Whether you're traveling to Hong Kong for business or for pleasure, you'll need to know that business hours in Hong Kong are nowhere near as straightforward as those in the United States, United Kingdom, or Australia.
While office workers typically work from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (or later, depending on the employee's role in the company), shops operate on an almost random schedule. Still, most stores will remain open between 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., though there are many shopping districts that stay open much later.
Additionally, office workers across this thriving metropolis oftentimes have to work half-days on Saturdays—typically from 9.am. to 1 p.m.—although the government is trying to phase out this business practice to cut down on employee stress by allowing for a traditional western two-day weekend. In fact, since new legislation passed in 2006, most governmental offices are now closed on Saturdays.
Standard and Varied Business Hours
Whether you're in Hong Kong on a work visa or have taken up permanent residence in this city, you're going to have to adjust to the business hours associated with offices and stores. While standard business hours maintain a rigid 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. schedule, many employees, especially those in managerial roles, will have to stay late.
Similarly, shops and other service industry establishments operate on a standard 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. schedule, though many of Hong Kong's shopping districts and boutiques will remain open even later until 10 or 11 p.m.
In Causeway Bay, Tsim Sha Tsui and Mongkok expect shops to remain open as late as 10 p.m., and Wan Chai and Western District shops also operate later hours. On the other hand, markets in Mongkok and Yau Ma Tei often don’t start operating until 3 p.m. and don’t turn the lights out until 11 p.m.
The Six-Day Workweek and Holiday Hours
Although the Hong Kong government is trying to do away with working on Saturdays (even though it's traditionally only for a half-day), many companies still practice a six-day workweek, expecting employees to show up from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday of the year, with the exception of city holidays.
Employees in Hong Kong are entitled to 12 paid public holidays and up to 14 days of paid vacation time, depending on how long the individual has worked at his or her company. These holidays, however, are city-wide, meaning that many stores and shops will also be closed for the full day.
Public holidays in Hong Kong for 2017 included the day following New Year's Day on January 2, the Lunar New Year between January 28 and 30, The Ching Ming Festival on April 4, Good Friday on April 14, Holy Saturday on April 15, Easter Monday on April 17, Labour Day on May 1, Buddha's Birthday on May 3, Dragon Boat Festival on May 30, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Establishment Day on July 1, the day following the National Day on October 2, the day following the Mid-Autumn Festival on October 5, the Chung Yeung Festival on October 28, Christmas Day on December 25, and Boxing Day on December 26.