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Exploring Hong Kong

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The Pearl of Orient, the birthplace of the famous Bollywood actress Katrina Kaif is a land of contrasts and surprises. Relocation to any foreign destination is not an easy job because every destination has its own pros and cons, but the good news is that Hong Kong is one of the rare destinations for expats where the good outweighs the bad. Though both India and Hong Kong were British colonies in the past, what Hong Kong gained from the British was their organised westernised lifestyle; something that India is yet to learn. When an Indian moves to HK, the amalgamation of the East with the West is the first thing he notices.


Occupation:yesterday and today


The association of India and Hong Kong could be traced back to the early days when both were the colonies of the British. The history says that Indian troops played a significant role in the development of this island in 1841, when the Union flag of the United Kingdom was still being hoisted on the island. Some of the prominent contributions involve the foundation of the University of Hong Kong (HKU), Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC Bank), and the Star Ferry. According to statistics of the Republic of India’s High Level Committee on Indian Diaspora, there are at present approximately 22,000 Indian citizens and 28,500 non-citizen individuals of Indian origin currently residing on Hong Kong soil. A large number of Indians took part in the army before the World War II and after the victory of the Allies, established their business ventures in Hong Kong. Among those who settled, the Harilela family runs one of the well-known business groups in HK. In more recent times, the banking and finance sectors in HK had the strongest presence of the Indian professionals. IT and telecom have always been leading segments for Indian professionals, be it in any country and apart from those industries, Indians in Hong Kong have also stepped into various sectors like airlines, tourism, medical, and insurance. Interestingly, in 1950, tailoring was one sector that was dominated by the Indians who owned over 200 shops at that time. Over time, the fashion industry in Honk Kong has boomed with multiple designers and fashion brands vying for the top spot. The big diamond merchants from Gujarat have also formed affluent groups in this country and own costly properties all over Hong Kong. An Indian would definitely be inclined to explore Nathan Road and Mody Road in Tsim Sha Tsui in HK. The quick facts about diversity of work that Indians are performing is simply amazing as they are leading the HK market. More than 15% of the restaurants are owned by Indians, and we hold the majority when compared to rest of the community in HK for higher job positions. The table below represents the exact figures:



One more surprising fact about Indians in Hong Kong is their pay package in percentage of Indian earnings is higher than the total working force in the country. The table helps illustrate the same.


 


Living in HK


Indians have spread themselves all over Hong Kong’s bustling cityscape. One can choose to live on or off the island. If an expat is looking for value for money, living off the island should be his choice since it provides more affordable options. If he wants to have an easy access to the center with all the pubs, restaurants and entertainment, then on the island is a better choice. The accommodation prices in Hong Kong depend on three primary factors: size, recent date of renovation and the view. Most of the people have to compromise on one or two factors to maintain things within the budget. The former British colony is attracting a large number of expats to the country for its high standards of living and low taxation rates, it is known as finance capital of Asia and the Hong Kong Stock exchange is ranked 6th in the world. The strength of this country lies in its currency as the HK dollar is linked to the US dollar and even in the current economic crises, it has remained stronger than most other currencies. The list of appreciation for Hong Kong’s economy is interminable, its one of the world’s most successful capitalist economies and is well-known as Asia’s fiscal tiger.



The expats say that Hong Kong is crowded, but the crowd is managed well, especially since they picked up orderliness from the British. This is a land where the public only walks on the pavements designed for walkers, that too in queue. One can find painted floors in the metro stations that indicates people waiting for the train should stand off to the side and people exiting should stand in the middle. The same is the situation in the streets which is unlike any other Asian country. There is plenty of traffic, but little honking and no lane jumping. The place is green and pollution free and it would shock an outsider with its roof gardens. Unless one looks down, he wouldn’t even know that he is on the 50th floor.


Hong Kong is a preferred destination for bankers and other finance-related professionals. Indians have been welcome here for decades owing to the immigration-friendly nature of the government as well as the plethora of career opportunities available for skilled applicants. If you feel like you need to see the world, Hong Kong is your gateway.