Differences between the daily expenses in Hong Kong and UK

Moving to a new country is exciting and can be stressful. There are many questions, especially when you are trying to determine if moving to Hong Kong will offer you a better quality of life than the one you have in the United Kingdom. According to the surveys, Brits love HK and they can fit in really well. Moreover, there are more than 30 thousand living here. In this article, we will show you the differences between the daily expenses in Hong Kong and UK, and compare them so that you can decide for yourself if moving to Hong Kong will improve your life. As the best moving company Hong Kong has to offer, we have all the information that you will find more than useful, so feel free to contact us to learn more.

Relocating to Hong Kong: All there is to know

If you are relocating from the UK, you will have a long road ahead of you. But you need more in-depth information about what living in Hong Kong is like. After reading our article, you will have a much better idea, and you will be prepared for all the difficulties that might come your way. These are the most important things to consider when moving to HK:

  • differences between the daily expenses in Hong Kong and UK;
  • cost for education, rent, and taxes;
  • miscellaneous expenses.
Money in hand
Relocating from the UK to Hong Kong will make you think differently about your daily and monthly budget

Cost of living in Hong Kong vs the UK

It’s a common question that you will ask yourself. What’s the cost of living in Hong Kong, how much will I have to earn etc. However, there are many factors in play. You need to set your standards, ask yourself what kind of lifestyle you want, do you want to save money, and many more. In all honesty, if you were to compare living in Hong Kong with living in a large city like London, the costs would be roughly the same. So, relocating to Hong Kong would only bring you cultural and not monetary differences.

If you are however moving from a small town in the UK, that’s where all the differences will come to light. If the salary you will be earning in the UK is comparable to what you make in Hong Kong today, then your standard of living will be similar. But again, this will all depend largely on the lifestyle you want to lead, and the amount of money you have to support that lifestyle.

Differences between the daily expenses in Hong Kong and UK

The biggest challenge that you will have to overcome is getting accustomed to different daily expenses. This includes food costs, transportation, clothing, and some basic living expenses. Some would also include rent and housing in these expenses, but we will cover them separately.

Hong Kong has a 24% higher consumer price than the United Kingdom (without rent). Grocery prices are an astonishing 60% more expensive! The biggest difference is in some basic products. For example, milk costs 160% more than in the UK. The average monthly price for a standard family in the UK is around £180-200, and in Hong Kong, you will need to put aside around $9,000HKD.

For other expenses, local transport is actually cheaper in HK. If you want to take a cab ride, the prices are almost the same, but gasoline is more expensive in Hong Kong. Utilities and costs for internet and cell phone services are very similar. Clothing is just slightly higher, at around 10% more in HK.

2 boys on a market
You will find a lot of fresh groceries in HK, but the difference in the price may surprise you

Differences between the daily expenses in Hong Kong and UK: Rent

Even though Hong Kong has a lower tax rate, you’ll end up paying more for things like rent. Some people refer to rent as a “hidden tax” because the 4% or so that you save on taxes ends up just increasing your rent costs. If you are coming from a big city like London, then the high cost of rent will probably be familiar to you. As a general rule of thumb, if you’re here as a single person on your own, you can expect to pay about $4,500 HK per month (about £450) for rent in London (and this is the cheapest price we found).

If you are moving to Hong Kong from UK, however, a small, shared apartment on Hong Kong Island (Hong Kong’s London) goes for $5,000 HKD (roughly £500) with bills included. When people say apartments are small and rent is expensive, there is some truth to this. If you are moving here as a single person, you will likely pay more for rent than you did in London and you’re probably going to live in a much smaller space than you’re used to. This is magnified even more so when you bring a family.

research all the differences between the daily expenses in Hong Kong and UK
Moving to Hong Kong will take a lot of planning and research

Living in Hong Kong: Food edition

Hong Kong has a fantastic food scene, with Michelin-starred restaurants serving up some of the best in the world. You’ll never have a bad meal in this city. Even better, there are plenty of bars, too. All different kinds of them. You can find anything from cocktails to beer or even whiskey if you look hard enough. London has a good offering of food, but we feel Hong Kong does it better. With both upmarket and budget options available, Hong Kong is great for dining out.

Fun fact: Hong Kong has one of the cheapest McDonald’s in the world because it has to compete with local options! If you can’t live without British staples, don’t worry. Hong Kong has grown used to meeting the needs of tea-supping Brits. There are so many Marks & Spencer’s (awesome names, we know!) that you shouldn’t have a problem servicing your most basic of tea needs! There are also supermarkets like Taste and Great that are well stocked with international foods.

How much will you spend on education and schools?

Families in the UK generally have a very relaxed attitude toward education, while in Hong Kong, academic achievement is very highly valued and sought after. If you’re not one of the people who has the same educational standards, you can save yourself some money by not packing your child’s schedule with class after class. One thing to consider is the cost of these loans in Hong Kong. If you’re trying to get your child into an international school, for example, a high-end debenture may cost thousands of Hong Kong dollars.

This can be a major expense for parents—and if your company isn’t paying for it, then you’re going to have to pay in cash yourself. It can cost anywhere from $5,000 (£500) to $15,000 HKD (£1500) per month to send a child to nursery school in Hong Kong. If you’re trying to save money and send your children to a local school, it will be much cheaper.

boys on a basketball field
Differences between the daily expenses in Hong Kong and UK will also be impacted by the costs of education

Tax, entertainment, and other miscellaneous costs

Hong Kong is known for its high taxes, but they’re not as bad as in other places. The salary tax rate in Hong Kong is 15% (but could be lower based on your assessment) as opposed to 20% in the UK. That’s quite a difference and one of the reasons why some Brits choose to move out to Hong Kong. Lower income tax rates make it easier for ex-pats to save money, which some people do. Coming to Hong Kong for a few years and making more money with a lower tax rate is a nice way to put down a deposit for a house in the UK or save for retirement.

The UK and especially London offer a lot of entertainment throughout the year. However, Hong Kong is no different. But let’s compare the difference in the price, for example, movie tickets cost around £7, while in HK they cost anywhere from $50 to $80 HKD (around £6). In HK, you can enjoy horse races for $300 HKD and amusement parks for around $500 HKD.

If you’re worried about your health at this point, don’t be. Hong Kong has a well-developed public health care system. It’s a bit slower than the National Health Service and not always as convenient. Private health care is also an option for ex-pats who can afford it. Your company may even offer some type of health insurance program! If not, health insurance costs around $2,000 and $25,000 HKD.

All the other expenses that you can expect

If you are relocating to Hong Kong for work and thinking about how to plan a corporate move on short notice, you should also consider taking a language course. Cantonese won’t be easy for English speakers, but it’s a fun new challenge that will help you with your work and day-to-day life. Expect to pay around $12,000 HKD a month, or around $600 HKD if you want to be in a group. Learning Cantonese will be a great advantage, so don’t miss it out.

Skyview of Hong Kong
Hong Kong is beautiful with a lot of opportunities for Brits and other ex-pats

If you however want to save money, these courses are much cheaper in the UK. You can expect to pay around £250 for a 10-week course ( around $2,380 HKD). Additionally, you can take online courses. Our best advice is to talk as much as possible with your new neighbors and take in as much as possible. Plus, if you are monolingual, you don’t have to worry about English fluency in Hong Kong since it is one of the city’s official languages!

Another expense is a bit specific. We are talking about our guide to moving internationally with a baby on the way and all the costs that you will have once the baby arrives. Luckily, Hong Kong is a baby-friendly place, with numerous stores with baby equipment. And by the looks of it, the prices are almost the same as in the UK.

What are the salaries in Hong Kong, and what’s it like working here?

You might find that the fast pace at which you operate on a daily basis will also be evident in your work life. Even if you work at a multinational company, you will interface and interact with both local workers. They are accustomed to moving at a fast pace and might expect you to keep up with them. Do not get accustomed to going home on time. It is not uncommon to work until midnight in Hong Kong.

A work-life balance is valued more in the UK, but it is also possible in Hong Kong. It requires a little more effort. One big plus that many British ex-pats have mentioned as one of the reasons to come to Hong Kong is career progression. Career progression and job opportunities is one of the major reasons why British ex-pats come to Hong Kong. Employees earn an average of £14,000 per month (roughly $150,00HKD). Doesn’t that sound great?

Man pulling money from a wallet
No matter all the differences in the expenses, you will love living in Hong Kong

Our final conclusion: Is moving to Hong Kong worth it?

Hong Kong is a city that adapts to its citizens. If you want to live like a native here, then you can do so easily. We guarantee that you will find a circle of friends who have a similar story to your own. If you want to make Hong Kong your home, there’s a lot that you can do to help it feel like home. You can learn Cantonese, enjoy the local culture and give back to the community.

We can’t guarantee that your life here will be better than it was in the UK, but we can promise you this – It will be different, and being different isn’t always a bad thing. The differences between the daily expenses in Hong Kong and UK will feel like nothing compared to the new experiences you will have in your new environment.

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