HK Hopeful-- looking for advice on getting started

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Aug 2003
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    7

    Thumbs up HK Hopeful-- looking for advice on getting started

    There is talk of my company moving me out to HK from NY this fall for a two+ year posting -- needless to say i am very excited about the possibility. I'm 25 and single and see this a great opportunity.

    My company is relatively small and does not have much experience moving people overseas (yikes!). a tight budget also means that i will be doing most of the relocation footwork myself... so i've got some questions!

    Taxation: our HK office is young and we do not yet have an HK bank account or payroll capabilities. I will therefore be paid from our US office; how do i avoid double taxation? where can i find out more about HK taxation practices as they relate to expat compensation packages?

    Insurance: i have no idea where to begin with this-- i am currently enrolled in the company plan here in the US and have no idea how this will be affected by a move overseas. I need to contact my insurer, but would appreciate additional input/thoughts/advice

    Housing: There is the possibility that my company will provide a housing subsidy or pay for a serviced apt. I expect any offer to be modest-- where is the best value with regards to housing in HK? Where can i find out about different neighborhoods in HK?

    Thanks in advance for your help... all thoughts are sincerely appreciated!!!!

    -jTab

    ps- browsing through this site has already proven immensely helpful... kudos to the adminstrators!


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    Hey jTab,

    Greetings and thanks for the kind words! I'd moved to Hong Kong in pretty much the same condition -- 25 and single (this was 10 years ago) and things have changed a huge amount for me since then.

    Taxation: Talk to a lawyer before you come down. There may be issues with your compensation which would affect the way you get paid. These include state and city taxes if you're being paid in New York. We've got a couple of people in our directory and I'll ask them for some info.... not sure when they'll be able to respond.

    Insurance: Make sure you have international insurance coverage. If you don't our "resident" finance guy, kevin can help you get something. I'll ask him to pop in here and drop a few notes as he deals with taxation / US expatriate issues at times.

    Housing: Figure out where your office is and in many cases you may be able to find something good and within your budget nearby. Best to look around on http://www.gohome.com.hk to see whats available. If you've worked in NYC, I think HK is pretty similar in terms of costs and sizes. Do keep in mind that rents are a part of your compensation and need to be looked at with your tax lawyer.


  3. #3

    Join Date
    Apr 2003
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    12,383

    I would also drop the American Chambers a line and get a hold of some of their literature on opening offices / doing business in HK.

    http://www.amcham.org.hk/home.html


  4. #4

    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    7

    Shri/KnowItAll- thank you both for your thoughtful replies.

    Shri: agree that a Tax Lawyer or Accountant seems to be the best way to go as far as learning more about compensation packages and tax implications. every situation is different and requires a different solution.

    would be grateful if you could pose my question to those in the directory!

    KnowItAll: thanks for the heads up on the AmCham--- looks like a great place to help get started and pick up some good information.

    Thanks again!

    -jtab


  5. #5

    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    3

    riding the coattails

    Hello,

    I apologize if it is not appropriate to ride in the coattails of a conversation -- but I just joined the forum and had the same interests as jtab's conversation.

    Similarly, I am in the process of relocating from Providence, RI to Hong Kong, starting September 18th. For the first couple of weeks I will be in a hotel, before securing an apartment, as well as trying to secure a job.

    I am in the Product Design/Manufacture business and have worked with some companies in Hong Kong/China in the past, so at least have a bit of a running start.

    Regarding Insurance -- what is the general cost? I am 28 and still healthy, so hopefully that amounts to something.

    As a big picture question: what is the best advice you ever got in the transition process? As well as, what is the thing people forget to prepare for in advance?

    Without a doubt, this site has been fantastic in the amount of information, and I want to thank the Admin for making this happen -- so I owe all of you a beer at some point.

    Take care,
    manders


  6. #6

    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    3

    Insurance recommendation

    Sorry that I forgot to add this in my previous post -- but who would you recommend for International Insurance coverage?

    Thanks for your patience and time,
    manders


  7. #7

    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    薄扶林
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    Manders,

    Some of the things I did before I moved to Hong Kong ... which in a way helped break the ice with a lot of colleagues and their friends. Some random thoughts...

    -- Watched every Hong Kong movie I could get my hands on. Oldies from John Woo / Chow Yun Fat etc. Great conversation starters with a lot of people.

    -- Read a ton of fiction based around Hong Kong.

    -- Spent a ton of time at my local chinese take away as I was told that "you're not going to get this food in Hong Kong"! We still hit the Chinese takeouts in London / North America when we're visiting those places.

    Overall, keep an open mind. In many ways HK is a far more dynamic and vibrant place than most western cities (I spent way too much time around the mid-west). I've generally found HK to be one of the better places in Asia in terms of making friends, meeting people, doing business and ummm.. enjoying life. (I am not usually this cheerful about things, I'm usually a cynical bastard).

    There is a tendancy for north-americans (less so amongst candians) to err ... look down upon the local and all things chinese. The culture is different, the road to sucess is different and the value systems are different. They may be wrong in your eyes, but in a Zen / Confucian / Pure Greed system of life, they may not.

    There are plenty of networking groups in Hong Kong. Something that may be alien to most north americans. You'll find the Can Cham, AmCham and YPC (Young Professionals Committee(?)) great places to meet and mingle with fellow expats.

    Also, I'd recommend taking a look at http://www.bigwhiteguy.com He's a brilliant writer who in has the ability to put into words what many of us think about Hong Kong and life here.


  8. #8

    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    About insurance...

    We've got two articles here

    http://www.geoexpat.com/modules.php?...showpage&pid=5

    and

    http://www.geoexpat.com/modules.php?...showpage&pid=6

    The first one is probably more appropriate for you.

    I'd wholeheartedly recommend contacting Kevin. He's a good friend and insures pretty much anything I value, including my life.


  9. #9

    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Shatin
    Posts
    122

    Hi there jTab and manders,

    As Shri said, drop me a line, either by email or PM and I can help you both out individually. On a general note regarding insurance, there are several companies offering comprehensive medical cover. Costs vary depending on the level of cover you require. For a 25-29 year old the cost is around US$1,200-1,500 per annum for top of the line worldwide cover. There are several companies offering insurance, some are slightly cheaper than others but offer a more limited range of benefits whilst the more expensive plans offer some additional benefits such as routine health check-ups and maternity cover. Which one may be more suitable will depend upon your individual situation and budget. I have just set up a corporate scheme for a US company based here in Hong Kong with staff in China and around Asia and the premiums were very much below what they were paying in the US. Also, if there are at least 3 members you can get group discounts. Drop me a PM and I can have a chat with you regarding your personal situations.

    You may also wish to look at taking out accident insurance if you are not already covered by your company. Again, this is something we can work out once you are moved over here.

    When you first come over here make sure you take out comprehensive travel insurance, this will ensure that you will have some medical/accident insurance in place while you are settling in and setting up your company medical plan (if we do not set it up before you come over that is).

    One thing you will also need to do if you are setting up an office here is take out mandatory office insurance. I can help you out with that when the time comes. If you need to talk to someone who can help you in setting up a Hong Kong company, bank accounts etc, again drop me a line and I can put you in touch with him. I will try to get them to answer on the site but he may prefer to talk privately.

    For Tax, as Shri said, have a chat with someone back home first, a good tax lawyer should have an idea of the situation with regards to Hong Kong. We have a local tax expert on the site that I have just had a chat with and hopefully he will drop in here and answer your questions or get in touch with you directly.

    Kevin/


  10. #10

    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    7

    Talking

    thanks again all--- the info is immensely useful and greatly appreciated. i know i may seem overly grateful, but i was somewhat surprised to find how decentralized information on relocaing tends to be.. so i'm always thankful when i can find good nuggets.

    manders-- glad to see i'm not the only one trying to figure everything out!!! please do share whatever resources you've found to be helpful.

    Kevin-- thanks for taking the time to reply. i suspect i will be contacting you very shortly to discuss my situation in further detail. there seem to be quite a myriad of options available, so i appreciate your patience in writing a helpful response.

    thanks all!

    -jTab


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