What’s the Difference between Hong Kong and Taiwan?

Hong Kong and Taiwan have many common points, like their geographic location and their relations with China. But in this article we’ll focus on their differences, and compare them point per point.

As a whole, Hong King has more independence than Taiwan, which is still under China’s control. In terms of economy, both countries are thriving, Hong King in the service industry and Taiwan mostly with manufacturing.

Keep reading to learn more about the differences between these two countries, it’s fascinating.

Differences in politics between Hong Kong and Taiwan

Politics is one of the most significant differences between the two countries. More specifically, how they are viewed in the eyes of China.

Hong Kong is a part of the People’s Republic of China. However, it operates under the motto of “One country, two systems”. Put simply, this means that they have a limited amount of independence. For example, they have their own:

  • Legal tender
  • Passports
  • Immigration controls

However, they are still part of China. As a result, the most important decisions will be made by those in Beijing.

An example of the way Hong Kong is run can be seen by looking at its parliamentary system. It is made up partly by elected representatives. However, it is also partly comprised of people chosen by Chinese authorities. The head of the country will be appointed by China.

The political situation in Taiwan is even more complex. To try and put it simply, Beijing views Taiwan as a part of China. They want to try and use the same one country two systems approach they used in Hong Kong. However, Taiwan is increasingly viewing itself as an independent country.

As a result, Taiwan has started to talk about succeeding away from China, to form an independent democracy. Many governments in the rest of the world, like the United States, also think that Taiwan should be treated as a separate entity from China. In reality, though, its actual status is very complex.

The political situation in both of these countries can be volatile. There were widespread protests in Hong Kong, over new restrictions that China was trying to impose.

The situation in Taiwan is more intense. Some people are concerned that China could try to invade, which could lead to a global conflict. Recently, the Taiwanese government went as far as training its citizens on what to do during an invasion.

You should also read: 8 Main Differences Between North Korea And South Korea

Tourism: Hong Kong vs Taiwan

Turning to more positive aspects, both Hong Kong and Taiwan have a range of tourist attractions for visitors to check out.

In Taiwan some of the biggest tourist attractions are:

  • National Palace Museum
  • Taroko National Park
  • Lungshan Temple
  • Sun Moon Lake

If visiting Hong Kong, I recommend visiting:

  • Ocean Park
  • Disney Land
  • Victoria Peak
  • Tian Tan Buddha Statue
  • Temple Street Night Market

Generally, both of these countries will be friendly and welcoming. This makes them popular destinations for international tourists.

Hong Kong and Taiwan also have different cultures

Another way of seeing the way that the countries are reacting to Chinese influence is by looking at their cultures.

Generally, the culture in Hong Kong will be a unique infusion of East and West. Over time, though, they are starting to be more influenced by the culture in Mainland China. The people will be open and friendly. Most of them will speak both English and Cantonese.

In Hong Kong, there are a few interesting cultural elements. This includes:

  • Love for nature. There is an intense desire for new real estate and more housing. Despite this, there are still national parks. Visiting these locations is viewed as a way of life for many of the people in Hong Kong.
  • Both East and West holidays are celebrated.
  • Thriving media. Before the Chinese took control of the island, it was a British territory. As a result, several newspapers, publishers, and television stations were established. These are largely free of government influence. Today, content from Hong Kong is spread around the world.

Taiwan is another unique blend of cultural influences. There are influences from China, Japan, and the West. This gives visitors a unique look at their history. They will be able to see ancient practices, which are no longer performed on the Chinese mainland.

Unlike Hong Kong, though, there is a greater focus on individualism. Furthermore, Taiwan tends to be more conservative, favoring traditional approaches.

Some of the most interesting parts of Taiwanese culture include:

  • Focus on the family. Taiwan is a patriarchal system, with the family at the center of everyday life.
  • Importance of food. Food plays an important role in Taiwanese life. Families will sit down and enjoy a meal together. These meals will often last longer than in other parts of the world. They are also likely to visit restaurants more often.
  • Unique arts. There are a few types of traditional arts that are still practiced in Taiwan. These include; sculpture, puppet shows, and dance.
  • Entertainment. There are several ways that people in Taiwan keep themselves entertained. Karaoke is hugely popular. People also spend a lot of time watching miniseries and anime. Comic books are also popular.
  • Convenience stores. One of the most interesting parts of Taiwanese culture is the number of convenience stores. They have the highest density of these stores on the planet. It’s estimated that there is one store for every 2,500 people.  

Economy in Hong Kong vs Taiwan

Both Taiwan and Hong Kong have strong economies. They have seen strong economic growth, which many economists expect to continue. But each economy will be driven by different factors.

I’ll start by looking at Taiwan. This is primarily driven by manufacturing. They produce the goods that the world needs. Some examples of these products include:

  • Petrochemicals
  • Electronics
  • Machinery

These areas have seen a spike in global demand. This has set Taiwan up for many prosperous years ahead. But this kind of export-driven economy can lead to some problems. If global demand ever starts to decline, the economy could start to shrink.

On the other hand, Hong Kong is primarily driven by services. This has also created a lot of growth. Plus, it gives them greater ability to adapt, so they can keep up with changing global demands. Some of the most important parts of their economy are:

  • Financial services
  • Tourism
  • Logistics
  • Production

Is Taiwan More Expensive Than Hong Kong?

Before going on holiday, I always like to know how far my money will go in the country.

As a general rule, Taiwan is more affordable than Hong Kong. This difference is fairly dramatic. According to some studies, a holiday in Taiwan will be 73 percent cheaper than visiting Hong Kong.

Is Hong Kong Safer Than Taiwan?

Both of these countries will have a very low crime rate. Because of this, it should be safe to walk around them late at night. More generally, though, both of these countries have had a few disturbances in the recent past. Hong Kong experienced widespread protests and rioting. Taiwan is at the center of a global political dispute.

I recommend using common sense. Many governments will advise travelers on what’s going on in foreign countries. If they start to raise the risk level, it’s time to go. Generally, though, I wouldn’t be too concerned about the politics of these countries when planning for my holiday. Just focus on having a good time.

Comparison Table

 Hong KongTaiwan
PoliticsThis is part of the “one system, two countries” framework. They have a close relationship with China but still have the ability to make independent decisions.This is a more complex situation. China views Taiwan as under its control. Taiwan is increasingly pushing for independence. This push is largely supported by the global community.  
TourismSome of the biggest tourist attractions include; Disneyland, Tian Tan Buddha Statue, and Victoria Peak. There are also plenty of national parks to explore.There are plenty of attractions to explore including; National Palace Museum, Lungshan Temple, and Sun Moon Lake
CultureThis is a strong mix of Eastern and Western culture, with both East and West holidays being celebrated. There is also a strong emphasis placed on nature.This is a unique blend of cultures, with influences from China, Japan, and the West. It is more conservative than other parts of Asia, with a lot of emphases placed on the importance of family.
EconomyHong Kong’s economy is rooted in the service industry.This is largely driven by manufacturing.

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