Hong Kong? Singapore? Get the passports ready…

16th July 2015 by Adam

Hong Kong? Singapore? Get the passports ready…

Following the recent trip to SE Asia in May we have found out a number of things relating to HK and Singapore. Firstly, its hot. Very hot… Secondly the people are lovely. Thirdly and probably most worthy of note here it’s a great market to consider if you are looking for a new role!

Perhaps just by chance (or perhaps there is some truth to this) the clients we met in Singapore were predominantly FMCG / Packaging focussed and HK had a more Brand / Comms related edge to it. This is perhaps due to the fact that HK is founded on the core principles that businesses are property or financial services focussed. That’s obviously a generalisation but it rings true when you see what type of work is produced and who produces this work.

So you have decided to make the move overseas. You have looked into how you will rent your property in the UK and checked out the educational system if you have children. Told your family and have your VISA  and paperwork in line. What next? Well firstly Singapore and HK couldn’t be more different, I was shocked especially after visiting both cities in a week how different they could be. Singapore remains eternally at 30-40 degrees no matter which month and has more days of sunshine per year than the likes of Miami Beach. The temperature is hot, but dryer and less humid than HK. HK has a ‘New York feel’ to it. If you like the idea of a high rise city based in what I was told is the busiest port in the world then ‘the gateway’ to the Far East is for you. In terms of pure size it dwarfs Singapore. It’s not massively spread out like London but its high. Really high. Imagine a real life version of Buckaroo and you get the idea.

In terms of living both locations are not cheap; you will typically pay around 25%-50% more for rent in both locations, HK being the more expensive location. Living centrally in HK is pricy (think Mayfair and Notting hill for a studio flat) however you can live out in Stanley and commute in (only 30mins) and live by the beach and pay half the rent – what would you choose?! Taxis are cheap in both cities so it’s not uncommon to never see anyone walk (it’s too hot for a start) and a typical journey that lasts 10-15mins can cost as little as £3.00. Just remember that in both locations the taxis have shift changes at 11AM and around 4PM so getting to hail a taxi then is nearly impossible – trust me I’ve tried!

Eating out can be expensive or cheap depending on where and when you go. There are enough restaurants in HK to eat out every day in a different restaurant for over 30 years. Yes; 30 years!

Both countries are set up to cater for the expats incredibly well; Singapore is probably the ‘friendlier’ of the two locations and has a much more relaxed feel to it. I’m not saying that the locals in HK are ‘rude’ but don’t be offended if you ask a question and someone blanks you. It’s not them likely being rude but a language barrier and cultural difference that has come into the equation.

If you are looking to make a change in your career, step up a level, experience a new way of life and are ready for a visceral assault on ALL your senses then a move to HK / Singapore could be just what you need!


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