HK, staying relevant..

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  1. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by thundacatchergo
    Yes the pollution is bad but I am not here for that.
    Haha, you might not be here for that but you can't escape it, can you?

  2. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo
    Gilles

    [email protected], Your comment about chinese language skills being almost mandatory in the legal positions in HK so you'll look at Singapore, Sorry but you need to be flexible and make yourself more marketable in this town, The days of just rolling up with say a western education and only being able to speak English are long gone.
    I completely agree with you. As a little bit of background, I am leaning conversational Mandarin and moved positions here in the US with an eye on what would be more marketable in Asia. However, it seems like an offer from Singapore might come sooner than the point where I can truly say that I speak Mandarin. When I speak with recruiters in both cities, there is a world of difference in their assessment of potential options. My first choice is still HK but I don't have an eternity to try and make this happen. Ideally, I would like to move within a year or two.

    My point is simply that HK seems to be getting positioned as a China hub more than a regional hub and Shanghai can be stiff competition if companies are looking for a base in China.
    Last edited by [email protected]; 24-02-2009 at 10:18 AM.

  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected]
    I completely agree with you. As a little bit of background, I am leaning conversational Mandarin and moved positions here in the US with an eye on what would be more marketable in Asia. However, it seems like an offer from Singapore might come sooner than the point where I can truly say that I speak Mandarin. When I speak with recruiters in both cities, there is a world of difference their assessment of potential options. My first choice is still HK but I don't have an eternity to try and move and would ideally like to move within a year or two.
    Understandable, At this current economic climate we have to go with the first offer and where the work is. Good luck.

    Hmm well Shanghai or HK, Isn't Shanghai more polluted than HK?
    Last edited by jimbo; 24-02-2009 at 10:26 AM.

  4. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by SpecialK
    Thunda, please tell me where you enjoy 'green spaces' in HK? My kids would love to know where they can go and actually run on grass rather than it being cordonned off with signs saying 'keep off'. HK is a great city, I haven't said otherwise but it's better for singles or couples with no kids.
    Wow, how long have you been here? Here are a few places that we go. We live and hang out on Hong Kong Island but I am sure there are plenty of places on the otherside of the harbour.

    1. There's a nice patch of grass at the former Governor's summer mansion up on the peak. No one is ever there. It's really nice in summer when it is really foggy.
    2. The inside of Happy Valley racecourse. there must be a few acres of grass in here.
    3. There are lots of nice patches of grass scattered throughout the country parks. Hike thru Tai Tam Reservoir.
    4. Wan Chai Gap park

    You'll discover more as time goes on. There are a lot of other spots that is not well known or not so easy to get to spots. These are the best as they are quite.

    Of course, you also have all the private clubs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raccon
    Haha, you might not be here for that (pollution) but you can't escape it, can you?
    The pollution was here before we were. So it wasn't as if we didn't know it existed. I much prefer environmental pollution than say political freedom.

  5. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by gilleshk
    Hong Kong will continue to be a dominant Asian city for many reasons and I believe these make HK a superior place to do business.

    Best airport in the world and one of the best airline(shanghai nowhere near)
    Best selection of English speaking schools by far(neither Shanghai nor Singapore are near)
    One of the best port facilities in the world( on par with Shanghai and Singapore)
    Excellent weather(better than SG hot and humid all year round)
    Access to excellent workforce with good english speaking skills(on par with Sg, better than Shanghai)
    Next door to China who will undeniably be an economic power for many years to come(on par with Shanghai, better than Sg)
    Stable and fairly well governed without too much corruption(on par with SG and way better than Shanghai)

    Personally, I don't think that in general, pollution and rent will trump all those other reasons though in some cases it does make people leave.

    You can't change geography and most of these factors are not going to change in the short term. The economy and rents on the other hand change fairly quickly hence some of the natural movements that will happen. For some companies it may make sense to move to Shanghai or Singapore and I believe these two cities will continue to be major players but that doesn't mean HK will lose out significantly. The essence of business is growth which leaves room for everyone to become successful.
    I am more on fm7's side of the argument here. Hong Kong is in decline as a regional hub (and has already been for the last few years), but obviously from quite a very leading (although probably not dominant) position. Lifestyle-wise it still has many attraction and will continue to do so, but many of its other (relative) advantages are being eroded more or less rapidly.

    To run through gilles's list:
    • Best airport in the world and one of the best airline(shanghai nowhere near) You would probably get an argument from Singapore here, but more importantly, HKG's relative advantage over Beijing, Shanghai, etc. is shrinking rapidly.
    • Best selection of English speaking schools by far(neither Shanghai nor Singapore are near) Not sure about that (no kids yet) - but I do know a number of expats who have left HKG for Singapore (and other places) solely for the schooling of their kids.
    • One of the best port facilities in the world( on par with Shanghai and Singapore) Not any longer, taking into consideration the cost base. Lots of traffic has moved to Shenzhen, etc. and continues to do so.
    • Excellent weather(better than SG hot and humid all year round) True, I guess - although you would never know if from all the complaints on this forum
    • Access to excellent workforce with good english speaking skills(on par with Sg, better than Shanghai) Somewhat true, but much less so than in the past. Both the level of English and the relevance of it for many roles are dropping noticeably.
    • Next door to China who will undeniably be an economic power for many years to come(on par with Shanghai, better than Sg) Not anywhere close to Shanghai or Beijing. Geographically obviously superior to Singapore, but not in terms of access to decision makers, etc.
    • Stable and fairly well governed without too much corruption(on par with SG and way better than Shanghai) Have to disagree on this one. Not anywhere close to Singapore - and probably behind Shanghai and Beijing at this stage, given all the favors to the cartels/tycoons. Quality of government and regulations is slipping both in absolute and relative terms.


    Hong Kong has been fotunate occupy a privileged position, including:
    1. strategic location for shipping, trade, etc.
    2. good general infrastructure
    3. highly qualified (and English speaking) workforce
    4. stable legal environment
    5. economic incentives like low taxes
    6. good regulatory system
    7. privileged access to China
    8. favorable living environment (natural beauty, green spaces, sea, good connections to other Asian destinations, etc.)
    9. good expat infrastructure (schools, goods & services, etc.)


    Of these:
    1. continues to be true, but is becoming less relevant
    2. is still true, but not a real competitive advantage any longer (or much less so)
    3. becoming less true and less relevant
    4. continues to be a major asset
    5. continues to be true
    6. is being eroded rapidly (and could be a real problem for Hong Kong as a financial center)
    7. has all but disappeared
    8. still true, if you can tolerate the air pollution
    9. still true


    In short, Hong Kong has for some time benefited from its privileged position of being a much better base to
    • both live and work and
    • to access to China.

    than anywhere else.
    It continues to be very good (although probably not quite world-class) for the former on absolute terms, but places like Beijing and Shanghai are catching up rapidly relatively speaking (and have already overtaken Hong Kong in terms of nightlife, restaurants, cultural scene, etc.). For the latter, there is really no point to be based in Hong Kong any longer to do business in China - Beijing and Shanghai are just so much superior.

    I first arrived in Hong Kong 11 (almost 12) years ago and after stints here, in Singapore, Tokyo, Shanghai, and Beijing, I still truly love this place, but I see no real rationale for Hong Kong to be a major a hub going forward (other than the historical reasons mentioned above - most of which are in decline). IMHO Hong Kong has (at least so far failed) to reinvent itself and to create reasons to be really relevant in the future.

  6. #16

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    Gilles, we're in agreement then. My point being that HK is great for singles/couples without kids (or at least young children). When you have young children and have to figure out what to do with them to get them out of the house you go insane! Shopping malls and walking in built up, congested areas aren't my idea of fun for children and hikes are out of the question until they hit a certain age.

    Thunda, finding a spot of grass for a toddler to run around on shouldn't take a monumental effort. Having to drive for 20 minutes or trek through the Tai Tam reservoir to find a spot of grass isn't really ideal would you say? Also, am keen to know where there are decent bits of grass out there (TT reservoir) as we are there often enough and haven't found anything that actually resembles grass children can walk bare foot on. We are a member of a club mainly so our kids can round around on the grass but what about people who don't get a membership and can't afford it?

    Beachball, great post. I agree with you completely.

    Last edited by SpecialK; 24-02-2009 at 04:09 PM.

  7. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by SpecialK
    Gilles, we're in agreement then. My point being that HK is great for singles/couples without kids (or at least young children). When you have young children and have to figure out what to do with them to get them out of the house you go insane! Shopping malls and walking in built up, congested areas aren't my idea of fun for children and hikes are out of the question until they hit a certain age.

    Beachball, great post. I agree with you completely.
    Depends on where you stay in HK, most or seems to me most expats like to like on HK island especially in areas like MidLevels. High rise and very congested, not much greenery up there.

    Places like the new territories or even clear water bay/sai kung has load of greenery, pollution is way low in these areas and the commute to work could be a bit long to some people (max 1 hour) its still worth it on the weekends.

  8. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by SpecialK
    Thunda, finding a spot of grass for a toddler to run around on shouldn't take a monumental effort. Having to drive for 20 minutes or trek through the Tai Tam reservoir to find a spot of grass isn't really ideal would you say? Also, am keen to know where there are decent bits of grass out there (TT reservoir) as we are there often enough and haven't found anything that actually resembles grass children can walk bare foot on. We are a member of a club mainly so our kids can round around on the grass but what about people who don't get a membership and can't afford it?
    We are not going to agree on this and its okay. If it takes monumental effort to find the racecourse, go and get a map.

  9. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by wtbhotia
    Depends on where you stay in HK, most or seems to me most expats like to like on HK island especially in areas like MidLevels. High rise and very congested, not much greenery up there.
    Well no, but I can be outside the buildings within 15 mins or so and then be up on the trails. OK, they're not as remote as Lantau, but they are country parks where people and animals can run freely on tracks through the woods and over the hills. I can hike from my home to Stanley, or pick up the whole HK Trail, or walk to Tai Koo along the hills.

  10. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by thundacatchergo
    We are not going to agree on this and its okay. If it takes monumental effort to find the racecourse, go and get a map.
    Clearly you don't actually have young children, which is what my comments refer to. There's no need to be pompous. This is supposed to be an open discussion. People have different opinions based on their own experiences. I grew up in a place where parks where plentiful and patches of grass weren't signed posted as being out of bounds. If you told most people, in most countries in the world that they had one or two options on where to take their kids so they could play on grass people they would think you were joking.

    WTB, I agree. New Territories are better for young kids than the island. Unfortunately when we moved here my husband was not willing to do such a long commute. Can't have everything as they say! If we stay on longer than say, another year, there is a good chance we will move.

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