Logistic of Relocating to Hong Kong for work

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  1. #1

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    Logistic of Relocating to Hong Kong for work

    Hi All

    In the process of considering an offer to work in Hong Kong and therefore need advice on a number of issues. Be grateful if you could help to eleviate some of the unknows:

    1. Accomodation
    - Seems like the best place to be is Mid-Level. But have noticed that prices on website like hongkonghomes.com is over-inflated than what I heard from my mates (ex-hong kong expat). Is this generally true?
    - I will be based in Central (Hong Kong Island) for work, apart from Mid-Level, what others area would you recommend that provides a good life-style (i.e. nicer and bigger apartment). We are a couple with no-kids. Is commuting over 30mins the norm here?
    - Apartment vs. Service Apartment: Any recommendation? Has anyone used the Four Seasons apartment for long-term rental, if yes, how do you find it?

    2. Financial
    - I know in some country setting up bank account/credit cards is an issue due to lack of credit history? How was it in HK?
    - "Normally" what portion of the monthly salary goes to rental? i.e. expat scenario

    3. Package Negotiation
    - A Hong Kong Agent put me forward for this role while I'm based in London. The job offers deem to be a local hired but with relocation assistance. For a VP within an investment bank, (I know this is an open question) what is an acceptable relocation assistance. A rough idea will do? i.e. what's should be on the table.
    - How many annual holiday do you get in Hong Kong?

    Sorry to be a bore but thanks in advance.


  2. #2

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    http://www.geoexpat.com/forum/thread14353.html

    Check out this thread and others in the Moving to Hong Kong section.

    HKhomes is generally recommended as being good for looking but not for renting.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by brighton:
    Hi All

    - I will be based in Central (Hong Kong Island) for work, apart from Mid-Level, what others area would you recommend that provides a good life-style (i.e. nicer and bigger apartment). We are a couple with no-kids. Is commuting over 30mins the norm here?
    - Apartment vs. Service Apartment: Any recommendation? Has anyone used the Four Seasons apartment for long-term rental, if yes, how do you find it?
    Re. the Four Seasons service apartments, a good friend of mine has been in his for almost a year and it seems like he really likes it. However, having said that, HK is full of nice service apartments, especially if you don't mind spending the money.

    Re. apartments itself outside of Midlevels, another popular area among expats is Happy Valley because you generally get larger apartments there (i.e. same rent as in Central area, but a lot more space), plus it's not too far away (about 15-20min cab ride without traffic). There's also Repulse Bay and Stanley, with more peace and quiet and nice houses, but people I know who live out there tend to have cars to make life a lot easier.

    Commute-wise, I think it's a personal preference...most commutes tend to hover around the 30-45min mark. Unlike in the UK, where anything under 1hr is a luxury...you'll find HK is small enough and public transportation is painless and cheap...it's definitely one of the best parts of living here. Personally, I live super close to the office, but that's only because I'm in finance and on the desk at 730am...can't be bothered to commute any longer than 5 minutes!

  4. #4

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    My recommendations based on a similar experience (US IB VP relocating with company)


    1. Accomodation
    - Seems like the best place to be is Mid-Level. But have noticed that prices on website like hongkonghomes.com is over-inflated than what I heard from my mates (ex-hong kong expat). Is this generally true?

    Midlevels is not the cheapest but it is close to central and the escalator makes it convenient. dont go with hkhomes, as someone said it is too expensive, just use it to get an idea of places. Apparently rentals have gone up over the past year, so things maybe a bit more expensive that what friends got 18 months ago. Understand that there is no concept of 'first impressions count' when it comes to renting apartments, most of them are filthy, smally and with left over previous tennants junk.

    - I will be based in Central (Hong Kong Island) for work, apart from Mid-Level, what others area would you recommend that provides a good life-style (i.e. nicer and bigger apartment). We are a couple with no-kids. Is commuting over 30mins the norm here?

    Lots of people are in Kennedy Town, but the apatments popular with expats are very small. Also consider pokfulam, or northpoint. I am in midlevels and love it, but it is not for everyone.

    - Apartment vs. Service Apartment: Any recommendation? Has anyone used the Four Seasons apartment for long-term rental, if yes, how do you find it?

    My friend lived in the 4 seasons, the apartments are very nice, but at weekends he found it a drag living in central right next to his office.

    2. Financial
    - I know in some country setting up bank account/credit cards is an issue due to lack of credit history? How was it in HK?

    No problem at all. they throw credit cards at you. in HK just bring your passport and a letter from employer (probably not necessary though)

    - "Normally" what portion of the monthly salary goes to rental? i.e. expat scenario

    approx 30% roughly for people I know in same position as you (VP in IB), less for some guys who live in a smelly shoebox with no view. I am sure heaps of people on this forum use a much lesser proportion. Dont forget the rental allowance that essentially gives you rent (almost) tax free. Even if they dont give you housing allowance, you can elect to take a portion of your salary as 'rental allowance' you still get paid the same, but dont get taxed as much on the rental proportion

    3. Package Negotiation
    - A Hong Kong Agent put me forward for this role while I'm based in London. The job offers deem to be a local hired but with relocation assistance. For a VP within an investment bank, (I know this is an open question) what is an acceptable relocation assistance. A rough idea will do? i.e. what's should be on the table.

    Business class flights over for you and family. Move everything for you, door to door shipping. Tax assistance in UK & HK for yr 1. rental commission paid for. English speaking relocation agent to show you around and give tour, hints and tips etc. Approx 10K USD 'settling in allowance' (sounds lots, but needed to buy furniture, rental deposit, curtains, electrical appliances etc)

    - How many annual holiday do you get in Hong Kong?

    4 weeks but they have lots of public holidays here, both chinese holidays eg CNY and christian holidays xmas, easter.

    Enjoy, and good luck with your move.

    jj


  5. #5

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    I forgot to add you should get health insurance as well.


  6. #6

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    Thanks for sharing your experiences. You guys are really helpful.

    Re: Apartment - That's what I thought as well. There all look very "practical" even the more expensive one. Is things like Dish-washer a norm?


  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by brighton:
    Is things like Dish-washer a norm?

    nope as theres usually no room left for one in the kitchen.

    cooker/fridge/washing machine is basically it.

  8. #8

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    Bugger! Hate washing up. But surely you can buy one in HK?

    Last edited by brighton; 05-10-2006 at 10:03 PM.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by brighton:
    Bugger! Hate washing up. But surely you can buy one in HK?
    yup sure but again its dependant on the room in your kitchen and whether there is a free area for it to be plumbed in.