Hong Kong’s 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, its awe-inspiring skyscrapers set against its large natural harbour and 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”: it’s 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. Here are our tips for anyone visiting Hong Kong on business:
– 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 wear. 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.
– 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.
– 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 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.
– Because Hong Kong’s so densely populated, most ex-pats live in apartment blocks. Prices 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.
– 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 which is five degrees cooler than the rest of the city.
– 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.