Singapore VS Hong Kong: Tech Islands Showdown
Their combined land mass may be less than 3500 km², but these two countries are amongst the leading economic powerhouses of Asia, where talents gather from all around the world.
Singapore has among the world’s highest GDP per capita and is considerably further ahead than its close neighbours. Hong Kong is seen as the centre of trade and is just as impressive. The city is now fused with global level businesses.
What can we, the tech-talents, do about this? Which of these two countries should we choose to work in? Let’s compare how these two countries stack up for tech talents.
Hong Kong is 2,754 km², just slightly bigger than Bangkok. Composed of 3 pieces of land, namely, Kowloon peninsula, Lantao Island (its biggest island) and finally, Hong Kong island – where the financial district is situated housing hundreds of world class companies. Meanwhile Singapore is only 719.9 km² in size, and known as the 16th smallest country in the world. What can only be seen as a tiny spot in the Malay Archipelago is one of the world’s biggest economic powerhouses.
Currently Hong Kong has a population of 7,336,600 with a high population density of 7,075 per sq.km, while Singapore has a lower population, 5,612,253 per sq.km, but is super-crowded with a density of 8,274 people per sq.km. This fact is contrary to popular belief that since Hong Kong is full of gigantic residental buildings, its population density must be greater than Singapore. However, Singapore pales in comparison with Mumbai, the world’s most densely populated city, with a staggering 29,650 people per sq.km!
3. Language & Cultural Diversity:
It goes without saying that English is mandatory for working in both countries. As Singapore and Hong Kong are like the world’s office space with global level companies running their headquarters here, it is no surprise that talent comes from around the world to work here, thus making professional level English a must in career advancement. Also, keep in mind that 87% of Hongkongers speak Cantonese and knowing their language is a bridge to their hearts.
As for cultural diversity, cleary Singapore is a clear leader. While the majority of people in Hong Kong are of Chinese origin with a mix of westerners, the Singapore work environment is a great mix of westerners, Malaysians, Chinese, Indians and Filipinos. You will surely find yourself in a group of friends from diverse cultural backgrounds.
Working in a city with great food is the gift of life. For some, it could even determine whether you wanted to work in that city in the long term. Many Michelin-star restaurants are located in Hong Kong. Familiar Chinese food like wonton noodle, dimsum and delicious congee are always soothing. While you’re here, you must treat yourself to the famous roast duck and cha siu pork. While in Singapore, you can enjoy Hainanese chicken and rice, a hot bowl of bak kut teh, all kinds of curry, roti & mataba. These are the local dishes that are not hard to find. Food in Singapore and Hong Kong is without a doubt, equally delectable.
5. Cost of living:
For cost of living, both countries are known for being among world’s most expensive place to live. To give you a clearer comparison, we use The Economist ‘The Big Mac Index’ to compare the price of Big Mac burger which are available in many countries in same quality but different prices. Let the price of the Big Mac with average monthly pay compared both countries tell you more or less about how much of a struggle to live there.
When looking to live in any city, the cost of accommodation will inevitably take a chunk of your salary. At first glance, the wages may seem high, but take into account the sky-high rents of both cities, and you may not be quite as rich as you first imagined. While the price of a tiny single bedroom starts at about $390 USD per month, from there, prices rise and you may pay as much as $2800 USD per month to live in the fashionable shopping area of Orchard Street.
One definite plus point for both cities is that they offer an amazingly comprehensive and easy to use mass transit system. You can be whizzing around the islands in cool-comfort without worrying about either getting lost, or paying over the odds. As both systems are faultless, you may have to rely on the view from the window, or the style of station decor to make a judgement.
8. Tech Scene:
It seems that Silicon valley has expanded west, far, far west, in fact right across the Pacific. Take a look at the ever-growing list of tech companies that are opening offices in Hong Kong and Singapore. As this industry grows, so does the need for tech industry employees – and wages, as a consequence, are being driven northward. In fact, Forbes reports that employees in the tech industry are among the highest-paid in the world.