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Hong Kong vs Shenzhen – What the money – Medium

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Before I ever set foot in Hong Kong, I had imagined it to be the ultimate city. Probably the timing was wrong — I’ve been to China, Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, all before Hong Kong. This is one of the vital financial centres of the modern world, beloved place for Chinese companies (and any others) to get their international business going and keep their personal wealth safe. Favourite Asian destination for shopping and food.

I imagined Hong Kong would be like Shanghai and Singapore — just more awesome.

Well, I’m sure to many people it is. And I do recognise that this city has its charm and soul. But oh my, was I in shock with our first acquittance.

Our first meeting did not go well. I’ve exited the airport and hurried to the cab line. They got 3 different lines with taxis going to 3 different regions. Alright, that is doable. But then I saw this.

Almost retro Toyotas and Nissans

Cash-only. Yes, you’ve heard me. CASH ONLY. Yes, in Hong Kong.

So I had to go back to airport and withdraw hard cash. It was very much needed throughout the whole stay, and still is, whenever I come this way.

I actually loved Hong Kong after the first shock from wrong expectations faded. But then I took subway to Shenzhen. And here you go.

Electric BYD

And not only that. Hong Kong and Shenzhen are only divided by 40–60 minutes of public transport, but it seems as decades separate them.


You can use WeChat Pay QR-code to pass through Shenzhen subway gate. You have to purchase a ticket in Hong Kong subway with cash. You can get a taxi via Didi app in Shenzhen, you wave on the road-side in Hong Kong. You can’t really do well with cash in Shenzhen. You can’t really do well without cash in Hong Kong. Bank cards are accepted in most venues, but yet not exactly everywhere, and Alipay and WeChat Pay are yet to push through.

So close and yet so far.

Hong Kong

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