By Rosie Rice
Roughly 2.5 months have past since I’ve been in the U.S. I can say I’m ready to get home, but already know I’ll miss many things about the Eastern World, Hong Kong, especially.
First, has to be the entrepreneurial spirit. My friend Martina, whose been on one too many of my excursions, blogs for Startups HK. She frequently is invited to start up launch parties and gets to interview the brains behind the venture. Most startups in HK are fairly easy to start. Government regulation for new businesses is fairly simple and involves little hassle. It seems that no matter the market, startups have a better chance and a more even playing field in Hong Kong.
Second, is the efficiency. The “octopus card” has been a Godsend. This card mimics the contactless payment model that the U.S. kind of started to adopt. However, its reach in the U.S. isn’t very broad. In HK, nearly every person owns an octopus card. It is the dominant form of payment for the transportation systems, as well as most grocery and retail shops. A check out process for a couple items is no longer than 7 seconds. The octopus card is preloaded with HKDs (HK dollars) and is scanned on a pad. The card does not have to be removed from a wallet, and can also be “read” through a purse. I’ve also seen it built into a watch!! It is the most efficient and convenient payment system I’ve witnessed.
Third, though this is still a maybe… is the youthful spirit of the people. At least in Central District, where most people go to work and party, the crowd is fairly young, dedicated to their careers, and always willing to spend time sharing their story. The workforce of HK is a large combination of ex-pats. Because of this, there doesn’t seem to be many family ties or obligations… that to me almost seemed that people were selfish- but in a good, carefree, self-discovery type of way.
Forth, which is a personal bad habit, is that HK operates on “rubber band time”. 10 o’clock can mean anywhere from 10:00-10:25… and sometimes even later. The lax time habit is somewhat contradictory to HK’s reputation of being “go, go, go”; but I do have to admit, I loved it.
Signing off to attempt packing. I’m determined to come home in the suitcase I brought, and not have to buy a second!