– Mainland and foreign business owners in Hong Kong, together with The Chief Executive of HKSAR (Mrs. Carrie Lam) AlphaConcepts Co-founder & CEO (Irish Ong) on her right. –
Hong Kong is one of the best places for establishing and expanding a business. Reasons that the country is recognized as a premier business hub include location, trustworthy economy, world-class infrastructure, and a business-friendly environment.
Hong Kong is a highly dynamic city and is considered a perfect platform to Mainland China and Asia. Throughout the years, the HK Government have been religiously helping and uniting startups from within the region. InvestHK, The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, is the main entity that works with overseas and Mainland entrepreneurs, SMEs and multinationals that wish to set up or expand their business in Hong Kong. Their main goal is to strengthen Hong Kong’s status as the leading international business with the following core values: passion, integrity, professionalism, customer service, business friendliness, and responsiveness.
Just recently, the HK Government House had an exclusive Chief Executive Reception where Mrs. Carrie Lam herself thanked and welcomed new businesses to Hong Kong. Irish Ong, professional model turned Co-founder & CEO of influencer marketing tech platform AlphaConcepts attended the event. Among those startups who were also invited are the ff: CALS Aviation Group – a new aircraft operating leasing entity, Juewei Food – producer of savory meat snacks, Irvin’s Salted Egg – specialist in salted egg chips, Halal Planet – an app that showcases Hong Kong’s halal products, Shadow Factory – a creative VR agency, T’way Air – a fast-growing low-cost airline from South Korea, MemePR – a one-stop marketing platform for businesses, Oddle – leading white-labelle e-commerce platform, Operation Smile – international medical charity provider for people with facial deformities, Hauser & Wirth – leading international gallery, Zac Group Ltd – asset manager specialising in real estate, Micepad – an award-winning digital content and audience engagement app, Astrakhan – consulting firm specialising in management, Baunat – a fast-growing online reference for fine jewelry, Gida Limited – an HK company with both French and Japanese origins, PingPong – an innovative payment facilitator, Miro – an applied AI company, Hush Home – producer of sleep-improving products, Pocket Change – an all-in-one solution for travellers wanting to convert their money to digital benefits, and a lot more. The purpose of the event is for the officials to personally meet and thank all the Mainland and foreign investors. The gathering was followed with a networking session.
(photo source: MCO Crypto)
Here’s a summary of what transpired on the event:
The Chief Executive (Mrs. Carrie Lam), Director General of InvestHK (Stephen Phillips), and Acting Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development (Dr. Bernard Chan) all gave a speech that day.
Mrs. Carrie Lam discussed three important points to take note of:
1. Common Issues Faced When Moving To HK
- Poor Air Quality – Hong Kong’s main pollution is mainly contributed by power plants and motor vehicles. The two biggest challenges are local street-level pollution and regional smog. Good news? The local government is undertaking a number of initiatives to improve it. HKSAR endorsed a set of regional emission reduction targets for the coming years to improve air quality. Back in 2013, the Environment Bureau released “A Clean Air Plan For Hong Kong” campaign to tackle air pollution from power plants and sea-land transports. The initiatives are still ongoing as of this writing.
- Shortage of International Schools – This is one of Hong Kong’s obstacles in attracting foreign staff. Majority of employees on international assignment in Hong Kong are having problems in finding their preferred school for their children. In 2015, the expansion and development plan began in order to meet the high level of demand. Sites were assigned to five operators to start the project in different outlying areas in Hong Kong. These schools are due to open on or before 2019. The HK Government is truly making efforts to build more international schools, as what is said by Mrs. Carrie Lam herself.
- High Rental Cost – Hong Kong is one of the most expensive cities, most especially in terms of real estate. Home prices rose 11% in 2017 and residential property price index soared 15.3% from last year to January 2018. The price boom is highly influenced by the demand which continues to outpace supply. The Chief Executive explained that they cannot do anything about this for now. For the meantime, she hopes that HK people and visitors can enjoy the cultural activities that the government has prepared all-year round—the relatively large amount of greens and outdoor sports areas in almost every district.
2. Pros of Living in HK
- Extremely Low Crime Rate – The Chief Executive discussed about Hong Kong’s safety. Compared to international cities like London and New York, Hong Kong’s crime rate is only less than 1k per year. This is very low and a good indication that HK is a very safe place to live or start a business.
- Low Tax – Hong Kong taxes are among the lowest in the world. There are four marginal tax brackets of 2%, 7%, 12%, and 17%. There is also no capital gains tax, dividend tax and inheritance tax in Hong Kong. This is one of the reasons why Hong Kong is a good place to launch a business.
- Free of Corruption – The HK Government are spending the country’s money in important projects that would benefit the whole nation.
3. Technology Investments and What Hong Kong is Doing About It
- InvestHK is Built To Serve Companies Setting Up in HK – The role of InvestHK is very important for entrepreneurs looking to set up a business in Hong Kong. They can help in planning, setting-up, launching and expanding your proposed business. InvestHK also offers a wide range of customised services for their clients.
- Initiatives, Exhibitions & Conferences – One of the most tremendous proposed projects by HKSAR is the Belt & Road Initiative. It’s about improving infrastructures and eliminating air pollution and carbon emissions through technology. The government hopes that this will be grounded in the principle of sustainable development. Another one is the Innovation & Technology Fund (ITF). Back in November 2016, a 500-million Technology Voucher Programme (TVP) was launched on a pilot basis under ITF to subsidise SMEs in using technological services and solutions to upgrade their business processes. Alibaba, a tech org in Hong Kong, is teaming up with SenseTime to launch a Not-For-Profit Artificial Intelligence Lab in order to make the city a global hub for artificial intelligence. As for the conferences, RISE is one of the most successful. Dubbed as “the most brilliant minds in tech”, it’s an event where people from the world’s biggest companies and most exciting startups come to Hong Kong to share their stories and experiences. The most recent RISE commenced last July 9 of this year. Other tech conferences set to happen later this year are Yow! Hong Kong, The AI Summit, Microsoft Tech Summit, EmTech Hong Kong and a whole lot more. These conferences will help businesses in Hong Kong to get in-depth information about latest innovations and improvements within the realms of technology.
(photo source: invest.gov.hk)
The Chief Executive is encouraging more investments in technology such as AI, blockchain, cryptocurrency, esports, fintech, IoT, AR, VR, and other digital tech and platforms. New technology generally allows for things to get done more quickly and efficiently. HKSAR is investing heavily in technology and hopes to become one of the fastest-growing smart cities in the world.