Hong Kong Briefing Notes - DOC by flyboyor


									Faculty of Computing, Health & Science


The Faculty Office of the Faculty of Computing, Health & Science is pleased to provide you with this information. Comments or changes may be advised to 6304 3453


The following Background, Historical, Political, Economic and General Information has been sourced and combined, from the following Web Sites:


Austrade Web Online - www.austrade.gov.au Aust. Dept of Foreign Affairs - www.dfat.gov.au www.worldinformation.com www.asiatravel.com/hkinfo.html

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BACKGROUND Hong Kong borders the southern coast of China and is only 130 kilometres from Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong Province. Hong Kong’s 1,098 square kilometres of land can be divided into three main areas: Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories. Hong Kong is a major regional and international trade and services centre located next to one of the most dynamic parts of China – Guangdong Province – and in the centre of East Asia, with ASEAN to the south and Japan, South Korea and Taiwan to the north.

HISTORY Before it became a British territory in the middle of last century, Hong Kong Island was populated by about 3,650 people living in 20 villages and about 2,000 fishermen who lived on boats in the harbour. Hong Kong’s mountainous terrain lacks fertile land and water, and its only natural asset is a sheltered anchorage. Under the 1842 Treaty of Nanking, which marked the end of the First Opium War, China ceded Hong Kong Island to Britain in perpetuity. In 1860, the Convention of Peking added to British territory, also in perpetuity, a portion of the Kowloon peninsula on the Chinese mainland. During a period of tension in the mid-1890’s when European countries and Japan were demanding concessions from China after the latter’s defeat by the Japanese in l895, Britain claimed that it needed control of the land around Hong Kong harbour in order to defend its territory effectively. Under a convention signed in Beijing on 9 June 1898, the New Territories, comprising 235 islands and the area north of Kowloon as far as the Shenzhen River, were leased to Britain for 99 years. Recent History After the revolution of 1911, which overthrew the Qing (Ching) Dynasty, China underwent a long period of unrest, and large numbers of people found shelter in Hong Kong. A further influx into Hong Kong occurred after Canton fell to Japan in 1938. Some 100,000 refugees entered Hong Kong in 1937, 500,000 in l938 and 150 000 in 1939 raising the population to an estimated 1.6 million by the start of World War II. Japanese armed forces attacked Hong Kong on 8 December 1941 quickly overwhelming the defenders and Hong Kong surrendered on Christmas Day. Japan occupied Hong Kong for three years and eight months until July l945. During this period, trade virtually ceased, Hong Kong’s currency lost its value, the supply of food was disrupted, and government services and public utilities were seriously impaired. Many Hong Kong residents went to Macau or the Chinese mainland, returning after the Japanese surrender. Hong Kong quickly rebounded, re-emerging as the entrepÔt for trade between China and the world. Industrialisation initially involved the production of cotton textiles, but gradually diversified to include woollens and, in the late 1960’s man-made fibres and complete garments. Since then Hong Kong has become a major exporter of high technology goods and since the late 1980’s its economy has transformed Hong Kong into one of the business capitals of the world.

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In recent years, the triangle comprising Hong Kong, Taiwan and the two South China provinces of Guangdong and Fujian has become one of the fastest growing corners of the world economy. On 1 July l997, the whole of Hong Kong, including Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula, reverted to Chinese sovereignty, resulting in the creation of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). ECONOMIC OVERVIEW Hong Kong is a major international and regional financial centre and arguably the freest economy in the world. It is the world's 11th-largest trading economy, a major international banking centre and the base for some of the region's most important corporate headquarters. It is also a major provider of services to China and the East Asian region. Hong Kong's economic prospects largely depend on its links with China and its role as a vital entrepot for the PRC. In the last decade, the Hong Kong and Chinese economies have become increasingly integrated, partly due to Hong Kong's structural shift away from manufacturing and towards services. The Hong Kong economy continues to show above-trend growth. GDP accelerated to 6.9 per cent in 2006. Growth was mainly fuelled by rising investment and exports, which jumped 10.2 and 7.9 per cent respectively. Private forecasters expect the economy to expand by around 6 per cent, and by 5 per cent in 2007 and 2008, respectively. Riding on China’s strong export performance, Hong Kong’s merchandise re-exports rose 10.7 per cent in 2006 and are expected to increase by over 8 per cent in 2007. Services exports rose 14 per cent in 2006, reflecting strong offshore trade and inbound tourism, particularly from mainland China. Inflow of foreign direct investment grew 19 per cent from US$ 35.9 billion in 2005 to US$ 42.7 billion in 2006, while seasonally adjusted unemployment eased from 6.8 per cent in 2004 to 4.1 per cent in 2007. The strong economic performance ended nearly six years of deflation: CPI inflation is expected to be 1.9 per cent in 2007, rising to 3.3 per cent in 2008. The residential property sector, which plays a key role in the Hong Kong domestic economy, saw prices rebound more than 61 per cent by the first quarter of 2007 from its SARS-affected low of August 2003: though prices were still around 40 per cent off the 1997 peak. Adding further to public confidence, Hong Kong reported a surplus on the Government’s consolidated account of HK$58.6 billion for 2006-07. The stock market is currently at a sixyear high.

VISITOR INFORMATION Entry / Visas Australia is among a number of countries with representation in Hong Kong whose nationals continue to enjoy visa-free access to Hong Kong after its reversion to Chinese sovereignty. Entry formalities have remained relatively simple. No visa is required for Australians on a business visit for a stay of up to three months (Visa Free Period), provided they have onward travel bookings and can show means of financial support. You should submit your visa application to the nearest Chinese embassy/consulate-general in your country of residence. Some delay in obtaining a visa may occur and arrangements should be made well in advance of departure.

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Health No certificate of vaccination is required for travelling to Hong Kong, even if the traveller arrives from an infected area. However, health regulations are liable to change at short notice, and it is always advisable to check current health regulations with carriers when making reservations. Mandatory precautions Visitors who have travelled through a country infected with cholera or yellow fever must hold a current certificate of inoculation. Advisable precautions Vaccinations are recommended for diphtheria, tuberculosis, hepatitis 'A' and 'B' and typhoid. Malaria precautions should be taken. Foreigners can be admitted free to any government hospital. Tap water is safe to drink. Airports – International Hong Kong’s international airport, Chek Lap Kok, is located in Lautau Island. Fastest transport is by Airport Express trains. Check in can be undertaken at airport express station. From the major Hong Kong Island hotels generally allow one hour to reach Chek Lap Kok airport, except in peak hours (7-10am, 4-7pm) when the trip may take one and a half hours or longer. From Kowloon and the New Territories hotels it will take around 30 minutes and 45 minutes respectively by taxi to reach the airport. The taxi fare from the major Hong Kong Island hotels to Check Lap Kok airport is around HK$400 (A$80). A taxi from Kowloon and the New Territories hotels will cost about HK$350 (A$70) and HK$250 (A$50) respectively. The departure tax at Kai Tak airport is HK$50 (A$10). Check in time for flights is two hours prior to departure. Getting Around In Hong Kong Airport Transport After you have reclaimed your baggage and passed through Customs, you will find yourself in the Buffer Hall of Hong Kong International Airport where the Hong Kong Tourist Association Information Centres are located. There you can obtain free visitor publications and any other assistance you may need. Hong Kong International Airport is approximately 40 minutes' drive by car from all major hotels in Kowloon and about 50 minutes' drive via the Cross-Harbour Tunnel from all major hotels on Hong Kong Island (under normal traffic conditions). If you are making your own way to your hotel, follow the signs directing you to the Transport Terminus for taxis or use the airport coach service. If you have no local currency on arrival, change only enough at the airport to get you to your hotel.

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Hotel Transport Hotel bookings do not normally include transportation from the airport. However, if you have a prearranged hotel booking that includes an airport transfer, you should leave the Buffer Hall via the exit marked Hotel Transport and look for the hotel representative waiting to meet you. Taxis Taxis are numerous and readily available, and fares are low compared with those in most cities. Red taxis serve Hong Kong Island and Kowloon; green ones in the New Territories and blue taxis on Lantau Island operate at even lower rates. Many drivers speak some English but it is wise to have your destination written in Chinese characters. Rates for red taxis start at HK$16.5 on the flag fall plus HK$1.60 for every 200 metres after the first two kilometres. Waiting time is HK$1.10 per minute. Pay, in Hong Kong dollars only, the fare shown on the meter, plus any additional charge where applicable. A HK$20 surcharge applies to cross-harbour tunnel trips (includes the driver's HK$10 return toll). There is also a surcharge for rides through the Lion Rock (HK$6), Junk Bay (HK$3) and Aberdeen (HK$5) tunnels, and a HK$5 charge for each piece of luggage. Taxi drivers expect a tip, but just round up the fare to the nearest dollar. Drivers cannot pick up or drop off passengers on restricted streets, which are marked with yellow lines. New Territories taxis will pick up and drop off only in the New Territories. If you have any queries or complaints, note the taxi's number and call the 24-hour Police Hotline on 2527 7177. Buses Double-decker buses, which run from 6 AM till 3 midnight, cover most parts of the territory. Fares range from HK$1 to HK$30.60. Exact change is required. You'll find that, in general the drivers do not speak much English. Minibuses Minibuses are small passenger vans which are yellow with a red stripe. They can pick up passengers and let them off anywhere except regular bus stops and the usual restricted areas. Fares range from HK$2 to HK$7. Maxicabs Maxicabs are yellow with a green stripe. They run along specific routes and have fixed prices ranging from HK$1 to HK$8. A sign on the front indicates the destination. Pay as you get on. Trains The Kowloon-Canton Railway (KCR) is 34 kilometres long and runs from Hung Hom in Kowloon up to the border with China. Trains run every tour to 10 minutes in each direction, and vary according to the ordinary single trip to Sheung Shui, the farthest you can go without a China visa). It's a go way to visit some of the New Territories' towns and villages. The Mass Transit Railway (MTR), Hong Kong's fast, efficient and air-conditioned underground system, runs not only along the north side of Hong Kong Island, but also from Central across the harbour to divide into east and west branches in Kowloon. Stations are located by an X symbol. Fares range from HK$4 to HK$11. MTR and KCR stored-value tickets (HK$70-200) are also available.

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The Light Rail Transit (LRT) is a high-speed surface system linking the New Territories towns of Tuen Mun Yuen Long. The LRT runs from 5.30am to 12.30am daily. Fares range from HK$3.20 to $4.70. Ferries The Star Ferry, which has connected Hong Kong and Kowloon since 1898, runs regularly between 6.30am to 11.30pm. At HK$ 2.20 (upper deck), it must be one of the cheapest and most scenic ferry rides in the world. The crossing takes approximately eight minutes. The Hong Kong Ferry (Holdings) Company provides other regular and inexpensive services which connect Hong Kong Island to other parts of the Kowloon Peninsula and to the outlying islands. Trams Since 1904, the tram system has run east to west along the north side of Hong Kong Island, and still provides a leisurely, grandstand view. The flat fare is HK$1.20 (exact change required) and the service operates between 6 AM and 1 AM. The Peak Tram is one of the most advanced tram systems in the world, taking just eight minutes to climb Victoria Peak. The service operates from 7am to midnight and the single fare is HK$12 (HK$19 return). The funicular railway has run since 1888 and is still the quickest way to reach the Peak. Car Hire Self-drive rental cars are not often used in Hong Kong, but chauffeur-driven cars are widely available. Hotels have their own limousines for hire. Rickshaws The only means of travel in the old days, rickshaws today are used mainly for fun rides and photo sessions. Rickshaw drivers congregate at the Star Ferry on Hong Kong Island and charge for a trip round the block or for a photo session. Negotiate the price first. Climate Hong Kong’s climate is subtropical and monsoonal. Summer (May to mid September) is humid with a risk of typhoons. July and August can be very hot. Autumn (September to December) is generally sunny, but drier, and the most pleasant time of year. Winter (January to February) is dry but can get uncomfortably cold, with an average temperature of 10o celcius. Spring (March and April) is moderately warm and damp. The average temperature is about 22.8 degrees C, while rainfall averages 2,224.7mm per year. Humidity is often above 83%. Clothing During the hot months (May to October) light or tropical weight clothing is needed. For the cooler months, heavier clothing and a lightweight coat are appropriate. Tailoring is relatively inexpensive and clothes can be made to order in a few days. Dress codes Business dress is formal as appearance is taken seriously. Very smart dress is also de rigueur for ladies; skirts are advisable rather than trousers.

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Language Cantonese is spoken by 97% of the population but Mandarin is increasingly used. English is widely used in government, business and education. Tipping Although there is a 10 per cent service charge added to most restaurant and hotel bills, an additional 5 per cent may be given, where the service received merits extra expression of appreciation. When a service charge is not automatic, 10 per cent is acceptable. Taxi fares are rounded up to the nearest dollar, but small tips may also be given to taxi drivers if they were especially helpful. Bellhops at hotels do expect a tip, HK$10 - $20 should suffice and for the porters at the airport, HK $3 per suitcase. Hotel doormen and washroom attendants also expect a small amount and hotel cleaning staff appreciate a few dollars for good service. Time Zones Hong Kong is in the same time zone as Western Australia and is two hours behind Australian Eastern Standard Time. Hong Kong has no daylight-saving time during the northern hemisphere summer. Currency The unit of currency is the Hong Kong dollar (HK$), which is divided into 100 cents. In October 1983 the Government pegged the exchange rate at a fixed US$1 to HK$7.8. There is no exchange control in Hong Kong. Electricity The domestic supply is 200V AC, 50 Hz. No uniformity in plug design. Samples/Give-aways No restriction applies to the import of non-dutiable commercial samples. All samples of dutiable commodities are subject to import duty. Import duties apply only to certain hydrocarbon oils, liquor, tobacco, methyl alcohol and cosmetics. Similarly there are no restrictions on the import of give-aways. Business Etiquette Although Hong Kong is a westernised society, Hong Kong Chinese business people still retain their local customs and behavioural practices which have a profound effect on business relationships. Local Customs and Standards of Behaviour The following points may assist in developing effective business relationships. Business Cards  The exchange of business cards is common practice. Business cards should be presented and received with both hands.  It is recommended that you have a large supply of business cards when first meeting a Hong Kong business counterpart. The Chinese business person will often feel awkward at not having the visitor’s name and company details in hand and will form an initial impression that the visitor is unprepared for business.

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Establishing Contacts and Networks  Exporters should send as much documented information about their companies, products and services as possible in advance of their visit. Business visitors must remember to follow up on their meetings in Hong Kong when they return to Australia.   Business introductions are vital. It is unusual for Hong Kong companies to buy anything from someone they do not know. The quality of your agent or representative’s contacts is crucial. It is vital to spend time in Hong Kong with your representative to clearly explain the product, effectively negotiate terms of business and develop networks in the market.

Business Entertainment  Dinner and lunches with local representatives and customers help to develop networks.  Seating should be arranged so that the Australian host’s party is inter-spaced with the Chinese guests.

Correspondence  Answer enquiries, proposals, correspondence and invitations as soon as possible. At the very least, immediately send an acknowledgement stating that an answer will follow shortly.  Prompt responses in communicating with business associates in Hong Kong indicate professionalism, commitment and an interest in the market. Face  Avoid embarrassing Chinese in the presence of others. To avoid the person losing face, discuss any criticisms in private. In some cases, it may be helpful to use an intermediary to convey criticism, particularly with someone of high social status. Punctuality  Chinese place importance on punctuality and Australian visitors should do their best to avoid arriving late at appointments.  Itineraries should take this into consideration and allow adequate time to move from one appointment to the next.

Gifts  The exchange of gifts is not widely practised in business in Hong Kong. Forms of Address  Many Hong Kong business people will have an English first name, used with a Chinese family name. eg. Peter Chan. In this case, the family name is used last, as in Australia. Normally when a Chinese name is written, the family name comes first, with the given name following e.g. Mr Chan Tai-Man would be addressed as Mr Chan.  When addressing business correspondence to Hong Kong, all names should be written in full, with titles included.

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HOTELS A 10% service charge and 5% tax is added to all hotel bills. The following hotels are listed on the National University Travel Consortium web site (www.nutc.com.au). University rates have been negotiated with these hotels and are inclusive of all charges and taxes.
Name The Charterhouse Empire Hotel Holiday Inn Golden Mile Novotel Century* The Excelsior Great Eagle Hotel Mandarin Oriental Regal Airport Sheraton Rating 3 4 4 4 4 5 5 5 5 $ HKD HKD HKD HKD HKD HKD HKD HKD HKD
Min room rate

337.65 623.00 735.00 723.00 885.00 820.00 1700.00 770.00 1084.00

Approx $AU 65.69 121.21 143.00 140.66 172.18 159.53 330.74 149.81 210.89

Location Wanchai HK Island Tsim Sha Tsui Kowloon Tsim Sha Tsui Kowloon Wanchai Central HK Island Kowloon close to ferry Central HK Island HK Int'l Airport Heart of Kowloon near river

*FCHS I & C staff use the Novotel Century and stay on the executive floor (The exec club includes evening drinks and eats, eliminating the need for dinner).

BUSINESS HOURS Government offices, most European firms and the larger Chinese business houses open from: Monday to Friday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm with an hour for lunch; Saturday 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. Many Chinese businesses open from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm or later, Monday to Saturday. Major department stores: Monday to Sunday, 10:30 am to 10:00 pm. Many Chinese shops keep extended hours, opening from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm daily. BANKS The majority of banks are open from 9.00am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday; Saturday 9.00am to 1.00pm. Major Australian banks with representatives in Hong Kong are: St. George Bank Ltd 19/F., Jardine House 1 Connaught Road, Central Hong Kong Telephone: (852) 2845 6166 Facsimile: (852) 2845 5279 Australian and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd 27/F., One Exchange Square 8 Connaught Place, Central Hong Kong Telephone: (852) 2521 5511 Facsimile: (852) 2525 2475 Commonwealth Bank of Australia 1405-8 Two Exchange Square 8 Connaught Place, Central Hong Kong Telephone: (852) 2844 7500 Facsimile: (852) 2845 9194

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National Australia Bank Level 27, One Pacific Place 88 Queensway, Admiralty Hong Kong Telephone: (852) 2826 8111 Facsimile: (852) 2845 9251 Westpac Banking Corporation Two Exchange Square, 6/F., 8 Connaught Place, Central Hong Kong Telephone: (852) 2842 9888 Facsimile: (852) 2840 0591

CONTACTS Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) Room 2201-3, 22/F., Harbour Centre 25 Harbour Road Wanchai, Hong Kong Telephone: (852) 2588 5300 Facsimile: (852) 2827 0940 (852) 2827 4145 Australian Consulate General 23/F., Harbour Centre 25 Harbour Road Wanchai, Hong Kong Telephone: (852) 2827 8881 Facsimile: (852) 2885 4457


Austrade Web Online - www.austrade.gov.au Aust. Dept of Foreign Affairs - www.dfat.gov.au www.worldinformation.com www.asiatravel.com/hkinfo.html www.nutc.com.au/travelfix

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