Hong Kong is a dynamic city with strong growth prospects. It’s business friendly. It welcomes expats. And, according to INSEAD, Cornell University and WIPO (the World Intellectual Property Organization), it’s one of the top markets in the world for innovation.
But the main draw for entrepreneurs is the city’s strategic location. Hong Kong is ideally located for growing companies that want to do business with mainland China and Asia. If your HQ is in Hong Kong, half the world’s population is less than five hours’ flight away.
Here are six reasons to start scouting the city for an office:
1. A gateway to mainland China
For more than 150 years, Hong Kong has been the preferred business access route to mainland China. Preferential access is given to Hong Kong businesses, courtesy of the free-trade Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement, and exports to China are tariff-free.
2. Business-friendly tax system
With income tax capped at 15 per cent, and corporation tax a mere 16.5 per cent, the Hong Kong tax system is clearly in favour of business. You can also forget your worries about tax on capital gains, offshore income, inheritance, and even wine or beer.
3. World-class infrastructure
With more than 85 airlines operating out of Hong Kong International Airport (the world’s fifth-busiest international passenger airport), the city is a global hub. It is also one of the most e-ready economies in the world, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit.
4. Global financial centre
The most recent Global Financial Centres Index names Hong Kong as one of the world’s top four financial hubs, alongside London, New York and Singapore. US economic think-tank the Milken Institute frequently ranks Hong Kong as the world’s best destination for entrepreneurs seeking to access capital.
5. World’s freest economy
Hong Kong has ranked number one in the Index of Economic Freedom since its foundation in 1995. That officially makes the city the most liberalised economy, and the ideal place to build and grow an enterprise, with a favourable climate for trade, investment and the movement of goods.
6. A place to live as well as work
With more than 50 international schools, high-quality healthcare, low crime rates and beautiful scenery (more than 40 per cent of the landmass comprises protected country parks), Hong Kong is a great place to live and work.
Nick Giles is co-founder of Seven Hills and the UK ambassador for Invest Hong Kong’s StartmeupHK Venture Programme 2013 – a major initiative which will provide funding, advice and a launchpad for entrepreneurs from the UK and around the world looking to expand into China and the rest of Asia.
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