If you used to be a frequent business traveler, you probably know that Hong Kong used to be and still is one of the world’s most prominent business hubs—a must-hit spot for all serious business owners and people looking to advance their careers. Due to the current Covid situation, most companies and entrepreneurs put a stop to business travel. However, this pandemic won’t last forever, so we better use these tips to prepare for the moment when we can travel for work again.
The Hong Kong Airport
When you arrive, you’ll realize that Hong Kong Airport is a huge place with shopping malls, movie theaters, restaurants, and other attractions for locals and international visitors. When you come to Hong Kong, you first need to get through customs. Most people enter as tourists and get a visa upon entry. But it’s important to know that you are not supposed to do business on this type of visa (even though the government wants you to open a business there). It’s best if you can get a proper employment visa for a more extended stay so you can work legally and pay taxes.
If you need a ride from the airport to your accommodation, it’s best to take the Airport Express. This transportation means costs 100HKD (around USD 13) and will take you to downtown Hong Kong. It also stops in Kowloon and Tsing Yi—these stops might be more convenient for you, so check with your hotel and ask for advice. You can pay for your ticket with a credit card if you buy it at the service counter.
Consider investing in an Octopus card if you’re staying in HK for longer than a few days. This type of service offers many benefits. You can use it for the bus system and the MTR (both are very reliable, clean and comfortable) but they are also accepted in restaurants and some stores.
You won’t struggle with finding accommodation in Hong Kong. The city has all types of lodging available, from budget motels to 5-star hotels for a more lux stay. If you’re staying for longer, your safest option is to book a studio rental in Hong Kong that offers all the privacy you need, mixed in with plenty of communal areas and social activities. You’re probably not going to cook too much (after all, Hong Kong is all about eating out), so a communal kitchen will be all you need for quick microwave meals and coffee. You will also get to enjoy housekeeping, so you don’t have to worry about chores when you get back from a full day of meetings.
Internet Access and Connectivity
Staying connected at all times is super important when it comes to business travel planning, so make sure to get a local SIM card with plenty of data. Depending on your provider at home, you might get pretty sweet international roaming deals, but you still might want to grab a local number for local business calls and emergencies. Carrying two phones is the most convenient option since you can have one phone with your home number and one with your HK number to avoid mixups with dual-SIM phones.
Cash and payments
Since you’re a business person, you know that money can solve most problems when you’re traveling, so as soon as you land, get some cash for taxis, restaurants, and bars (even though you can get away with using a credit card in most places). Before you start your HK business trip, check with your credit card company about the rules of foreign transactions. Some companies charge a fixed fee and pretty steep transaction fees for currency exchange. In contrast, others are pretty good for international travelers—check which one is yours to avoid expensive surprises.
Know the rules of business in HK
Relationships are a highly important in the business culture of Hong Kong, so it’s usually best to find an intermediary (preferably someone of high status) to introduce you to potential business contacts. It’s doubtful businesses will want to deal with you if you pop up without a recommendation. Also, make sure to print out a lot of business cards. They are always exchanged, so you’ll go through them quickly and receive and present them with both hands.
Hong Kong people are very proud of their punctuality, so do your best to always arrive on time for meetings. If you can’t help but be late, give everyone as much advance notice as you can. Traffic in the city can be horrendous, so give yourself plenty of time between meetings when planning your day. Arriving early is always better than being late in HK.
This list of tips will certainly jump-start your business trips when you arrive in Hong Kong and keep you prepared for all the accommodation, transportation, and cultural issues you might encounter. And don’t forget to be a tourist and find time to relax and enjoy the beauties of this metropolitan city.