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Is Hong Kong foreigner-friendly

Is Hong Kong foreigner-friendly?

Many non-Hong Kongers from around the globe dream of moving to or at least visiting the region. As such, many ask the question, “is Hong Kong foreigner-friendly?” and similar queries.

Of course, the answer to these questions can be quite complicated. Continue reading to know more about whether or not foreigners are welcomed and treated well in Hong Kong.

Is Hong Kong foreigner-friendly?

Is Hong Kong foreigner-friendly

Hong Kong is not very foreigner-friendly in its current state. Soaring prices, political turmoil, lack of living space, and strict pandemic rules can make it hard for locals and emigrants alike to lead a comfortable life. 

Expatriates and resident Hong Kongers have already begun to leave Hong Kong en masse and seek better conditions abroad. With this in mind, it seems that a fair number of people think Hong Kong’s career prospects and entertainment offerings not worth staying for.

Is it a good idea to move to Hong Kong as an expatriate?

If you’re from a prosperous country with similar career opportunities and good quality of life, it may not be a good idea to live in Hong Kong as an expatriate. 

If you want a strong economy and good public services in exchange for high cost of living, exhausting work culture, and political turmoil, Hong Kong may be worthwhile. 

Ultimately, deciding whether or not it is a good idea to move to Hong Kong as a foreigner depends on where you’re from and whether you’d find the trade-offs worth it.

For a quick summary of the pros and cons of living in Hong Kong, you can use the table below.

Impeccable public transportationLack of accommodations and small apartments
Great education qualityHigh cost of living
Low crime rateTurbulent political climate
Unique food and cultureStrict pandemic rules
Numerous work opportunitiesDismal work-life balance

Are Hong Kongers welcoming towards foreigners?

Are Hong Kongers welcoming towards foreigners

Foreigners are generally welcomed in Hong Kong because of the region’s status as an international financial hub and history as a British colony. For locals, seeing foreigners is commonplace, especially when visiting city centres, so they have learned to live with them.

Some expatriates also primarily live in their own communities in Hong Kong, where there is little to no chance of experiencing animosity.

However, not all foreigners receive the same treatment in Hong Kong. According to a study conducted by the Equal Opportunities Commission, ethnic minorities faced the most discrimination from financial and housing service providers.

These minorities experience discrimination and mistreatment of varying forms, from being stereotyped as “mean” to outright being refused services such as opening credit card accounts.

Another study conducted by researchers from Lingnan University and the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong Diocesan Pastoral Centre for Workers – Kowloon found that half of their respondents encountered “racially aggressive acts.”

These acts range from body language and passive-aggressiveness to verbal abuse and swearing, which the interviewees said left them feeling belittled and humiliated. 

Where do foreigners live in Hong Kong?

Expatriates or foreigners in Hong Kong primarily live in the southern part of Hong Kong Island, in the Mid-Levels, in Victoria Peak, and in other similar locations, depending on their lifestyles.

Let’s discuss the areas where expatriates live in more detail.

Victoria Peak

Victoria Peak

Victoria Peak is the highest point on Hong Kong Island, offering beautiful views and an affluent environment. Foreigners living in the Peak are often wealthy retirees residing in expensive suites and high-end apartments.

The Peak offers lovely hiking trails, numerous retail centres and schools, and cool breezes, which are all perfect for those seeking to take a breath away from the bustling cities below. 

The monthly rent of apartments and properties in the Peak can reach anywhere from over HK$ 100,000 to HK$ 550 million.

The Mid-Levels

The Mid-Levels

The Mid-Levels is a wealthy residential area in the middle of Victoria Peak and Central. Offering stunning views of Victoria Harbour and located close to major business areas, the Mid-Levels attracts affluent expatriates and professionals.

Housing in the Mid-Levels ranges from luxurious apartments to nearly high-end residences. The monthly rent prices of these accommodations range anywhere from around HK$ 50,000 to HK$ 40 million.



Areas in Kowloon, specifically West Kowloon and Kowloon Tong, range from expensive residences to a mixture of commercial, residential, and leisure developments. 

Many expatriates are attracted to Kowloon for its good international schools, shopping centres, and modern housing complexes. 

However, foreigners will have to trade off these benefits for the inconvenience, as the Kowloon Peninsula is far from the main island where businesses and professions thrive.

The rent for apartments in these areas varies greatly. The median price for apartments in Kowloon Tong is HK$ 44,000, while the monthly rent prices for suites in West Kowloon can easily reach HK$ 63,000.

Wan Chai

Wan Chai

Wan Chai is a busy commercial area full of offices, parks, landmarks, and skyscrapers. Wan Chai is a place where young expatriates can experience Hong Kong’s fullest, as there are a lot of things to do.

Aside from the notable landmarks, the district also has local and international schools, hospitals, and residences ranging from mid-range to luxurious. As such, Wan Chai also attracts expatriates with families.

The monthly rent price in Wan Chai costs anywhere from HK$ 10,000 to upwards of HK $50,000.

Other Areas and Neighbourhoods

Other neighbourhoods in Hong Kong expatriates flock to often have beautiful views, house iconic tourist attractions, or offer peaceful residences. 

These areas include Repulse Bay, Happy Valley, Sai Kung Town, Lantau Island, and similar, primarily scenic and calm locations away from the bustling city centres.

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