Hong Kong became a colony of the British Empire after the first Opium War of the 19th century, before being return to the Chinese in 1997. Today it is a special autonomous region of the Republic of China and one of the leading financial centres in the world. Famous for its impressive collection of skyscrapers it also has one of the best quality of life indicators in the world.
First impressions of Hong Kong can be disorientating; narrow streets and alleys packed tightly below towering buildings, neon rainbows flickering in every direction. Victoria Harbour, teeming with activity, leaves you breathless, while the view from The Peak is just as stunning as the postcards. The action doesn’t stop after lights out; stroll through Temple Street Night Market or sample the buzzing night-life on Hong Kong Island, this is a true 24-hour city.
There is some peace to be found on the mountain trails of the New Territories, or the sleeping Buddhist temples of the outlying islands. There are even a few oases in the city; secluded chapels and quiet museums, or green picnic spots with resplendent views at Tai Long Wan, Dragon’s Back or the Bride’s Pool.
You’re likely to spend most of your time in the city’s excellent restaurants and bars, even when you are on the job. Hong Kong’s business folk take the business of entertainment very seriously and the only problem you’re likely to face is how to fit everything in.
Hong Kong is a major international air hub for China and takes a wide range of international flights. Numerous bus and coach services link it with the neighbouring Chinese province of Guangdong.
Hong Kong has a comprehensive public transport system, utilising road, rail and also ferries for crossing the harbour. Driving is not advised; the traffic is abysmal and parking is extremely difficult.
Language: Chinese, English
Climate: Sub-tropical. Hot wet summers and warm dry winters. Temperature: Max 31°C (August), Min 14°C (January). Rainfall: Max 445mm (August), Min 25mm (January).
Currency: Hong Kong dollar (HKD)
Business etiquette: Dress smartly. Appointments should be made in advance and punctuality is important. Business cards should have a Chinese translation on the reverse. Entertaining is an important part of business dealings; remember however that a meal may be considered a gift and should be reciprocated.
Tipping: 10-15 percent service charge is standard. Round up to nearest dollar in taxis.
Duty free: 60 cigarettes or 15 cigars or 75g of tobacco; 1l of alcoholic liquor above 30 percent; Personal use of other items.
Safety: Little violent crime. Be aware of drink spiking and pickpockets. In Shenzhen attacks on and theft from tourists have increased in recent years.
Laws: Strict regulation on import of weapons or items resembling weapons; infringements could result in up to 14 years in prison or fine of $100,000.Unlawful protest can lead to arrest and jail.
Healthcare: Vaccination required for rabies, tetanus and typhoid. First class medical facilities and dentistry are available. Charges are made for all healthcare, so health insurance is strongly advised.
Socket type: Type G