Hong Kong Not More Expensive Than Shanghai

Another finding of this trip to Hong Kong is, Hong Kong is not too much more expensive than Shanghai today.

I had the impression that Hong Kong is super expensive, compared to Shanghai. Many years ago, I cannot understand why a bowl of noodle costs 40-50 RMB, and a direct ride on Metro cross the Victoria Bay costs around 9 RMB. At that time, same distance of Metro in Shanghai only cost 2 RMB.

During this trip, I have new ideas.

The first factor is the exchange rate. Now, 1 Chinese yuan = 1.12664683 Hong Kong dollars. Before, Hong Kong Dollar worth more than Chinese RMB. Something like 1.1 RMB to 1 HKD. Today, it is completely the opposite. I withdraw cash on local ATM machines – 200 HKD, and I got SMS notification that 177 was deducted from my China Merchant Bank card. I am feeling good about it.

Taxi is not that expensive also. A short trip from Hong Kong Station of Airport Express to Island Pacific Hotel cost 30-40 HKD. It is by no way cheap, but considering a typical Shanghai taxi drive also cost 20-30 RMB, I feel it is in the same range.

Noodle still cost around 40 HKD, but comparing to 30-35 RMB noodle shops in Shanghai, that is also pretty close.

My conclusion: it is not because Hong Kong becomes cheaper, it is because Shanghai gets much more expensive, so I don’t feel the gap any more.

12 thoughts on “Hong Kong Not More Expensive Than Shanghai

  1. As a student who visited Hong Kong for three months this year, I want to say in some sense HK is cheaper than Shanghai. Students and children have special Octopus card for Metro in HK. I can’t apply it because I am a visiting student, but normally full time student can use them and the cost is only about 2 HKD (don’t know the exactly number). Another interpretation is that HK has much better social benefit/security than Shanghai

    Another comment is about your saying “HK is more international than Shanghai” in a previous post. I would say it is only partially true. Somehow I have the impression that HK is not very open to Mainland. Actually most local cannot speak Mandarin (even younger ones like graduate student in university). What makes worse is that most of local Chinese newspaper use Cantonese a lot. I think if HK doesn’t change that, it will soon be caught up by Shanghai.

  2. didn’t check your blog until now or i would have taken you up on your offer for coffee, anyways good luck tomorrow leaving town with the taxis making trouble!

  3. You forgot to mention the hotel prices in HK. They’re still way, way more expensive than hotels on the mainland. I find its hard to find somewhere below 900HKD per night. And then if you want internet, its an extra fee, whereas in Chinese hotels its usually included. I agree though, transportation prices are not so dissimilar.

  4. As Chinese I have never been HK, really would like to go and take a look. Guess it still needs some kind of pass for Chinese national to go.

  5. Hong Kong is both super cheap and super expensive. Many of the things that a visitor might come in contact with (taxis, mtr and the lack of taxes on imported good like computers and mobile phones) can make it seem remarkably cheap.

    As a resident, however, the price of real estate quickly becomes a major lifestyle factor. For the price of a small box in Hong Kong, you can have a fairly good-sized apartment in Shanghai or Beijing.

    I had supper last night with someone who recently moved to Hong Kong from Beijing and he claimed his apartment in Hong Kong is about the size of his clothing closet in Beijing. Probably an exaggeration, but you get the idea!

  6. Interesting, but I’d like to know about salary comparisons between the two cities. My impression is that Hong Kong salaries (thus standards of living) are higher than Shanghai — but if expenses are the same, then Shanghai would be more expensive comparatively.

    Also, what about hosing costs? Shanghai now runs anywhere from 15000 to 40000 RMB/square meter, but what about Hong Kong? Is it higher or lower than SH?

  7. Mr Wang, do you think cities like Shanghai getting more expensive in living cost is having a big megative impact on poor-to-be families and people?

  8. Interesting observation. I have never been to HKG but would love to visit some time. I think the rent/hotel cost are still much higher than that of Shanghai. I need to pay from my own pocket, so I can only afford something like Home Inn :-)

  9. js, if you take the housing cost into account, then maybe Hong Kong is still slightly more expensive of Shanghai. An apartment in urban areas costs you around HK$40000 to 60000+/sq. m. Though you may choose to live in more remote areas where the price can be as low as HK$20000 /sq m

    @jiajin yu: metro fare for students and elderly is half of adult fare. so a cross-harbour trip will cost around 5-6 HKD.

  10. Hi ,

    Interesting topic…I didn’t notice that but you right. 1 Canadian dollar is now 7.x HK$ and only 6.x RMB. What I found funny is that French, Italian Vietnamese, Greek restaurants or steak house are very expensive there and quoted like “fine cuisine”. We have tons of those restaurants in any big city in Canada/USA …so is really not exotic for us. We plan to try local restaurant and specialty…it’s pretty cheap for foreign visitors. Same thing with living, you can find very affordable studio with old Chinese style furniture on the net.

    Vive les grandes vacances!


  11. Hi, Jianshuo

    I think price is related with people’s income, I have not been to HK yet, but I know most people in HK are rich, I live in the banlieue of Shanghai, I earn 3000RMB per month, I feel everything is expensive in Shanghai.

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