Hong Kong might be largely considered as a tourist and shopping hotspot outside of Mainland China, but it is also a powerful economic hub and business centre that can stand to rival even Mainland China itself.
Experienced investors and entrepreneurs have no qualms when it comes to Hong Kong. This is because once you have made it well in China, it is almost a 100% guarantee that you can even make it bigger in Hong Kong. That does not just hold true for foreign entrepreneurs, but also for homegrown Chinese business people themselves.
In a Bain & Co survey (a consulting firm) in 2015, 71% of China mainlanders with over ¥10 Million in investable assets choose Hong Kong as their preferred place for offshore investments. The US of course comes in second, with 54% of the respondents saying that it is also their top choice of place for offshore investment.
It is understandable that the ultra-rich mainlanders would choose Hong Kong as an expansion arm. This is because they practically share the same culture and timezone with the population. Any marketing and business adjustments are all too minimal and less risky. Aside from that, good policies and low tax rates remain to be strong attractions for these entrepreneurs.
However, Hong Kong could also prove to be a good place for foreign investors and entrepreneurs alike, and below are five reasons why:
HONG KONG BOASTS OF A RAPIDLY GROWING ECONOMY WITH GREAT INFRASTRUCTURE
Hong Kong scored well in terms of economic freedom in a 2016 ranking by Heritage Org. It topped the list for the Asia-Pacific Region with an 88.6 score in economic freedom. This could be partly because the city is very friendly for both local and foreign entrepreneurs.
The government has a program called InvestHK which can assist foreigners who are seeking to establish a business in Hong Kong. Aside from that, foreigners are allowed to solely own a company and maintain high positions on them. InvestHK even have satellite offices in different major cities such as Singapore, Tokyo, Sydney, London, New York, and Brussels to make them accessible for foreigners who are thinking of investing or doing business in Hong Kong.
Of course, the bustling streets of Hong Kong are full with modern, skyrise offices, buildings, retail centers and efficient transportation systems which makes business and work life a lot more easier and hassle-free in this city.
LOW TAX RATES & LESS BUREAUCRACY
Bureaucracy and high levels of corruption can lead to paralysis in economic growth. Luckily, such are almost non-existent in Hong Kong. Registration and processing of documents for businesses are more efficient and fast in Hong Kong compared to mainland China. The city also enjoys political stability and safety. Corruption level in the city is also lower than the US and UK – being ranked 18th in a 2016 transparency report by Transparency International.
Taxes on the other hand are less burdensome. To start off, Hong Kong does not have a Value Added Tax (VAT), sale and estate taxes, withholding and dividend-based taxes. The only taxes that investors and entrepreneurs could worry about are profit, salary and property taxes which are only pegged at more or less 15% each.
THE GOVERNMENT IS HIGHLY SUPPORTIVE OF STARTUPS
Aside from InvestHK, several government programs aim to help startups get proper funding, loans and even marketing budget to get started. The government also laxed legal complications so aspiring entrepreneurs won’t be put off by the requirements of setting up the company.
RICH & DIVERSE POPULATION
Hong Kong does not just welcome foreign investors and entrepreneurs, but it embraces foreign talents and professionals too. The city’s immigration policies allows non-residents to work and stay in Hong Kong, and some can even be allowed to bring in their families to the city. This means that professionals and young, bright minds from other parts of Asia and the rest of the world can be recruited for startups and innovative companies.
In a recent report by the South China Morning Post, it found that many “newly rich” entrepreneurs have emerged in Hong Kong in the past few years, and these are usually the ones who tend to be more aggressive in terms of investment appetite. The majority of the new rich are classified under the IT and bio-technology industries. Manufacturing and retail businesses also remain a strong industry in Hong Kong.