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Excerpted from the Hong Kong Career Guide

Cost of Living

While not as expensive as Tokyo and a few other cities, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) is undoubtedly one of the most expensive places to live in the world. Hong Kong’s popularity among expatriates and its very limited available space drives up the cost of housing and the overall cost of living there (See the Housing section for details). Other living costs are high as well. Food and fuel costs have risen dramatically in the past year.


Hong Kong ranks among the ten most expensive cities in the world. Why is it so expensive? One of the major reasons is the cost of rental housing. Rents there are skyrocketing. The average monthly rent for a luxury two-bedroom apartment leaped from about 5,800 USD last year to almost 7,100 USD this year, according to global human resource firm Mercer.

Typically expatriates in Hong Kong live in flats in high rise buildings. Often these apartments lack Western amenities, such as dishwashers. Monthly rental prices for a four-room expat apartment with kitchen, bath and garage can reach 15,000 USD per month. A three-bedroom house on a hilltop will rent for nearly 20,000 USD per month. And the monthly rent for a large (10,000 square foot) townhouse on the water can be over 100,000 USD a month.


Hong Kong has a sophisticated multi-modal transportation network, including trains, trams, buses, ferries and taxis. Fares for public transportation are quite reasonable.

Mass transit: The Mass Transit Railway (MTR) system covers all major districts in the territory and includes stops at the boundary with Mainland China (Lo Wu and Lok Ma Chau). The MTR consists of 10 lines: Island, Tsuen Wan, Kwun Tong, Tseung Kwan O, Tung Chung, West Rail, East Rail, Ma On Shan, Disneyland Resort and an Airport Express.

Hours of Work

Most organizations have a 5.5-day work week, with Saturday being a half day and Sunday a rest day. Legally, the only requirement is one rest day in a seven-day period, with exceptions allowed for mechanical breakdowns and other ‘emergencies.’ In the event a rest day is not honored, it must be made up within 30 days.

This is just a short sample of what you’ll find in over 100 pages of information in the complete Hong Kong Guide.

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