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What To Prepare Before Moving to Hong Kong

Posted: Jun 8 2014Last Updated: Jan 18 2016

The following is a general checklist of things to do or bring for your move overseas:

·  Make certain your current passport has at least 3 years validity

· Make sure your drivers license is valid or renew it if it is due to expire soon

· Bring universally accepted credit cards

· Arrange to bring some cash (or make certain your bank has international ATM withdrawal facilities in Hong Kong).

· Make any necessary adjustments to your insurance policies

· Execute or update your will

· Each spouse should sign and notarize a Power of Attorney on behalf of the other

· Choose a legal guardian for your children and take any necessary actions

· Make certain your medical inoculations are in order

· Notify your change of address list

· Prepare Letters of Reference from your bank, automobile insurer, and such

· Make copies of medical and dental records, academic and professional qualifications, birth certificates, marriage certificate/divorce decree/court order of custodian care, children’s school records, insurance policies, tax records, list of assets (these should be brought with you in your personal luggage and not with your shipment)

· Keep copies of the above in your home country

· Have copies of your prescriptions for medicines, glasses and/or contact lens

· Have a supply of prescription medicines on hand until a local supply can be established

· Detailed inventory list for your insurance, along with photos if applicable

· Bring a few (perhaps ½ dozen) 2 x 2 inch photographs with you to save time

NOTE:  Official translations of supporting documents are required if they are in a language other than English or Chinese. 


Product Availability


Clothing & Shoes

There is a wide choice of international brand labels sold here although the range of the product lines and sizes may be somewhat limited.  Generally speaking, clothing  is cut to fit an Asian figure and tends to run smaller than what you may be used to, i.e. ‘large’ is often closer to a ‘medium’ or even ‘small’ in the U.S.A.  Sleeves are often shorter in length and jackets cut narrower in width.  Shoe sizes can also run smaller, sometimes as much as two sizes in local brand shops.   Width is standard but those with a narrow foot may be out of luck.  That said, there is a myriad of tailors and shoemakers offer a customized -- and often quite reasonably priced -- alternative to buying off the rack.  Additionally, if you really cannot find what you are looking for, online shopping is always an option as many major mail-order brands ship internationally.

  • Clothing:  In the past, few shops carried a size larger than a women’s U.S. 12 and man’s U.S. 46.  Larger sizes are usually only found in international brand stores and even then, are limited in number.  Do not take offense if told by an 85-pound sales assistant that they do not “carry your large size” – it really is more a language slip-up than meant to be an insult.  Undergarments are not too difficult to find although finding larger sizes may also prove to be a challenge.
  • Children:  There are many children’s clothing and shoe stores around and although the sizes do run a little smaller it is usually possible to find something appropriate.
  • Maternity:  While Asian modesty means that some keep to a more traditional style, fashion nevertheless reigns and the latest trends are well represented.



Personal Care

Your own particular brand may be unavailable (or more expensive), but a comparable substitute is usually easy to source.

  • Medication: Virtually all medication can be bought over the counter at a pharmacy or a drug store.  Although Hong Kong may not carry the brand of medication you use, chances are that it is sold under a different name or there is a generic version.  (In fact, this is one reason why the cost of medication is generally much lower in Hong Kong than in the U.S.A.)  Occasionally, some ingredients found in U.S. brands are not available in Hong Kong so it is best to bring a supply of your medication with you just in case.
  • Eyewear:  Hong Kong arguably has more optical shops than any other city in this world. All eyewear and contact lens products are available here. A large percentage of the community not only seems to require some level of visual aid but also views them as a fashion accessory and owns several pairs.
  • Skincare:  Most common international brands from the U.S.A, Europe and Australia – from the reasonable to the ultra-expensive – are sold in Hong Kong.   There is an extensive range of options, including a number of organic or ‘natural’ products.
  • Deodorants:  Many find this to be a very important survival item in Hong Kong’s heat and humidity.  There are many brands available but more so for men than women.   Unscented options, however, are limited.
  • Cosmetics:  Hong Kong has a plethora of cosmetic stores and every major brand is represented.   Perhaps the only challenge could be finding the correct foundation tone if your complexion is not Asian or Caucasian.  
  • Sun Block Protection:  The Chinese cherish a pale complexion and chemical protection from the sun -- to say nothing of the plethora of whitening products -- is widely available.   The umbrella is also a commonly used sun block in the summer.



Electronics & Small Appliances

It is safer and often more efficient to use larger appliances geared to the local current, so you should consider buying new ones here if your current ones are not 220 volts.   Smaller appliances, however, can easily run on transformers, although the same safety and cost issues apply.  Check to see if your smaller appliances are dual-voltage. If so, you will have no problems using them here. 

  • Telephones:  U.S. phones can be used with adaptors, which are inexpensive.
  • Lamps:  U.S.-geared lamps can be easily adapted by changing the bulb and plug.  Halogen models are often equipped with a changeable transformer, and this should be confirmed by a lighting expert before plugging them into the wall socket.
  • Audio-Visual Equipment:  The color system used in Hong Kong (PAL) differs from the U.S. (NTSC) and parts of Europe (SECAM) and you will require multi-system equipment in order to watch television and HK-purchased movies.  Many stereos are dual-voltage, but check before you plug it in.  Like most of Asia, Hong Kong is one of the first to receive the latest technology, so moving is a good excuse to replace or upgrade what you currently have.
  • Kitchen Appliances: U.S., European and Asian toasters, mixers, blenders, food processors, and the like are easily replaceable here. There are a large range of (mainly) European and Japanese brands available.



Reading and Entertainment: 

  • Books & Magazines:  Hong Kong bookstores carry a wide range of reading materials in English, most of which cover mainstream interests.  The prices are often higher than the printed listed price (thanks to the shipping and retail rentals costs), especially for magazines that are flown in by air.   The major internet sellers also ship for a relatively modest charge. 
  • Movies: DVDs and Blue-rays are plentiful but videotapes are a thing of the past in Asia as this technology is considered obsolete in a part of the world where owning the latest gismo is a must.   
  • Music:  Hong Kong people love their electronic equipment and CDs and SACDs are still sold here, although the electronic form is slowly beginning to takes its tolls on the “record” shops.   What is still available ranges from the top of the charts in every style and classical music hits to the most esoteric sounds that any recording studio is able to market. 
  • Computer Software:  All major brands are widely available with major operating systems (i.e. Microsoft Windows) available in English and Chinese.   



Packaged Food


Because Hong Kong imports the bulk of its food products from throughout the world and the range of choices are endless – and safe as the Government has a strict and well-monitored system – the price tag attached to the product often indicates the distance it had to travel.   

Some global brands are sourced from regional manufacturing facilities and the taste may vary in comparison to the same product at home – a result of the locally-sourced ingredient(s) or a deliberate adaptation to the local palate (i.e. coca-cola or m&m’s although the imported versions of these two products is also available at a premium).  The most well-known baby food brands, including organic labels, are available.   

If you cannot live with out a specific product, bring a supply until you can either locate it here or find an adequate – if not better – substitute.   There are several stores in Hong Kong that supply food for those with allergies and food restrictions.   Although the range of products may not be as wide as some Western countries, it more than adequately provides the basics.   Some stores are also willing to special order a product at your request.



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Disclaimer:  The above commentary is for reference only.  Any facts should be verified by independent sources and no warranty is made as to their accuracy and they may have changed since the posting of this article.  This article and any references to third parties or other websites is not intended to endorse any business, individual or organization. 


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