Economy

Economy

Hong Kong is the capitalists dream, and is very much a money driven society. Despite the Asian economic downturn at the end of the 1990s, and SARS in 2003, Hong Kong suffered less than its neighbouring countries. This has mainly been as a consequence of its hard working labour force who benefit from low taxation and are driven by free enterprise and free trade opportunities.

The city also benefits from a well-sited and expanding international airport, good shipping connections, excellent port facilities and telecommunication links. In addition, the Government has mainly continued its “hands off” policy initiated by its British predecessors towards private business; all of which have contributed to Hong Kong’s continued economic success.

Money

The currency used in Hong Kong is the Hong Kong dollar (HK$), with 100 cents to 1 HK$. Since the mid 1983, the value of the Hong Kong dollar has been pegged at approximately HK$7.8 to 1 US$.

There is no central mint in Hong Kong and the currency can often appear confusing. This is because bank notes are issued by the three major banks: Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC), Bank of China, and Standard Chartered Bank, and all the notes are interchangeable.

Bank notes issued by HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank have denominations of HK$10, HK$20, HK$50, HK$100, HK$500, and HK$1,000. The Bank of China issues all of these denominations except HK$10. Coins, issued by the Government, are bronze-coloured 10 cents, 20 cents and 50 cents; silver-coloured HK$1, HK$2, and HK$5 and nickel and bronze for the HK$10.

Most banks have automated teller machines (ATMs) and offer a wide range of services, including telephone and internet banking. However, be aware that hotels, major retail outlets and banks which provide exchange facilities will usually charge commission. As elsewhere, the rates of exchange for cash and travellers cheques are marginally different, and coins are not exchangeable.

To get the latest exchange rates visit the following useful currency converter sites:
Oanda or XE.com