Working & Living in Hong Kong & China


I have a third interview lined up for a international company with offices in Kowloon and manufacturing in Dongguan (they are owned by Li & Fung). They are flying me over for a week for the third interview and also to check whether i could see myself living there. My recruitement consultant has mentioned that they want the potential candidate to live in or near Dongguan rather than HK as alot of my time would be spent there and also because its cheaper to live!
Even though i have never been to either, HK seems more attractive for many reasons but i wont know if living there is possible until i fly out for talks next month. I currently work in a branch of design which does not really exist in the east but is very big in the UK, hence why they want UK people. VISA and relocation is taken care of by the company.

What i would like to know is:

1. As the company is headquartered in Kowloon, could i live in HK and travel to dongguan when needed on a working VISA?

2. Would i have a reasonable standard of life in HK on $36k HKD per month. Im single and dont need much space.

3. If i were to live in the mainland China, is it normal to get the exact equivalent (or more) of what you earn in the UK? because as i understand it, China is relatively cheap. I dont want to earn "good" Chinese wages, because when you covert it back to GBP, its not worth anything. For example, i hear that £150k RMB per year is pretty good in China. Thats only worth £12k in the UK!...currently i earn £30k per year.

4. Also, if you live in mainland China, can you visit Hong Kong as much as you like?

Mant thanks in advance!

Working & Living in Hong Kong & China

Some suggestions:

1. There is a continuous traffic of people between HK & Dongguan, so it's not a very difficult journey to make. Does anyone here make the journey regularly for work, and can tell us how long it takes?

You'd need an HK Visa to live & work here, but that won't cover your entry to China. Usually you'd be able to get a multiple-entry visa to China, which would last you 6-months - 3-years. Then you'd use that each time you went to Dongguan. Except China stopped issuing them before the Olympics. Everyone is waiting for them to start again, but I don't know if it has yet. If you have to apply for the current double-entry visas, you're going to be eating up passports at a fair rate (one visa takes up one page).

2. I think your standard of life would be ok if you're used to GBP30K in the UK. Check out the 3-part cost-of-living section for a better idea.

Note that if you're planning to live in HK and visit China weekly, you'll want to think about who will pay for transport and accomodation in China, and how that will affect your budget.

Also check with your consultant what the effects on tax are if you live in HK & visit Dongguan, or vice-versa.

#3 & 4 - not sure. I see there are a couple of expat-oriented sites for Dongguan [1, 2], so they might be more helpful.

Good luck, MrB

updated F Visa info

these details were changed on the 19th Sep. May have some relevance if you decide to stay in HK?

F Visa

If you intend to live in HK, probably better to live around Hung Hom as this is where the cross border train leaves from.

Here is a the cross-border train timetable

As you can see the earliest departure is 07:28 which gets you into Dongguan at 08:33. Of the 12 cross border trains only 10 call at DG on route to GZ.

My next door neighbour is originally from Dongguan and her husband works there several times a week. I can't vouch for the place personally as I have never been but she doesn't paint the best of pictures.