The post-covid pull of locals and expats wanting to return to Hong Kong

by Chris Tang in Blog

DatePosted on October 16, 2023 at 09:30 AM
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October 2023

Chris Tang summarises a recent phenomenon in 2023 of leavers wanting to return to the SAR.

I’ve had discussions with almost a dozen candidates in the last couple of weeks who used to live and work in Hong Kong and are now looking to come back. Some are expats, some are native Hong Kongers.

The reasons for wanting to move back to Hong Kong are quite varied with a mix of ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors (more pulls, notably) but include:

Push: They don’t like driving (where they are) and you need to drive to get to anywhere.  
Pull: The low taxes in Hong Kong!
Pull: They miss Hong Kong, their friends, the hiking, the beaches (most people outside Hong Kong don’t know that)
Push: They don’t like snow/cold climate, and they get lots of it!
Push: Too boring where they are - too sterile (Singapore), a lot of issues like Brexit, the economy, (UK)
Pull: the sheer convenience of everything, particularly public transport in Hong Kong.
Pull: a lot of unfinished business and many strong business relationships built here over time.
Push: FOMO, what if (they stayed), regret making the decision to leave Hong Kong.
Pull: the food; the dim sum, pineapple buns with butter, and HK milk tea galore!
Pull: the vibrancy and energy of the place

Of course, there are a lot of people who’ve moved elsewhere over the last few years and feel they’ve made the right decision, and good for them. My IT guy is absolutely loving it in England, and he gets to work for a company doing what he loves most, coding and from the comfort of his own home. To each their own.

But it’s also quite telling that Hong Kong still retains a magical quality that draws people (back) in.

I’ll be honest, Hong Kong is flagging right now and it has been all year. But where in the world is the economy not flagging?

Despite what you read in the press, Hong Kong isn’t dying; it’s quietly preparing for the next bull run, and there’s hope, some might say underlying belief, that the city will get its mojo back again soon.

I mean, how can you not be impressed with a cityscape like this?

This view never fails to take my breath away. I feel like half the time I’m walking around in one of those HD worlds you see on giant TV screens in electrical stores. All I need now is a bit of jazz or classical music in my earphones and no HDTV can beat the real thing.


Originally posted on LinkedIn, click here and join the discussion!

About the Author

Chris Tang

Chris is a co-Managing Director of Star Anise and a former practising corporate lawyer. He is a regular post contributor on LinkedIn and you can connect with him here:

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