Current business situation
Hong Kong is considered the financial centre of Greater China as one of its
richest and most developed regions, and serves as a two-way interface
between the mainland and the world. In recent years, the Hong Kong
Government has focused on boosting innovation and technology, as well as
attracting early stage companies to market.
The Chief Executive’s policy address, included the Government’s commitment to promote innovation and technology to
bring new economic drive and improve people’s daily lives. Part of this
commitment involves establishing the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation Park as
an international IT hub in the Bay Area, which would supplement Hong Kong’s
existing sophisticated IT infrastructure.
Hong Kong also boasts world-class innovation, technology and science
infrastructure. It is home to the Science and Technology Park and
Cyberport, which host over 680 and 1000 tech companies respectively. These
communities are designed to foster tech culture, encourage collaboration
and nurture talent through incubator and accelerator programs. The
Government has also established five tech R&D centres focused on
Automotive Parts and Accessory Systems, Information and Communications
Technologies, Textiles and Apparel, Logistics and Supply Chain MultiTech,
and Nano and Advanced Materials.
The Hong Kong Government is also focused on attracting overseas startups
and early stage companies to the region. With generous tax incentives for
SMEs, as well as a large co-working space industry, Hong Kong has developed
a robust startup ecosystem. There are also a number of government bodies
established to assist and fund tech companies in Hong Kong, such as:
Invest Hong Kong, the department of the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau, runs
the StartmeupHK Initiative to
support overseas tech companies that plan to set up offices or expand
existing business in Hong Kong. Through this initiative, start-ups can
access free advice and services, as well as events and resources.
The Innovation and Technology Commission
Technology Talent Admission Scheme, which provides a fast-track arrangement for eligible tech
companies/institutes to admit overseas talent to undertake R&D work
for the Commission.
The Hong Kong Trade Development Council
(HKTDC) was established to create opportunities for Hong Kong
businesses. In particular, it runs programs to support startups and
SMEs that have core or substantial operations in Hong Kong, such as the
Startup Express. It also organises the
Think Global, Think Hong Kong
event to attract more overseas companies to use Hong Kong’s service
platform to tap into the mainland and global market.
Australian regional base in Asia
In addition to being an international hub, Hong Kong is known as a being an
Australian regional base in Asia. Hong Kong is home to approximately
100,000 Australians and has over 600 Australian businesses operating in the
region. There is a large Australian business network that includes the
Australian Chamber of Commerce Hong Kong and Macau (AustCham), which is the
largest Australian business community outside of Australia as well as
Support Australia, an umbrella group representing key Hong Kong-based
Australian organisations that includes the Australian Consulate-General and
Australia-Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement. For more information, visit
DFAT about A-HKFTA.
Any Australian business looking to conduct business in Hong Kong will need
to take local cultural dynamics into consideration.
The exchange of business cards is a must in Hong Kong, so it is advisable
to carry a large number with you at all times. Business cards should be
presented and received with both hands.
Exporters should send as much documented information about their companies,
products and services as possible in advance of their visit. Business
visitors must remember to follow up on meetings when they return to
Australia. The quality of your agent or representative’s contacts is
crucial and business introductions are vital, as companies do not deal with
unknown or recommended contacts.
Answer enquiries, proposals, correspondence and invitations as soon as
possible. At the very least, immediately send an acknowledgement stating
that an answer will follow shortly. If you do not show sufficient interest
and speed in your correspondence, your potential customer will easily find
another firm who will.
Many Hong Kong business people will have an English first name, used with a
Chinese family name e.g. Peter Chan. In this case, the family name is used
last, as in Australia. Normally when a Chinese name is written, the family
name comes first, with the given name following e.g. Mr. Chan Tai-Man would
be addressed as Mr. Chan.
Dinners and lunches with local representatives and customers help to
develop networks. Seating should be arranged so that the Australians are
spaced evenly with the Chinese guests.
Chinese place importance on punctuality and visitors should do their best
to avoid arriving late. Itineraries should take this into consideration and
allow adequate time to move from one appointment to the next.
Avoid embarrassing your Chinese contacts in the presence of others. To
avoid the person losing face, discuss any criticisms in private. In some
cases, it may be helpful to use an intermediary to convey criticism,
particularly with someone of high social status.
The exchange of gifts is not widely practised in business in Hong Kong.
Setting up in market
Hong Kong is one of the easiest markets in which to set up a business. Invest Hong Kong, the government agency established to help overseas businesses invest, provides significant resources and advice on setting up a business. The Australian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong and Macau also has information for those considering setting up a business.
Banking and finance
Hong Kong is a global financial and business centre that is home to some of
the largest investors in the Australian economy and serves as the
international springboard for mainland Chinese companies with a mandate to
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) is the government authority in Hong
Kong responsible for maintaining monetary and banking stability.
The Global Financial Centre Index places Hong Kong as the third leading
global financial centre, only after London and New York. 
Furthermore, Hong Kong is the 3rd largest course of foreign
direct investment (FDI) globally after the US and mainland China.
It is also the number one centre for international renminbi (RMB) trading,
sharing about 76% of the world’s RMB clearing activities.
Hong Kong is well-known for its low tax regime and sound legal, accounting,
and financial services. As part of its strategy to encourage early-stage
companies to enter the market, the Hong Kong Government also announced in 2017
that it would provide tax relief to small and medium-sized enterprises; a
profits tax rate for the first HK$2 million of profits proposed to be
lowered to 8.25%, and standard tax rate at 16.5% for profits exceeding that
Global Financial Centres Index 2018
UNCTAD World Investment Report 2018
HKTDC Hong Kong Economic Fact Sheet
HKTDC Hong Kong Economic Fact Sheet
Links and resources
Government, business and trade
The Australian Association
The Australian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong
Customs and Excise Department
Food Laws in Hong Kong
Hong Kong-Australia Business Association
Inland Review Department
International Arbitration Centre, Hong Kong
Intellectual Property Department
Invest Hong Kong
Listing of HKSAR Government and Related Organisations
News and media
South China Morning Post
Please note: This list of websites and resources is not definitive. Inclusion in this list does not imply endorsement by Austrade. The information provided is a guide only. The content is for information and carries no warranty; as such, the addressee must exercise their own discretion in its use. Australia’s anti-bribery laws apply overseas and Austrade will not provide business related services to any party who breaches the law and will report credible evidence of any breach. For further information, please see foreign bribery information and awareness pack.