
British expats can stay visa free for up to six months but those intending to work will have to secure a working visa or permit. This is normally granted to expats with specialised skills and higher education degrees and those migrating through company exchanges/placements will typically will assist relocating employees with the streamlined process.
Most expats live on Hong Kong Island, which is the second largest of the islands, but expats are also spread evenly across other districts. Like most cities, property prices in Hong Kong are expensive, and have been reported to be the second highest in the world, only just behind those of Monaco. Most expats, particularly those only intending to stay short term will choose to rent an apartment rather than to purchase one. If you intend to rent, as a guide, the cost to rent a one-bedroom apartment in the city is in the region of HK$17,484 (£1,648) per month and on the outskirts HK$11,356 243 (£1,070)
If you do decide to purchase, the process of buying property in Hong Kong is fairly simple and straightforward. Foreigners, in general, can buy properties such as condominiums in Hong Kong and rent them out without restriction. To buy property in Hong Kong, you must be a Hong Kong resident, whether you intend to live in the property or are buying it as an investment. The average cost of purchasing property is currently at HK$ 222,951 (£21,023) per square metre in the centre of the city. Towards the outskirts of the city this drops to HK$139,153 (£13,121).
The following site has both properties for sale and for rent:
The standard of education in Hong Kong is of a very high quality. However, most public schools are taught in Cantonese and may not be your preferred choice. Generally, expat families choose to educate their children in either private or international schools.
There are a number of international schools in Hong Kong which teach the curriculum of their founding country or internationally recognised programmes like the International Baccalaureate. These are attended by both foreigners and affluent locals who want to get a foreign education for their children.
Many expats employment contracts include assistance with the very high fees for international or private schooling. Be aware however that places are in high demand, can be difficult to find, and often have waiting lists. It is therefore advisable to do your research an explore your options in plenty of time.
Moving to Hong Kong is a thrilling opportunity, but also one that requires dedication, plenty of organisation and time to research. For some helpful tips and information on settling into life in Hong Kong, visit some of the many expat forums online to learn from those who have already made the transition into the Hong Kong way of life.
Public healthcare provision is very good and both public and private hospitals are run extremely efficiently and with the latest technology. Doctors and nurses are highly trained, and most are either fluent or can speak some English. All this comes at a cost however and healthcare is exceptionally expensive if not provided for as part of a company working incentive or subsidisation scheme.
Most expats opt for private healthcare as it is important to ensure that adequate cover is in place before arrival. There are plenty of pharmacies in Hong Kong which are generally well-stocked. Most are open seven days a week, with some operating 24/7.
Visit the following web sites for further information regarding healthcare provision in Hong Kong:
The currency in Hong Kong is the Hong Kong Dollar, abbreviated as HKD or HK$. When you are relocating to a new country, making sure you get the best currency exchange rate possible is often crucial to starting your new life on the right foot. It can even sometimes be the difference between landing your dream home and not.
If you want to beat your banks rates and services, simply contact our trusted FX partners, Frontierpay. Opening an account with them couldn’t be simpler and it is totally free of charge. You can compare their rates with your own bank and see how much you can save below:
White & Company
European Removals since 1871
We recommend a visit from one of our Surveyors for all European moves, so that we can assess your requirements, and the volume of goods to be moved.
Below is a rough guide to the largest cities in Hong Kong
Sha Tin New Town
Yuen Long District
Tuen Mun New Town
Tseung Kwan O New Town
What Others Say…
Wayne Middleton and Brian Witherford were professional and extremely helpful. Did a brilliant job. Would recommend Whites to anyone. Thanks very much.
Have used this company regularly for 5 years including my time in the armed forces. They are professional and efficient. Will use them again on our next move.
The move went very smoothly and they were very polite.
A very smooth move by White and Co. The team worked very hard and were polite, professional and helpful.