April 19, 2006
They're not making gweilos like they used to. The SCMP reports:
Warnings that Hong Kong is becoming less attractive to top foreign professionals have been underlined by figures indicating that the number of western expatriates working and living in the city plunged last year.Hemlock will be pleased. Chart with the details below the jump.
Of course this is actually a very serious problem for the Hong Kong government. Expats are not coming in the same numbers as they used to because of worries over air pollution and the exorbitant rise in income taxes from 15% to 17%. Aussies, Yanks and Poms are reluctant to come to a city where a half decent bottle of plonk costs more than vintages in the homeland and where petrol is the most expensive in the world. But there are two real concerns. Firstly, how can the high end luxury rental market survive with a dwindling number of company paid rental allowances? These renters are the cream of the crop for developers. Secondly, these expats tend to be income taxpayers...a rare thing in this city. The real losers are mainland tourists who come to Lan Kwai Fong of an evening to gawk at these expats in their natural habitat.
Luckily the government will soon announce a recruitment drive for the senior eschelons of the civil service as part of a rescue effort to save that dwindling and ever-rarer species: the gweilo.
posted by Simon on 04.19.06 at 09:14 AM in the Hong Kong people
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There are more Canadians than British--even back in '98?posted by: Shenzhen Whitey on 04.19.06 at 10:56 AM [permalink]
Measuring Canadians has always been slightly misleading because of the huge number of Hong Kong emigrants to Canada who came back.
But the truth has been that the British expatriates have always been a smaller number than Americans and Canadians for years. There were never actually that many of us.posted by: Phil on 04.19.06 at 01:22 PM [permalink]
Another source of the drain is MNCs relocating HQs to Shanghai and Beijing from HK and S'Pore. Hewitt is expecting the number of expats in the Mainland to double this year. Though while I was in S'pore I new at least two former HK residents who relocated to the Lion City to escape pollution.posted by: myrick on 04.19.06 at 02:34 PM [permalink]
Wimps. They can come up to Beijing for a few months, those soft-bellied HK expats (present company exluded, of course). Yeah, gas and hooch are cheap, but they'll learn a thing or two about air pollution, dust, shitty television, income tax, etc.
Of course, Beijing is the height of civilized luxury compared to some places people can get shipped off to (e.g. Part Harcourt), so I guess it's all relative.posted by: Will on 04.19.06 at 03:55 PM [permalink]
1. Aren't Canadians British anyway? They still have the queen on their money?!?! If they want to be completely independent...they should boot her off the paper in favor of Bobby Orr.
I really don't see foreigners not coming here because of the pollution (in comparison with other Asian cities) or gas prices (not many far off places to drive to and the public transportation is great). Besides if one person in the company doesn't want to come to HK, there certainly will be another one who will gladly go in his or her place. I do agree MNC's are sending their people to Shanghai and Beijing. But I also think that expats are simply too expensive, when the local population is just as well educated. However, what is individually optimal for each firm does in whole erode HK's 'international city' edge.
Its not the supply, its the demand.posted by: Shenzhen Whitey on 04.20.06 at 04:52 PM [permalink]
"Just as well educated?"
Has anyone ever seen any qualitative comparisons done between Hong Kong universities and their American, British, Japanese, or EU counterparts? I have no doubt HK has a superb primary and secondary education system, but I wonder if it is possible to say the same about their universities...posted by: David on 04.21.06 at 04:38 PM [permalink]
TO MAINTAIN IT'S TOURIST ECONOMY AND CONSOLIDATE OR EVEN EXPAND IT'S TOURISM MARKET , IT IS VITAL THAT HONG KONG DOES NOT PARTICULARLY CONCENTRATE ON BRINGING FOREIGN TOURISTS , NO MATTER HOW LUCRATIVE MAY THA BE , BUT , ALSO , CONCENTARTES UPON CREATING TOURIST ATTRACTIONS AND PROGRAMMES FOR LOCAL AND REGIONAL TOURISTS , WHO MAY PAY EQUALLY WELL.posted by: SAM on 05.02.06 at 03:17 PM [permalink]