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Country ProfileProfessional Resources  |  Job Search Resources  |   Financial Considerations  |  Employment Trends
Resume/CV's  |  Information Technology  |  Interviewing Advice |  Engineering  |  Work Permits |   Accounting & Finance  |  
Cultural Advice  |   Sales & Marketing  |   General Business

Country Profile
On July 1, 1997, after more than a century of British rule, Hong Kong
reverted to China, becoming a Special Administrative Region of the
People's Republic of China. Under the 1984 Sino-British Joint
Declaration and the Basic Law, Hong Kong is guaranteed a high
degree of autonomy, with the exceptions of foreign and defense
affairs. Hong Kong, under this law, will maintain its capitalist system
for 50 years.

Strategically located in the fast-growing Asia-Pacific region, Hong
Kong is considered the gateway to business opportunities in the PRC.
With a total population of more than seven million people and land
area of only 1,095 square kilometers, Hong Kong is one of the most
densely populated places in the world. There are two official
languages in Hong Kong, English and Cantonese, both of which are
used with equal status in many types of communications. Cantonese
is spoken by most of the Chinese population, and English is widely
used in commercial and financial circles.

Hong Kong is a sophisticated banking and financial center with a
free-trade economy and excellent infrastructure. The government
intervenes very little in Hong Kong's economy, and it is highly
dependent on international trade. Its major investment and trade
ties, of course, are with China.

Professional Resources
Many foreign chambers of commerce have offices in Hong Kong. The
American Chamber is the largest of these, and promotes and fosters
commerce and trade in the Asia-Pacific region. AMCHAM's website
contains links to a variety of business organizations and publications.
Expatriates from every nation can find useful information at this

Foreigners seeking work in Hong Kong will want to become well
acquainted with the major telephone directories serving the country,
such as Job seekers will also find it helpful to check out
Hong Kong's major trade publications. Far Eastern Economic Review
is a weekly publication covering financial and economic information as
well as general news. Asia Week is a magazine with articles on a wide
variety of business issues in the Asia Pacific region.

Other resources that could be very helpful to the foreigner who
wants to learn about the Hong Kong business scene include the
websites Doing Business in Hong Kong and Hong Kong Business
Encyclopedia. A few of the networking resources available to
expatriates in Hong Kong are the American Club, the Foreign
Correspondents Club, and the Hong Kong Management Association,
which has liasons with other business clubs in the city.

Under Hong Kong's Trade Union Ordinance, all trade unions must be
registered. At the end of 1999 there were 626 unions: 583
employees' unions, 25 employers' associations, and 18 other
organizations. There are five major labor organizations, including the
Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, with 200,000 members from
several industries, and the similarly named Hong Kong Confederation
of Trade Unions, an affiliation of 53 unions with a combined
membership of 150,000.

Job Search Resources
The most effective way to find a job in Hong Kong is by using online
resources, local newspaper classifieds, and trade magazines. For job
seekers located far from Hong Kong, Internet resources are by far
the easiest to use, but printed media such as newspapers and trade
publications are the traditional starting point. In Hong Kong, the
Thursday and Saturday editions of newspapers often have expanded
classified sections.

There are many online job sites in Hong Kong.,
part of the well-known company; is one of Hong
Kong's most comprehensive and useful job-search websites. It
specializes in high-tech positions but also lists jobs in general fields
such as accounting and customer service. Among other special
features, it offers interview simulations and help with cover letters
and resumes.

Staffing agencies and recruiting firms can also help the foreigner find
a job in Hong Kong. One of the leading recruitment companies is
Gemini Personnel Group, which handles both temporary and
permanent staffing. Ta Kung Pao is the oldest existing Chinese
newspaper in the world and is highly recommended by the United
Nations. It publishes job advertisements, as well as a series of

Financial Considerations
The cost of living in Hong Kong is pretty high. For instance, a basket
of goods that cost $100 in the U.S. would cost $143 in Hong Kong. A
one-bedroom apartment can run as high as $1,925 U.S. a month.
Unlike in many U.S. cities, though, you don't need a car to live in
Hong Kong; public transportation is efficient and accessible.

Salaries can vary quite a bit. Just in the IT field, they can range from
$1,025 to $3,850 U.S. a month; managers and department heads can
expect $6,400-$10,250 U.S. monthly. Expatriates working for large
corporations usually receive a host of extra benefits, including
housing, car, and furniture allowances.

Public health facilities in Hong Kong are generally good, offering
comprehensive medical and specialist care. Larger companies usually
offer their employees subsidized or free medical care.

After being employed continuously for twelve months, an employee is
entitled to vacation leave, usually ranging from seven to fourteen
days per year. Senior staff and executives generally get four to six
weeks off each year. The normal work week in Hong Kong is 44 to 48
hours and six days long.

Employment Trends
According to a government study, 43,360 jobs will be created in
Hong Kong between 1999 and 2005. Finance, insurance, real estate,
and business services will grow the fastest, increasing manpower by
an average annual rate of 5.6 percent. Other industries experiencing
high growth rates include transport, storage, communications,
community services, wholesale, retail, import/export, and restaurants
and hotels. Knowledge-based industries, such as computer
equipment, telecommunications, and Internet services, will also see a
rapid rate of growth.

In near future, there will be a shift in demand in favor of high-skill,
well educated, more experienced workers. On average, demand for
managers, administrators, and professionals will grow at an average
rate of 5.6 percent. The total number of IT personnel is expected to
almost double.

The major languages in Hong Kong are Cantonese, Mandarin Chinese
(the official language of the PRC), and English. Most business people
are multilingual; if you do not know Chinese, your resume may be
English. The contents are quite similar to resumes in European

Personal information is listed at the top of the first page. This
includes name, address, and all contact information, including cell
phone and e-mail. Other personal details, such as age, marital
status, etc., may not legally be requested, but are often included in
the resume.

List details of your education, in chronological order, with emphasis
on your college and university studies. Add sections on
extracurricular activities, special training, professional memberships,
and honors or awards.

Under "Experience," list the positions you have held, in chronological
order, with an emphasis on responsibilities similar to those required in
the job you are seeking. Cite your achievements with supporting
data. Also list special skills, such as foreign language fluency and
knowledge of computer languages and applications. Letters of
reference do not have to be included, but are brought to the

If the employer gives an e-mail address in the advertisement, feel
free to reply in a commonly used word-processing program.

Information Technology
Like many countries, Hong Kong is experiencing a shortage of
information technology specialists. Those who can design, develop,
implement, support, or manage computer-based information systems
are needed in every sector in Hong Kong. Jobs in this field include
networking, operations and support, systems development, and

For most IT jobs, you'll need a degree or diploma in computer studies.
Software certification and experience with networking,
microcomputers, and operating systems can also be helpful.

The Hong Kong Association for Computer Education, founded in 1981
with 250 current members, promotes increased computer literacy and
seeks to advance teaching and learning through information
technology. Foreigners seeking IT jobs should be sure to check out
the many other tech-related professional associations in Hong Kong.
A good way to keep up with the latest trends is to read regional IT
publications, such as IT Asia.

Interviewing Advice
Before the interview, make your usual preparations.

Study the company and its competition.
Identify your strong and weak points.
Prepare possible questions, and compose your responses.
Have your business cards printed with Chinese on one side and
English on the other.
Learn the name of the interviewer and its correct pronunciation.

Be sure to be punctual for the meeting. Be courteous and respectful
to all, including secretaries and other staff members, and especially
to older people. During the introductions, shake hands firmly; give
and receive business cards with both hands. If you are acquainted
with anyone connected with the company, mention it. Business in
Hong Kong depends greatly on networking.

During the meeting, be relaxed, but maintain good posture and be
alert. Answer questions frankly and honestly, and do not hesitate to
ask for clarification of a statement or question if you do not
understand. Be ready to give examples of your handling of different
situations, but careful not to boast or appear too aggressive. Take
the opportunity to ask about the internal operations, lines of
authority, colleagues, and responsibilities. Express interest, and show
enthusiasm about the position.

Engineers serve as a crucial link between science and commerce in
Hong Kong, and there are many employment opportunities for
engineers. Engineering in Hong Kong is a diversified discipline that
can be classified into more than 25 specialties, such as aerospace
engineering and plastics engineering.

For most engineering jobs, you'll need a degree in engineering and
work experience. Managerial or supervisory experience, computer and
technical knowledge, project coordination skills, and language ability
may also be required, depending on the position.

Hong Kong has several trade and professional organizations for
engineers. The Institute of Industrial Engineers, for instance,
promotes advancement of the art and science of industrial
engineering and encourages the continuing professional development
of its members. The Hong Kong Institution of Engineers (HKIE) was
founded in 1947 with the goal of bringing together engineers of
different disciplines; today, membership in the HKIE is the primary
qualification for employment as a professional engineer in Hong Kong.

Work Permits
It's getting more and more difficult for foreigners to obtain a Hong
Kong work permit. They must have a special skill to have a good
chance of finding work in Hong Kong. There are three approaches to
getting a work permit.

If a candidate secures a position with a Hong Kong company before
arrival, the company will sponsor the applicant for a work permit. The
company must prove that it cannot find a qualified candidate for the
position within Hong Kong.

Foreigners may also try arriving in Hong Kong on a visitor's visa and
finding work once in the country. This method is difficult and not
advisable, but not impossible, either.

Most expatriate workers in Hong Kong got there by being transferred
there by their employers. This is still the easiest way to get a Hong
Kong work permit.

Work permits are valid for two years and must be renewed every two
years thereafter. For up-to-date information about work permit rules
and regulations, contact the Chinese diplomatic mission in your

Accounting & Finance
Accountants in Hong Kong are not just bean counters, they're bean
"growers," also. They're service providers and strategic partners who
offer a high level of strategic financial analysis and support.

The potential job opportunities in corporate accounting are quite
broad and non-standardized, compared with public accounting. They
include financial management, financial reporting, internal auditing,
management accounting, and tax planning.

Public accounting firms usually seek auditors with accounting
degrees, but they also welcome graduates in other disciplines.
Accountants must have good insight and judgment, integrity and
ethics, commitment and stability, project management skills,
innovative thinking, and skills at presenting, speaking, and business

One of the professional organizations for workers in Hong Kong's
financial fields is the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.
It represents the interests of its 9,000 members and promotes and
facilitates communication and cooperation among them. There are
several finance-related publications in Hong Kong; one specifically for
foreign investors is Asian Finance.

Cultural Advice
While Hong Kong and Cantonese were the primary languages in Hong
Kong for most of the last century, English has lost its status under
Hong Kong's new administration and Cantonese is now the official
language. Although business and government still use both
languages, English fluency varies and it's wise for anyone wishing to
do business in Hong Kong to learn at least a little Cantonese.

Even though its history is tied to that of the West, Eastern tradition
and culture are still a big part of the business world. Confucianism is
an important part of Chinese culture, and its emphasis on
relationships and family importance is persistent in both business and
social situations in Hong Kong.

When it comes to appearance, Hong Kong businesspeople are quite
extravagant. Well-made clothes are a must in the business world.
Formal dark suits are the uniform of choice for both women and men.

New acquaintances in Hong Kong business usually greet each other
formally, with a handshake and a slight bow or nod. After the
handshake, they customarily distribute business cards. If you're
doing business in Hong Kong, your card should be printed in English
on one side and Chinese on the other.

Sales & Marketing
Sales and marketing careers are pretty popular in Hong Kong, mostly
because of their highly visible nature and the job satisfaction they
provide. There's no particular required academic background for sales
and marketing jobs, but some employers prefer candidates with
degrees in marketing, business, psychology, or communication.
Technical skills that may be required include qualitative and
quantitative research, new product development, and marketing

The Hong Kong Trade Development Council promotes Hong Kong
trade internationally. The organization produces many publications
that could be helpful to foreigners seeking jobs in Hong Kong's sales
and marketing fields, including Hong Kong Enterprise, Hong Kong for
the Business Visitor, Hong Kong Household, and many more.

Besides the periodicals published by the Trade Development Council,
there are other publications read by sales and marketing workers in
Hong Kong, including Adweek Asia, a semiweekly publication covering
advertising, marketing, and media in Asia.

General Business
Management jobs are popular in Hong Kong, and businesses need
managers at all levels. Managers are responsible for planning, leading,
organizing, and controlling. The education background of managers
varies as much as the nature of their responsibilities, but most of
them have a college degree. For managerial jobs that require a
general aptitude and management skills rather than technical
knowledge, employers welcome graduates of many fields.

The Hong Kong Management Association, founded in 1960 with 500
current members, is an organization for business managers and
administrators. It promotes efficient and successful business
management and conducts education and training courses.

There are several Hong Kong publications of interest to the manager
or businessperson, including Asian Business, a monthly magazine
published in English.

This is only a small part what's available in the 75+ information packed pages of the Going Global Career Guide for Hong Kong:

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Country Career Guides Table of Contents


1.Online Job Sites
2.Government-Sponsored Employment Offices
3.Job Fairs/Career Events
4.Staffing Agencies/Temporary Help Firms
5.Newspapers that Publish Job Advertisements
6.Other Resources


General Trends
Information Technology

1. Certification/Education Requirements
2. Organizations/Trade Associations
3. Publications
4. Other Resources
1. Certification/Education Requirements
2. Organizations/Trade Associations
3. Publications
4. Other Resources
Accounting and Finance
1. Certification/Education Requirements
2. Organizations/Trade Associations
3. Publications
4. Other Resources
Sales and Marketing
1. Certification/Education Requirements
2. Organizations/Trade Associations
3. Publications
4. Other Resources
General Business
1. Certification/Education Requirements
2. Organizations/Trade Associations
3. Publications
4. Other Resources

1.Business Organizations/Trade Councils
2.Chambers of Commerce
3.Telephone Directories
5.Other Resources

VI. FINANCIAL CONSIDERATIONS ( Cost of living, salaries, health insurance, taxes, vacation/leave, benefits, etc)


1.Cover Letter Guidelines and Sample
2.Resume/CV Guidelines and Samples