Published on November 20, 2014
A Place to Grow and Thrive: Interning in Hong Kong’s Finance Sector
Although Hong Kong is no longer the small finishing village and trading port that it was originally named for, the “incense harbor”, Hong Kong’s literal name in native Cantonese, is now a beautiful blend of it’s cultural roots and modern advances. A fast-paced metropolis today, Hong Kong is a world cultural capital as well as a leader in several industries, including finance. For someone looking to experience the best of Eastern culture, while also gaining world-class experience and making connections with key players in the finance sector, Hong Kong is an unrivaled place in which to live and work.
An island off the coast of southwest China, approximately one quarter of Hong Kong’s 1,104 square kilometers has been developed. The remaining, untouched land is largely occupied by nature reserves and parks. Although the weather can be muggy and rainy during some months, Hong Kong has four distinct seasons and temperatures are pleasant all year round.
Hong Kong has been occupied by several different nations in the past; it’s history is diverse and fascinating. Today, Hong Kong is truly a meeting point for the East and West, which is one of many reasons that it is a great place to live and work in as a foreigner. Thanks to it’s strategic location and strong labor force, Hong Kong has been an attractive nation to others for as long as we know. Hong Kong has prevailed through Japanese occupations and a nearly 50-year colonial period under British rule. Today, Hong Kong is formally known as a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China. Since China began it’s leadership in 1997, Hong Kong has done away with many of it’s former British relics. They have been replaced by pro-Chinese sentiment, including the renaming of building and places and installment of Chinese holidays. Currently, Hong Kong is led by a Chief Executive that is elected by a large selection committee mainly consisting of pro-Chinese professional leaders and politicians.
Hong Kong is an affluent island today, with the world’s 6th highest GDP per capita in the world. Thanks to it’s modernity, low tax rates, and a host of other advantages, it is an attractive place to work for people hailing from all over the world. Hong Kong is a regional and global hub for finance and banking, and currently there is a large demand for skilled labor in these areas. Over 15 major financial companies and banks have headquarters in Hong Kong, in addition to many smaller local and global firms. A few of these major companies include the Bank of China Hong Kong, CLP Holdings, Hutchison Whampoa, China Unicom, and Swire Pacific.
Locals and foreigners share a strong work ethic in Hong Kong, and white collar professionals typically work a minimum of 9AM to 5PM from Monday to Friday. Often, those in the finance industry work longer hours and it is also not unusual to put in a half day at the office on Saturdays. Hong Kong has two official languages; English and Chinese, and Chinese is increasingly becoming the language of business. However, for those working in large, international companies, English will be sufficient for conducting your daily work.
The city it not a cheap one to live in, but the immense infrastructure, convenient and ample public transportation, and high quality of healthcare in Hong Kong all add to the attractive lifestyle that one can expect living there. Hong Kong is home to countless restaurants, many impressive gyms, and shopping options that range from local markets to high-end fashion and design. You can easily find the creature comforts of home in this large city, while also sampling new foods, learning about the primary religions of Buddhism and Taoism, and generally immersing yourself in native Hong Kong and Chinese culture.
Hong Kong’s financial philosophy focuses on growing a fair market through supportive laws and progressive tax policies. As an international financial center, Hong Kong has a large and integrated network of markets and institutions, mostly characterized by a high degree of liquidity. By taking on a financial sector internship, you will have many opportunities to learn about a broad array of services and sub-sectors. For those interns that work hard and are dedicated to the financial world, Hong Kong can be a prime location for networking and connecting with industry leaders. Thanks to the high number of national and international finance corporations in Hong Kong, an intern here will be exposed to a wide diversity of work, people, and philosophies. This is a huge advantage for someone just starting out in the finance world, and can help to bolster your skill-set and shape your future career path. It’s exciting to know that the opportunities are abundant for those that work hard in Hong Kong, even if you’re interning for the first time and have limited experience in the sector.
Thanks to the fast-paced and stimulating environment, the high-quality of life one can enjoy there, and the abundant professional opportunities present, Hong Kong is an ideal place to live abroad and work as an intern. As a foreigner moving to a new region or simply a new country, everyday will feel like an adventure and you’ll never have a shortage of new activities in which to partake, things to learn, or places to explore. The financial capital that it is, Hong Kong plays an important role on the global scene. Working in this industry can open many doors. Not only will you learn on-the-job, but the possibilities of connecting with a professional mentor or finding your future employer are high. Of course, hard work and dedication are necessary, but you will naturally be inspired and stimulated by your surroundings in Hong Kong.
Moving to a new country can be daunting at the outset. You’ll not only have to learn about the basics of living and thriving in a new culture and place, but you’ll also be juggling the workload of a new, quick-moving job. However, for those that are adventurous and ambitious, the rewards you’ll experience from interning and living overseas will feel endless. Experiencing a new culture, connecting with locals, and taking in the stimulation of wondrous sights will all become part of your daily routine. On top of these delights, you’ll work hard in a resume-boosting job that proves your adaptability, maturity, and skills. If all of this sounds exciting and inspiring to you, then don’t discount a finance internship in Hong Kong, otherwise you’ll certainly be missing out.
Apply now to boost your career!
Photo 1. based on Stocksnap.io, by Verne Ho
Photo 2. The Intern Group