HK Business News

Hong Kong: Poor Get Poorer, Rich Get Richer

The average salary of Hong Kong’s top earners is HK$88,800 a month, while the average salary of blue-collar workers is HK$3,400 a month.

Overall, one in six people, or 17.6% of 6.7 million people, struggled with poverty in the second quarter of this year, up 0.6 percentage points from last year, Oxfam Hong Kong said.

The figures, retrieved by the group from the Census and Statistics Department, show that the median household income of the lowest-income group was HK$3,400 a month. That was an increase of HK$400 in the last nine years, during which time the city’s richest 10 per cent saw their median monthly income surge by HK$18,800.

In 2003, the top 10% of the city’s households made HK$70,000 a month – 23.3 times the lowest-paid group.

The income gap between the rich and the poor has been increasing over the years. The number of poor people in Hong Kong has also been steady and slightly growing.

Appointments to the new Commission on Poverty were revealed by the Hong Kong government on Friday. Members will sit for a two-year term beginning Dec 1, 2012. The commission, which has six task forces, comprises four ex-officio members and 18 non-official members. They include four lawmakers, representatives from the business community and also former director of social services.

Several commission members expressed the hope that the government would adopt a new mindset toward poverty alleviation, instead of simply “giving out sweeties”.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong people’s resilience and the will to survive are unmatched anywhere else in the world. Thousands of elderly men and women scour the streets every day, peddling waste materials just for a couple of dollars to eke out a living. The number is on the rise as the poverty gap widens.

About the author

Alan Chiu Tsang

Alan is a freelancer photographer and author for
He graduated from Hong Kong university in 2005.