According to Akamai’s Q4 2015 rankings, Hong Kong has an average Internet connection speed of 16.8 Mbps and an average peak connection speed of 105.2 Mbps.
Out of the roughly 7 million people currently living in Hong Kong, 5.2 million were connected to the Internet in 2013, according to latest data published by the World Bank Group.
The infrastructure is well-developed and experiences fast-paced advancement owing to the fact that the Internet industry belongs to the private sector, and is divided between a handful of ISPs. Important names include: PCCW Netvigator, HGC, HKBN, and I-cable.
From an economic standpoint, the Internet industry significantly contributes to the state budget. In 2016 alone, it contributed roughly HK$146 billion to Hong Kong’s economy, and this number is only expected to increase in time.
As of 2006, HKBN has been providing speeds of 100 up to 1000 Mbps via FTTB and FTTH connections. The typical speed to international destinations is capped to 20 Mbps. According to data published by Numbeo, a basic Internet subscription costs approximately $30 per month.
While this cost may seem high at first sight, in comparison with what other European countries offer in terms of value for money, it should be noted that ISPs and the government take advantage of the fact that Hong Kong is traditionally a popular hub for international companies keen on setting up offshoots, mainly due to the proximity to China, but also due to other benefits, such as: modern infrastructure, transparent legal law based on English law, lower tariffs, etc.
The local web hosting industry is also prosperous, divided between dozens of reputable hosting companies. By analyzing some of the prominent companies, we have determined that the offering of each particular company primarily focuses on offering core hosting services, including Shared, VPS and Dedicated Hosting services. For each particular host, plans are discrepant in terms of pricing. While one company offers Shared plans on an “unmetered” basis for around $3 per month, another company may offer the same Shared plan, but with significant storage and bandwidth caps, for $25 per month. Dedicated Hosting seems to be the most sought after service on the market, too. All payments are usually handled in the local currency, while support for international languages such as English is comprehensive.
There are a handful of ISPs that control the market. Important names include: PCCW Netvigator, HGC, HKBN, and I-cable. HKBN provides speeds of up to 1000 Mbps locally – for international destinations, speed is capped to 20 Mbps. PCCW is generally considered to be the best company for international speeds, offering speeds of up to 1000 Mbps – however, only those who live in relatively new buildings can get this kind of speed.
Contrary to popular belief, Hong Kong is a very lenient country in terms of Internet censorship. Even though it is indeed legally and constitutionally part of China, it is declared by the People’s Republic of China as a “special economic zone”, along with Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen and many others. Therefore, it benefits from a series of considerable advantages that “mainlanders” don’t. One of these advantages include the comprehensive freedom of expression, well protected by the Hong Kong Bill of Rights. Even though there are rare claims of governmental interference in private matters on the Internet, it is widely known that the Internet is not only seemingly but also factually free: all websites, regardless of the content they display – barring illicit activities – are allowed to exist without having to obtain a license, while users do not need to worry about not being able to express their opinions freely.
Hong Kong is traditionally a popular hub for international companies to start their activity in due to many causes: modern infrastructure, transparent legal law based on English law, low tariffs, etc. However, for the average customer, this only results in maintaining high costs. Both ISPs and the government take advantage of the fact that international companies set foot in the country since there is a lot of money-making potential.