Hong Kong, thanks to its world-class infrastructure and well-educated, talented workers, is among the world’s best places to do business. Built in a comparatively small area, the city nevertheless can boast with national parks and islands, along with its famous skyline, architectural landmarks, and shopping opportunities.
But how is Hong Kong performing in terms of city reputation and influence, business attractiveness and sustainability?
Let’s take a closer look at:
- Hong Kong’s reputation and city brand strength
- The global influence and economic performance of Hong Kong
- Hong Kong’s environmental sustainability
- Hong Kong as hub for creativity and innovation
Hong Kong’s reputation and influence
Ranking 9th in the Global Power City Index (2017), Hong Kong is the 4th best-placed city in Asia after Tokyo (3rd), Singapore (5th) and Seoul (6th). The city received high scores for accessibility (5th), its economy (7th), research and development expenditure (11th). It also scored well for its environment (18th) and cultural interaction (22nd). Hong Kong’s weakest point is in the category of livability, where it ranks 36th. In terms of city attractiveness for different audiences, Hong Kong scored highest among managers (9th) and lowest among artists (44th).
Ranking 42nd in the 2017 City RepTrak study, Hong Kong scores average for its international reputation.
With an overall 13th position in the Ipsos Top Cities Index (2017), Hong Kong ranks as the 3rd best city for doing business, en par with London. The city is most liked by Millennials (born between 1980-95), Baby Boomers (1945-65) and Gen X (1966-79), but almost equally liked by Gen Z (those born after 1996).
The city ranks 17th overall in the World’s Best Cities Report (2018), with a strong 5th place in the Promotion category.
Economic performance of Hong Kong
Ranked 3rd in the Global Financial Centres Index 23 (2018), Hong Kong has retained its strong performance since the study’s last edition. This places it ahead of other high-ranking Asian cities, such as Singapore, Tokyo, and Shanghai.
Within the five broad factors of competitiveness included in the index, the city ranks 1st for Human Capital, and 3rd for Business Environment, Infrastructure, Financial Sector Development, as well as Reputation.
Hong Kong further ranked 1st for Insurance, 2nd for Investment Management and 3rd for Banking, Professional Services, Government and Regulatory Industries.
The city ranks 1st in the 2018 Mercer Cost of Living Ranking, which makes it the most expensive city worldwide for expats to live in.
Hong Kong’s sustainability performance
Ranked 16th overall on the 2016 Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index, the city’s high ranking for Profit (2nd) seems to strain its social sustainability, as it only ranks 81st for People. Hong Kong performs better on the Planet sub-index, where its rank is 29th. Overall, Hong Kong’s performance among Asian cities is strong, ranking 3rd.
Hong Kong’s low performance on the People index is caused by the challenge to provide good work-life balance, housing, as well as a significant gap in wealth distribution among its residents. However, it is considered an extremely safe city, with low crime rates.
As one of the leading Asian cities on the Planet sub-index, it is Hong Kong’s national parks and islands, as well as its investment in protection against typhoons, that increase its score. A key challenge is its aging population, as illustrated by the Median Age Index, which sees it in 8th position.
While Arcadis’ global ranking looks at the three pillars of sustainability (people, planet, profit), the Green City Index (2012) focuses exclusively on environmental aspects. Here, Hong Kong ranks above average on the Asian Green City Index (2011). It scores well above average for Land Use and Buildings. The city’s performance is also above average in categories such as Energy and CO2, Transport, Waste, Sanitations, Air Quality, and Environmental Governance. Its score is lowest in the category of Water where it only reaches average results, compared to other Asian cities.
Innovation in Hong Kong
The city ranks 35th in the Innovation Cities Index 2016-2017, being the 5th most innovative place among Asian cities.
Also ranking 5th in the 2017 Global Cities Index that studies the capacity of cities to disrupt through innovation, Hong Kong leads in business activity, especially air freight potential. Also highly rated in this index are the city’s many international schools.
How attractive is Hong Kong for digital nomads?
Hong Kong might not be the most ideal place for digital nomads. Both the Nomad List and the Digital Nomad Index are not very impressed by the city’s attractiveness for digital nomads. The list states – among others – that it is an expensive city to live in, payments without cash are difficult and it is very densely populated. The latter source ranks the city as the worst among those listed (56th).
Hong Kong is only represented in the better half in one category; ending up 23rd for start-up score. Furthermore, the city is represented in the bottom 10 four times. This relates to being an expensive city, the absence of availability of free Wi-Fi and the absence of green space and parks.
Although Hong Kong’s administrative unit within the People’s Republic of China is complicated, unsurprisingly China’s position as a digital nomad destination is also very bad. The Digital Life Abroad report ranks the country last.
Last updated September 2019.
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