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Moving to HK in March as Expat - some questions (Salary, Housing, Meeting People)

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jan 2019
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    Moving to HK in March as Expat - some questions (Salary, Housing, Meeting People)

    Hi there, I will be moving to Hong Kong in March from Denmark for work and was hoping for some advise on the below from the experts! For context I am a Dutch and am moving there myself (w/out family).

    Housing Location - my expat contract comes with up to 70,000 HKD per month in housing allowance which I think is quite good. Ive been looking at places in Central, Mid-levels, Sheung Wan, Wan Chai and of course Kowloon. Any tips here? Recommendations? Places to avoid?

    Salary - I should be receiving around 70,000 HKD per month net (after tax) in salary which includes hardship, mobility and cost of living allowance. Is this pretty standard for Hong Kong or more on the high end? My company will also pay for insurance and other benefits. FYI this is a director role which traditionally requires around 7-10 years work experience i believe.

    Meeting people - having just been living abroad I would might like to meet other expats/foreigners and also some locals; any tips on groups or events that are fun and are recommended to join (i.e. Internations)? Any good places for sports like Tennis?

    Appreciate the input! Any other tips also appreciated!


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Posts
    43

    It's a good housing allowance, especially as you're single. Living somewhere off the escalator is a good way to meet people and you should be able to get a good amount of space and a view easily on that budget.

    Salary sounds about right assuming it is tax equalised to your employing country, but don't be surprised when the locals are taking home considerably more (before rent). Anyway without any housing costs you'll be able to save a good chunk.

    Country club is good for tennis if your company has debentures.

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  3. #3

    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Hong Kong
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    6,325

    Housing allowance is taxed so make sure you've taken that into consideration. 70k is nice but for a single person a bit overkill. Can you get a higher basic?

    Housing allowances could also be more easily cut than your salary. Will your company put the lease in their name or are you on the hook for the rental.

    Directors salaries vary greatly. I would say a good Director salary is about 150k basic touching on the finance industry.

    It's a decent package though. Welcome to HK!

    z754103 and Simba123 like this.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jan 2019
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    5

    Awesome thanks for the input and tips - much appreciated :-)

    Interesting to hear about the 150k though, thats high wow! That said I work in FMCG and am 26 so that also was factored in


  5. #5

    Join Date
    Feb 2015
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    Hong-Kong
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    Quote Originally Posted by MandM!
    Housing allowances could also be more easily cut than your salary.
    And also are excluded from severance payment calculations if the dude gets laid off .

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jan 2019
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrkob
    And also are excluded from severance payment calculations if the dude gets laid off .
    Smart

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    743

    And if you get bonuses, those are usually calculated off the base salary, ex housing allowance. If you're on overseas pension arrangements, those may also be based off salary. And if they transfer you to somewhere else, they can easily adjust your total comp by reducing housing.

    When my housing was around the same as my base, I maxed out as much of my regular costs in a higher rent as possible. E..g save on gym membertship and commute costs by choosing somewhere with workout facilities I'd really use, close to where I work/socialise so I minimize transport costs etc. All things being equal I also preferred landlords who would consider throwing in some extras in return for a higher rent, e.g. weekly cleaner, or fixed cost broadband etc. Obviously they won't want to cover anything where they might have unlimited liability for costs you incur, so not utility bills etc.

    Simba123 likes this.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    2,349

    Agree with the above, max out the housing allowance and save the salary because expats are often converted to local contracts after a few years. I know one lady who was living on The Peak and is still traumatized that shes now in Kennedy Town


  9. #9

    Join Date
    Jan 2019
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    5
    Quote Originally Posted by merchantms
    Agree with the above, max out the housing allowance and save the salary because expats are often converted to local contracts after a few years. I know one lady who was living on The Peak and is still traumatized that shes now in Kennedy Town
    Haha "traumatized" - love it. Yea this 'converted' is also quite common in my company but usually happens only after 4 years min

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    372

    Your housing is way too high coming as a single, congratulations! If your company like mine is stubborn and do not let you keep the difference if you rent cheaper, I would consider finding ways extracting a bit of that money anyway. Easy example is include electricity, gas and carpark in rental contract. Carpark you can rent out. Thank me later when you manage to save a lot of extra money!

    And by the way, your titles seems even more inflated than what they are within Finance, nobody is a Director at 26 in Finance..


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