Asia Minute: Hong Kong Blues

Apr 1, 2019

Hong Kong at night
Credit Base64, retouched by CarolSpears / CC BY-SA 3.0 / Wikimedia Commons

These are challenging times for the city of Hong Kong. A recent survey found residents the least optimistic about the future in 25 years. And that’s not all.

Hong Kong is popping up on a lot of lists of international cities these days, and not in a good way.

A couple of weeks ago, Hong Kong was listed as tied for the most expensive city in the world for expatriates to live in – along with Singapore and Paris. The Economist Intelligence Unit considers the cost of more than 150 items in 133 cities.

Earlier this year, Hong Kong slid way down a different list of most livable cities for Asian expatriates, and that ranking did not even include the cost of living as a factor.

The human resources consultant ECA International blamed high levels of pollution as the main reason — along with vulnerability to public health crises and the government’s response to a powerful typhoon last year.

All told, Hong Kong fell from number 29 to number 41 in the index. That’s its lowest rank in ten years, and 40 places below its traditional regional rival Singapore.

And then there’s tourism.

The numbers have shot up in recent years for Hong Kong, and that’s not making everyone happy. Last year, more than 65 million visitors came to Hong Kong — 51 million from China.

A recent column in the South China Morning Post said “we have a new candidate for the Asian city most under siege from mass tourism, and it is our fair territory.”