Hong Kong is a special administrative district in China, although many traditionally regard it as a city. This is not entirely true, because in addition to the eponymous main island, there are even more than two hundred smaller islands and a peninsula. The very word Hong Kong is literally translated as “a fragrant harbor”.
Once here they traded incenses and fragrant varieties of wood. The local port is one of the deepest natural in the world. Most of the urban development is located on the Kowloon Peninsula and on the northern part of the island of Hong Kong. In total, more than 7 million people live in this region.
Hong Kong is one of the world’s business centers, there are simple taxes and ease of doing business. True, for us, Hong Kong – one big shining trade showcase, hiding many secrets. We judge him on the basis of certain myths, which the article is devoted to debunking.
Hong Kong is part of China.
Only in 1997 this former British colony passed to China, and as an independent territory. The basis for the transfer of these lands was developed by Great Britain and China together for 12 years. So in 1990 appeared the “Basic Law”. It seems that Hong Kong is formally and became finally Chinese, but the facts speak of another. There is a border with China, when entering from the mainland, you will have to go through two borders and get a visa. Legislation in Hong Kong has its own, the British justice system works here, unlike the Chinese one. The government, although it is formed in coordination with China, is still its own. Hong Kong has its own currency, which is quite tightly tied to the US. The amount of cash is agreed by the Monetization Board, and three banks are engaged in its issue. Hong Kong has the right to its own representation in international organizations, but rarely when it uses it. But at the Olympics the team of this region regularly participates, having won for its entire history one medal of each dignity. In Hong Kong, the embassies of 170 countries are open. Even local Chinese prefer to call themselves hongkongers, they are also outwardly different from their peers from the mainland. There is also your own language. It comes from South China, but it is quite different from the national version.
In Hong Kong, low prices.
This myth relates to the previous one. It seems that if everything is cheap in China, then the same situation should be in Hong Kong. However, if we talk about the most famous brands in the world: Rolex, Prada, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, then the price tags here may be even higher than in Europe. And “global” and the proximity of mainland China are “to blame” for this. Because of the first factor, prices are determined not by sellers, but by brands themselves for each specific region. And although there is no value-added tax and customs duties in Hong Kong, the prices for elite brands are quite high. Another reason is the large number of buyers from China. They are attracted by the lack of fakes, low prices relative to the mainland, geographical proximity and ease of obtaining a visa. That’s why it’s more profitable to keep prices in Hong Kong than in Europe. Infinite flow of buyers from China is ok. Hong Kong is rightly considered one of the most expensive cities in the world. There is a high cost of real estate and it is constantly growing in price. This also affects the price of hotel rooms. And the region’s lack of customs really makes many things attractive for purchase. Especially distinguished in this regard is the electronics of the best brands, especially the most expensive models. In comparison with Russia, the price for top electronics can be 40-70% lower. In Hong Kong know the value of things and cheap fakes do not exchange, preferring to form a good price for quality items.
There are a lot of fakes in Hong Kong.
There is no special street where they sell only copies of the famous original brands. There are no shops, half-tile cellars and places where you can buy a kilo of things for a hundred dollars. Virtually all copies and counterfeits are sold on the main street of the Kowloon Peninsula – Nathan Road.Indians or Pakistanis vying with each other will offer to watch very cheap copies of watches and bags. And in the “secret room” will show a bunch of Chinese junk at fairly high prices. On the “Women’s Market” and the “Night Market”, you can also find counterfeits, but their quality does not match the asking price. Strangely enough, but in Hong Kong it’s easier to find the original than its counterfeiting. For us, it seems inconceivable that small shops sell original products of elite watch brands. In our view, it should be sold in luxury boutiques. But in the economy of Hong Kong, there is freedom of doing business and high legality. For trying to sell fakes, especially in tourist areas, here you can lose not only the enterprise, but even freedom. Sellers can even be offended when they are asked to sell cheap Chinese goods. So for high-quality copies should go obviously not to Hong Kong.
In Hong Kong, all triads are ruled.
Tourists, who are afraid to get into the criminal city, are very surprised to see large diamonds on the windows. In stores, there is not even a guard. The fact is that crime is practically absent in the city. The main income Hong Kong receives from the financial sector, trade in the second place, ahead of tourism. Local residents will prefer to start their own business, rather than violate the law. Any business here is easy to start, and the rules are transparent, even if it is a question of trading in alcohol or jewelry. For a year here on 7 million inhabitants there are only 1100 pocket thefts, about the same number of apartment thefts, 12-13 murders (mostly household). Crimes related to the activities of triads in the city for a year happens around 2000. Local cells of organized crime are almost all connected with China or Taiwan. There are drugs and wars between clans, but ordinary citizens, and even more tourists, do not see this. And the police act quickly and efficiently. The myth of a high level of crime appeared thanks to the movie. Rather, it is a warning, not a real situation. Today, Hong Kong is one of the safest cities in the world. The police here are extremely sympathetic to tourists.
Hong Kong – a solid stone jungle.
Most tourists are confident that the city is a fantastic cluster of skyscrapers. If you walk through the central streets of the island of Hong Kong, then this belief will only grow stronger. And although the city is really being built, and every piece of land is valued, the main part of the district is occupied by national parks. There are even in the central part of the island of Hong Kong. If the state did not think about its future, it would long ago have given these lands for the construction of shopping centers and skyscrapers. The inhabitants of Hong Kong made a titanic effort to artificially green the hills near the peak of Victoria and the southern part of the main island. Rising up the cable car, you can see that Hong Kong is mostly green, and not all in the stone jungle. There are many parks and gardens available for recreation all day. The attitude of the townspeople to the greenery is so thorough that almost all the trees here are numbered, they can not be cut without special reasons. Trees older than 50 years old are not allowed to touch at all. On the Kowloon peninsula, there are even skyscrapers built to keep the nearest trees.
In Hong Kong, they drink either elite wines, or cheap ones.
There is a myth that in Hong Kong there is almost no middle-class wine. Experts say that 62% of all wine business is given to this segment, so the share is rather high. 6 out of 10 bottles are sold at a price of 13-19 dollars. Wine is quite popular here, about regular consumption of the drink stated 73% of the local residents. The wine market is wider than it is commonly believed.
The development of business in Hong Kong has stalled.
Multimillionaire John Slosar, the head of Swire’s board of directors, recently made a statement about a decrease in business activity in Hong Kong. In fact, this is not so. More than 1.25 million companies work here.Closed only a handful, more companies are born than die.
Protests in Hong Kong are illegal.
This official statement about the events of 2014 was made by the Chinese authorities. But in a free society with a growing economy, non-violent protests are a protected form of criticism of the authorities. Only in authoritarian states with depressed freedom of speech against peaceful demonstrators prosecute criminal cases.
The society in Hong Kong is highly polarized.
Some sociologists call the polarization of society one of the reasons for the protests. In fact, the most free and successful societies in the world are built on the basis of regular swings of two major parties or groups of opinions. Attention to the point of view of the opposition, as well as to the ruling party, is the foundation of the future prosperity of society.
In Hong Kong, all citizens are successful and wealthy.
A careful study of the social environment will show that the city is extremely monopolized. There are a lot of billionaires, but 18% of residents live below the poverty line. The minimum salary in Hong Kong is $ 3.6 per hour, which is a bit like for such an expensive city.
In Hong Kong, there is nowhere to relax in nature.
In addition to the abundance of green parks here is developed and beach holidays. After all, the city lies on the shore of the South China Sea. Clean and free beaches, with excellent sand, pleasantly surprise. I can not believe that all this is possible in a multi-million megapolis, in a prestigious area.
There is no casino in Hong Kong.
This statement is only partly true. In China, there is a serious fight against gambling, which is reflected in Hong Kong. But local businessmen have found a trick. If it is forbidden to build a casino on the ground, then who prevents them from working on ships? So there were specially rebuilt barges, where huge halls with roulettes and tables were created. Floating casinos sail off and come to neutral waters with the coming of the night. A visitor for such a romantic walk pays about $ 35 and has the opportunity to spend much more, enjoying gambling. Such establishments are in demand, both among the Chinese themselves and among tourists.
Hong Kong residents are swanky.
There are quite complex and peculiar systems of social behavior and courtesy. For foreigners, they seem unusual. Keeping an open door or talking to the cashier of the supermarket seems strange. And physical contact in public or social conversation can be perceived as rudeness, obsession or vulgarity. Loud appeal to an unfamiliar person by name is considered very rude. Relations between people depend on their hierarchy, age, professional and social position. There are markers for interacting with those who are above the status. It is recommended, for example, when talking with the head to downcast. It seems to us a display of elitism, and in Hong Kong – a sign of respect. This behavior to foreigners seems snobby, cold and contrived.
Hong Kong is a continuous shopping center.
The city is perceived as a trading Mecca. And a quick glance at the endless lights of shop windows and skyscrapers confirms this opinion. But the city is growing in other senses. Here, art and culture are developing, art festivals are held. So, in 2014 Art Basel Hong Kong was visited by more than two thousand artists. And in the main local universities, about 37% are foreigners.
Hong Kong is a city of Asian culture.
This is a very unusual place where Asian culture meets the European one. The fact is that Hong Kong has long been an English colony. This affected the architecture, education, urban culture. The street can be traditional Chinese, with shops and national cuisine, and around the corner there will be a cinema with a Hollywood movie, a pub, a Catholic church or McDonald’s. Hong Kong’s cosmopolitanism manifests itself in a variety of cuisines.
In Hong Kong, courteous taxi drivers.
There are only half of them. The rest are rude.The driver will first ask where to take the person and can easily refuse a trip if he does not like the distance or destination. The taxi driver can even ask for a personal passenger to leave the passenger who has already sat down. Sometimes drivers make a detour and can land in a completely different place. The only thing that pleases is the cheapness of this type of transport and its accessibility. A free taxi is easy to find in Hong Kong.