Hong Kong is a fascinating melange of east and west that can be as intoxicating as it is bewildering. Even the city’s skyline pulls a punch few others can muster, with its awe-inspiring skyscrapers set against a large natural harbour and striking mountains. It’s a remarkable place and a vital business destination, particularly now that it’s part of China – although it remains relatively autonomous. Serena Dines, a Principal Account Manager at SilverDoor and Pedro Simes, a Client Account Manager, recently visited the city to meet property providers there and experience the city for themselves.
Serena explained that “Hong Kong is completely set up to accommodate a business traveller”: the city is safe and well organised, public transport is clean and efficient and English is spoken widely throughout the service and business industries. The city has longstanding cultural ties to the west, but it can still be confusing for first-time visitors. Read on to discover tips for anyone visiting Hong Kong on business, from people who have personally experienced it.
1. Pack lightweight clothing
It’s a hot, sticky place in the spring and summer. As Serena and Pedro discovered, this can be particularly difficult when you’re travelling from meeting to meeting in office attire. Business people in Hong Kong are expected to dress smartly, but try to pack lightweight clothing, such as linen, wherever possible. All the taxis are air-conditioned, so this is the best way to travel if you’re trying to keep cool.
2. Select accommodation in Kowloon for a more affordable stay
Hong Kong spreads over the Kowloon peninsula off mainland China and, to the south, Hong Kong Island. The central business district (‘Central’) is in Hong Kong Island, but Kowloon is a much cheaper place to stay, and a great option for travellers with a tighter budget. It’s not as far away as it might appear: thanks to the super-efficient MTR, it’s possible to travel from Kowloon to the main business areas in around 15 minutes.
3. Serviced accommodation is the top choice for ex-pats
Due to Hong Kong being so densely populated, most ex-pats live in apartment blocks. Price and demand are high, so it can be difficult to find somewhere suitable straight away. A serviced apartment provides a great base from which to hunt for something more permanent. They’re extremely popular there, with occupancy levels at around 85%.
The serviced apartments Hong Kong has to offer, Serena explained, are “almost a replica of what you find in London”. There are plenty of options for those on a lower budget as well as sleekly designed luxury apartments, many of which have beautiful views over the harbour.
4. Business etiquette
Business cards are essential. At the beginning of a meeting, most business people will bow slightly and offer their card, and expect you to do the same. Make sure you take time to read the card and take in all the information on it. Keep yours pristine, and never write on another person’s card.
Many people will also want to get to know you before they talk about business, so don’t be concerned if it seems to be taking a while to get the discussion started.
5. Take time to explore the city properly
In your free time, take the opportunity to experience this vibrant city for yourself. Hong Kong boasts some of the best shopping in the world, but for a breath of fresh air, take the Star Ferry between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. Alternatively, venture to the top of Victoria Peak, the mountain which towers over Hong Kong Island and is famously five degrees cooler than the rest of the city.
6. Don’t forget your luggage
Taxi drivers (quite understandably) rarely leave their air conditioned cars, so make sure they open the boot for you before they drive off. Poor Pedro had to chase his and Serena’s luggage for several blocks in the stifling heat.
Since Serena and Pedro’s return, we’ve added a number of new serviced apartment locations in Hong Kong, including the luxurious Citadines Ashley Apartments and the “amazingly designed” Waterfront Suites Apartments. We have a wide range of Hong Kong serviced apartments all across the city and suitable for a wide range of budgets.
Waterfront Suites Apartments
Waterfront Suites Apartments are bright, modern and open-plan with spectacular views of Hong Kong’s skyline. Feel like royalty in these sophisticated studio, one, two and three bedroom apartments and work with ease with an Apple TV, Bose speaker and iPad featured as standard in each room.
Just a five minute walk from the nearest subway station, these are ideally located for a busy business traveller with corporate commitments across the city. Furthermore, guests needn’t compromise their normal routine as the property features a gym, pool and gardens providing places to exercise, relax and meet friends or colleagues.
165 Kings Road Apartments
These studio, one and two-bedroom apartments are ideal for a corporate guest, with kitchen and laundry facilities as well as a TV, DVD player, docking station and Bluetooth speaker. Hong Kong is a busy, fast-paced city, not to mention its hot climate, so a neat, contemporary apartment with air-conditioning is a haven at the end of a busy day. 165 Kings Road Apartments offer just that: a cool, bright escape.