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China - Hong Kong

When asked the reason for their most recent move, 41.4% of Hong Kong respondents said they were moving to return to their home country, as compared with around 35.0% who said they were moving away from their home country, suggesting a higher number of returnees. Among these, the most common reasons for moving to the city were job opportunities (32.5%), followed by a better lifestyle (29.7%), and education opportunities (25.9%).

Hong Kong residents differ on reasons for past versus future possible moves

Among all respondents, the top reasons motivating a potential international relocation include better lifestyle or standard of living (32.1%), and job opportunities (23.5%).

The majority of all respondents from Hong Kong, upon considering possible relocation, would prefer a longer-term move at 3-5 years (33.6%), followed by a medium duration at between 1-2 years (21.5%); while only 18.7% would prefer a permanent relocation, and 18.6% are not considering a move at all. These numbers are similar to global averages, where 23.9% would prefer longer-term moves of 3-5 years, 18.4% would prefer medium-term moves of 1-2 years, and 16.2% would prefer a permanent move – only around 2.5% lower than Hong Kong.

Hong Kong holds a unique position in the region as a truly international city, which has long served as a gateway to China and the rest of Asia Pacific. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the data from Hong Kong respondents reflects a highly mobile cohort – with over half of all respondents having relocated internationally before (27.6% once, 25.0% more than once). Of these, over 21.9% have moved in the last 6 – 12 months.

The most popular destination country for relocation among Hong Kong respondents is the United Kingdom (21.7%), followed by Japan (15.6%), and Australia (14.2%).

Top reasons for selecting a location to relocate to include: for a better lifestyle (39.6%), experience new cultures (25.2%), and job opportunities (22.6%).

Hong Kong infographic

Fig 9 - Top relocation destinations for Hong Kong respondents

Q: When thinking about/planning for relocating internationally, which country would you plan to move to, if you had the chance?

Hong Kong respondents are among the world’s most mobile

In Hong Kong, over half of all respondents have already relocated internationally at least once before - while around 66% have plans or considerations to move internationally.

When respondents were asked the reason for their most recent move, 41.4% of respondents said they were moving to return to Hong Kong, as compared with around 35% who said they were moving away from their home – suggesting a high number of returnees.

Covid-19 impact on mobility and moving plans

As might be expected for a city that has faced multiple outbreaks over the years, Covid-19 has had a significant impact on whether or not people make or follow through with plans to move. In Hong Kong, 59.5% of respondents who have relocated internationally have considered moving back to their home country since the Covid-19 pandemic.

The majority of respondents had plans or considerations to move internationally (65.8% total) – of which 26.5% postponed plans, while 20.7% adjusted their moves.

Of respondents who postponed or adjusted plans to relocate, 59.6% still plan to go ahead, and 30.2% went ahead with the move. Most plan to go ahead or went ahead because Covid-19 restrictions were lifted (36.9%), they wanted to continue with the move (29.7%), travel restrictions or border closures were lifted (28.5%), and they adjusted their plans to allow for the move (28.1%).

Among those that cancelled the move, 43.1% also listed Covid-19-related reasons to be the cause of cancellation, followed by the timings weren’t right (31.0%). Respondents also cancelled the move as they were waiting to see what happens (27.6%), and due to travel restrictions (20.7%).

The Hong Kong survey sample consisted of 1,001 people living in Hong Kong who have a passport; 352 are considering or would like to move abroad, while 116 are expats.

Reasons for returning home

Q: If you currently live abroad (not in your home country), since the Covid-19 pandemic, have you considered moving back home?

Fig 10 - Reasons for or against returning home since Covid-19 among those living abroad

Get the global perspective

Our full Global Movement Report reveals that despite cancellations occurring, worldwide 3 in 5 of respondents who had their relocation plans adjusted or postponed intend to go ahead with their move. Meaning people are waiting for restrictions to lift... does this mean we will see a surge in relocations?