Multinationals focus on cost and location
Cost and location are the main considerations of multinational corporations in Hong Kong when they look for suitable serviced apartment accommodation for their visiting overseas staff.
Iris Poon, human resources manager of Black & Veatch, said the company first looked at the overall cost of the accommodation. 'A convenient location is also important because most of the staff staying in the serviced apartments come to work on their own. The apartments should be close to the MTR network.'
Black & Veatch's office is situated in Kwun Tong.
'The apartments themselves should be well-maintained and the neighbourhood should be quiet but also have some shopping malls with restaurants and cinemas to provide some entertainment for the staff after work,' she said.
At Thomson Reuters, location was of vital importance, according to Elaine Lee, senior human resources executive of the company. 'As we are located in Tai Koo Shing, we usually put our overseas staff in accommodation on Hong Kong Island,' Lee said. 'The rents of the serviced apartments should fit [in with] our budget. They should provide a clean and tidy living environment for the visiting staff.'
Poon said Black & Veatch chose serviced apartments for overseas executives who stay in Hong Kong for more than one month. 'In the past year, we had around 20 executives from abroad who participated in local projects and stayed at serviced apartments. The budget depends to a large extent on the scale of the projects that these individual executives are involved in.'
In terms of the selection of apartments, the human resources division shortlisted the suitable options based on the location, facilities available and rents, Poon said. Then the overseas staff will make the final decision.
Thomson Reuters regularly had overseas staff on international assignments at its Hong Kong office, Lee said. 'Most will work and stay in Hong Kong for two to three years. Our company's policy is to put them in serviced apartments for the first few months and then we find them regular rental apartments for the rest of their stay.'
Generally, the monthly budget for local serviced apartments is from HK$25,000 to HK$35,000 at Thomson Reuters. 'It depends on the grades of individual staff and whether their families will be relocated with them,' Lee added.
'Studio units are arranged for singles usually and executives with families may get units with several bedrooms.'
The recent financial tsunami did not have much impact on the choice of serviced apartments by these corporations. 'The construction sector in Hong Kong remained robust despite the economic turmoil,' Poon said.
Lee of Thomson Reuters said the company had not been affected much by the economic downturn. 'We always stayed with serviced apartments offering reasonable rent.'