Cars in HK - better to buy in US and import?

I might be moving from the US to HK early next year. I noticed the disparity in car prices between the two countries and was wondering whether there are any smart ways around it. For example, could I buy a car here and then import it to HK etc.?

Any advice appreciated.

maybe, but . . . .

Interesting question.

I don't know the definitive answer about import duties, but I'd guess they're not going to be low -- any readers have any knowledge in this area?

Also, of course, you'd end up with a car designed for the wrong side of the road, which would be a serious handicap here. If you're accustomed to driving in NYC, you likely won't find HK traffic all that much worse, but I would never want to deal with the lack of visibility you'd suffer from having being on the wrong side of the car.

I'd suggest just buying a second-hand car once you're here. They're often disproportionately cheap compared to new cars here, especially if you can buy one from another expat who's leaving, and who needs to liquidate assets rapidly.

Mr T

Importing Cars from the US

It is true that by importing a car from the US you would end up having a car designed for the opposite side of the road. However, by driving backwards this would alleviate this problem not too metion being able to avoid read end collisions.


Re:Cars in HK - better to buy in US and import?

Last I heard the HK Govt imposes a huge (circa 100%) import duty on new cars as a way of keeping congestion down. That's why prices are so high here. You'd need to check what duty you'd need to pay on top of shipping costs to make an informed choice.


Buying a used car is cheaper. My husband and I have had the same Camry (bought used for about 35K 4 years ago).

Parking is very expensive. In Sai Kung 8 years ago my husband and I payed about 1K per month for parking. Buying a car park may end up almost expensive as a small house in some parts of North America.

So, unless you live in a remote location, or have not too expensive parking near your flat, or have it thrown in w/ your rent, it may not be worth it to keep a car in HK.

We end up using our car mainly to go shopping on weekends or to visit relatives who live far away. In fact, we go through car batteries rather faster than we'd like because we don't use the car much.

Used cars

There is no import duty, as such, on cars in Hong Kong, but there is what is called a "first registration tax", that is to say you can bring in a car duty free, but if you want to use it in Hong Kong you have to register and license it, and then you get hit for a substantial tax. Generally when you buy a car in Hong Kong it has already been registered, so the price includes this tax, but if you bring one in from overseas, you have to pay this tax, which is substantial, before you can use it.

You can get more information on the current rates of first registration tax from the Transport Department website (

It sometimes pays to bring a car when you come, but that depends on the cost of cars where you come from, how far you have to send them, and whether you have to pay the freight charges or whether someone else (e.g. your company) is picking up the bill.

However, I agree completely with the last poster that running a car in Hong Kong is more hassle than it is worth. Hong Kong is exceptionally well served with public transport, which is cheap and efficient though crowded,
and there are plenty of taxis including radio taxis which are not exorbitant by world standards. Contrast that with car licensing and parking fees, etc. which are at ridiculous levels, and it's usually better economically to leave the car at home.

Also, few housing developments have adequate parking facilities (except for the most up-market ones, which are usually overpriced) and neither do most offices, shopping complexes, etc.

(Funnily, one of Hong Kong's biggest supermarket chains is called "Park 'n Shop" even though hardly any of their several hundred stores has a single parking space)

So, while getting from A to B in Hong Kong by car is quite easy (except at rush hours), finding somewhere to park the car when you get there can be difficult and can waste you a lot of time, so unless you are rich enough to afford a driver, better to use buses, trains or taxis.