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Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region in China, although many traditionally consider it a city. The word Hong Kong itself is literally translated as "fragrant harbor."
Once upon a time, incense and aromatic sorts of wood were traded here. In total, more than 7 million people live in this area.
Hong Kong is one of the world's business centers with simple taxes and ease of doing business. We judge him on the basis of some myths, the debunking of which the article is devoted to.
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 to Great Britain and China was developed jointly for 12 years. This is how the Basic Law appeared in 1990. It seems that Hong Kong is formally and finally Chinese, but the facts tell otherwise. There is a border with China here; when entering from the mainland, you will have to go through two borders and obtain a visa. Legislation in Hong Kong is its own, the British system of justice works here, unlike the Chinese one. The government, although it is being formed in coordination with China, is still its own. Hong Kong has its own currency, which is quite tightly tied to the American one. The amount of cash is agreed by the Monetization Council, and three banks are engaged in its issue. Hong Kong has the right to its own representation in international organizations, but rarely does it. But the team of this region regularly participates in the Olympics, having won one medal of each value in its entire history. Embassies of 170 countries of the world have been opened in Hong Kong. Even local Chinese prefer to call themselves Hong Kongers; moreover, they look different from their fellows from the mainland. There is also a language of its own. It is originally from southern China but is quite different from the nationwide version.
Prices are low in Hong Kong. This myth is related to the previous one. It seems that if everything is cheap in China, then the situation should be the same 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 can be even higher than in Europe. And globalization and the proximity of the mainland of China are "to blame" for this. Because of the first factor, prices are determined not by sellers, but by the brands themselves for each specific region. Although there is no value added tax or customs duties in Hong Kong, the prices for luxury brands are quite high. Another reason is the large number of buyers from China. They are attracted by the absence of fakes here, low prices relative to the mainland, geographic proximity and ease of obtaining a visa. That is why it is beneficial to keep prices in Hong Kong higher than in Europe. The endless flow of buyers from China is fine with this. 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 value. This also affects the price of hotel rooms. And the lack of customs in the region really makes many things attractive to buy. The electronics of the best brands, especially the most expensive models, stand out especially in this regard. Compared to Russia, the price of top electronics can be 40-70% lower. In Hong Kong, they know the price of things and do not exchange for cheap fakes, preferring to form a good price for quality things.
There are many fakes in Hong Kong. You will not find a special street here, where they sell exclusively copies of the famous original stamps. There are no shops, semi-secret basements and places where you can buy kilograms of things for a hundred dollars. Almost all copies and forgeries are sold on the main street of the Kowloon Peninsula - Nathan Road. Indians or Pakistanis will vying with each other to offer to look at very cheap copies of watches and bags. And in the "secret room" they will show a bunch of Chinese junk at rather high prices. You can also find counterfeits in the "Women's Market" and in the "Night Market", but their quality does not correspond to the asking price. Oddly enough, in Hong Kong it is easier to find the original than a fake. It seems inconceivable to us that small shops sell original products of elite watch brands. In our opinion, it should be sold in luxury boutiques. But in the Hong Kong economy, freedom of doing business and high rule of law coexist. For an attempt to sell a fake, especially in tourist areas, here you can lose not only the enterprise, but even freedom. Sellers may even be offended when asked to sell a cheap Chinese product. So, for high-quality copies, you obviously have to go not to Hong Kong.
In Hong Kong, triads rule everything. Tourists who are afraid of getting into a criminal city are very surprised to see large diamonds right in the windows. At the same time, there are no guards in stores. The fact is that there is practically no crime in the city. Hong Kong's main income comes from the financial sector, with trade in second place, overtaking tourism. Local residents would rather open their own business than break the law. Any business here is quite simple to start, and the rules are transparent, even when it comes to the sale of alcohol or jewelry. For a year, there are only 1100 pickpockets for 7 million inhabitants, about the same number of burglaries, 12-13 murders (mainly domestic). There are about 2,000 crimes related to the activities of triads in the city per year. Local organized crime cells are practically all connected with China or Taiwan. There are drugs and wars between clans here, but ordinary residents, and even more so tourists, do not see this. And the police act quickly and efficiently. The myth of the high crime rate was born thanks to cinema. Rather, this is a warning rather than a real situation. Today Hong Kong is one of the safest cities in the world. The police here are extremely friendly to tourists.
Hong Kong is a solid stone jungle. Most tourists are convinced that the city is a fantastic cluster of skyscrapers. If you walk along the main streets of Hong Kong Island, 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 area is occupied by national parks. They even exist in the central part of Hong Kong Island. If the state did not think about its future, it would have given this land for the construction of shopping centers and skyscrapers long ago. The people of Hong Kong have made a titanic effort to artificially green the hills around Victoria Peak and the southern part of the main island. Climbing up the funicular, you can see that Hong Kong is predominantly green, and not all in the stone jungle. There are many parks and gardens available for relaxation all day long. The attitude of the townspeople to greenery is so careful that almost all the trees here are numbered, you cannot cut them without special reasons. Trees over 50 years old are generally prohibited from touching. The Kowloon Peninsula even has skyscrapers built to preserve nearby trees.
In Hong Kong, they drink either elite wines or cheap ones. There is a myth that there are practically no mid-range wines in Hong Kong. Experts say that 62% of the entire wine business is devoted to this particular segment, so the share is quite high. 6 out of 10 bottles sell for $ 13-19. Wine is quite popular here, 73% of local residents said about the regular use of the drink. The wine market is wider than it is commonly believed.
Business development in Hong Kong has stalled. Multimillionaire John Slosar, chairman of the board of Swire Corporation, recently announced that business activity in Hong Kong is diminishing. In fact, this is not the case. More than 1.25 million companies work here. Only a handful have closed, more companies are born than they die.
Protests in Hong Kong are illegal. Such an official statement about the events of 2014 was made by the Chinese authorities. But in a free society with a growing economy, nonviolent protests are a protected form of criticism of the authorities. Only in authoritarian states with suppressed freedom of speech, criminal cases are brought against peaceful demonstrators.
Society in Hong Kong is highly polarized. Some sociologists cite the polarization of society as one of the reasons for the protests. In fact, the freest and most successful societies in the world are built around the regular swing of two large parties or opinion groups. Attention to the opposition's point of view, as well as to the ruling party, is the basis for 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 indeed many billionaires living here, but 18% of residents live below the poverty line. The minimum wage in Hong Kong is $ 3.6 an hour, which is not much for such an expensive city.
In Hong Kong, there is nowhere to relax in nature. In addition to the abundance of green parks, beach recreation is also developed here. After all, the city lies on the shores of the South China Sea. Clean and free beaches, with excellent sand, pleasantly surprise. I can't believe that all this is possible in a multi-million dollar metropolis, in a prestigious area.
There is no casino in Hong Kong. This statement is only partially true. There is a serious fight against gambling in China, which is reflected in Hong Kong. But local businessmen found a trick. If it is forbidden to build casinos on land, then who prevents them from working on ships? This is how specially rebuilt barges appeared here, where huge halls with roulettes and tables were created. Floating casinos leave at nightfall and head into neutral waters. A visitor pays about $ 35 for such a romantic walk and has the opportunity to spend much more while enjoying gambling. Such establishments are in demand, both among the Chinese themselves and among tourists.
Hong Kong people are snobby. There are quite complex and peculiar systems of social behavior and politeness here. For foreigners, they seem unusual. Holding the door open or talking to a supermarket cashier may seem odd. And bodily contact in public or small talk can be perceived as rudeness, obsession or vulgarity. Loudly addressing an unfamiliar person by name is considered very rude. Relationships between people depend on their hierarchy, age, professional and social position. There are markers for interaction with those who are of higher status. It is recommended, for example, to lower your gaze when talking with your boss. It seems to us a sign of elitism, but in Hong Kong it is a sign of respect. Such behavior to foreigners seems snobby, cold and far-fetched.
Hong Kong is a solid 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 ways as well. Art and culture are developing here, art festivals are held. So, in 2014 more than two thousand artists visited Art Basel Hong Kong. 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 European one. It is affected by the fact that Hong Kong was an English colony for a long time. This influenced architecture, education, urban culture. The street can be traditional Chinese, with shops and national cuisine, and around the corner there is a cinema with a Hollywood movie, a pub, a Catholic church or McDonald's. The cosmopolitanism of Hong Kong is also reflected in the variety of cuisines.
There are polite taxi drivers in Hong Kong. There are only half of them. The rest are rude. The driver will first ask where the person should be taken and can easily refuse a trip if he does not like the distance or destination. The taxi driver may even ask a passenger who has already sat down to leave, out of personal dislike. Sometimes drivers make a detour and can drop off in a completely different place. The only thing that pleases is the cheapness of this type of transport and its availability. A free taxi is easy to find in Hong Kong.