Looking to expand your business in Hong Kong, mainland China and other areas of the Pacific Rim? Criteria for locating a base of operations anywhere must include factors such as location and logistical merits, presence of an educated workforce, strength of the business and trade environment, tax and legal complications, ease of entry and departure, and quality of life.
For these attributes, Hong Kong ranks at the top of any list of potential business destinations. Many global companies, ranging in size from large multinationals to mid-sized expansions, seeking growth in the huge Asian markets have selected Hong Kong as the base of operations. Exciting and vibrant Hong Kong is ideally situated within easy reach of China, Taiwan and Philippines as well as Japan, Australia and South East Asia. Approximately half of the world’s population is within a 5-hour flight from Hong Kong’s ultra-modern international airport.
Unlike mainland China and most other countries, doing business in Hong Kong imposes few restrictions on foreign ownership and the inflow and outflow of capital. Imports are virtually duty-free so import, consolidation and reshipment are not burdened by additional costs. The tax system is simplified and accommodating, thereby encouraging investment and growth. While there are no taxes on capital gains and dividends, income taxes from salaries and profit taxes are capped at a comparatively low level of 15% and 16.5%, respectively, after normal deductions.
And inbound ocean freight costs to Hong Kong are extremely competitive due to the considerable outbound freight to North America, Europe, Australia, and the rest of the world.
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Hong Kong: Open and Accessible
A quick glance at a map of the Asian Pacific Rim will show that Hong Kong is the most centrally located major port in the region. Easily accessible to virtually any major market by land, air or sea, this multi-island city of 7.25 million people has been a doorway to the emerging China market for decades. While China port cities of Shanghai, Tianjin and Dalian have expanded in recent years due to China’s remarkable growth, Hong Kong still manages much of the freight that flows into and out of the mainland. Only a short distance to the major southern China industrial and distribution hubs of Shenzhen and Guangzhou, a high percentage of the production and consumption of this important region flows through the Port of Hong Kong.
Hong Kong also serves as a major export, trans-shipping and consolidation point for goods moving throughout the Pacific markets.
As for ease of travel, the Hong Kong International Airport is only minutes from downtown Hong Kong or Kowloon via the efficient Airport Express train system. Built in 1998, the airport is the 10th busiest in the world. According to flightstats.com, the Hong Kong International serves 50 million passengers per year with 100 international airlines coming and going to over 180 destinations. For travel to mainland China, direct flights from Hong Kong airport go to 45 destination cities.
Daily flights to Tokyo, Manila, Ho Chi Minh City, Singapore, Jakarta, Bangkok, Sydney and the major India cities are available via several international airlines. Hong Kong’s own Cathay Pacific, ranked among the top airlines for service and dependability by frequent travelers, serves each of those destinations plus others in Europe and North America. As many as seven airlines provide direct flights from Hong Kong to United States and Canada destinations.
Hong Kong: Focal Point For Commerce in Asia
Prior to the changeover from British rule in 1997, many thought that the entrepreneurial and free trade spirit of Hong Kong would be lost once the Peoples Republic of China gained control. On the contrary, with the adoption of the now familiar “one country, two systems” policy, doing business in Hong Kong continues to thrive. Hong Kong is officially designated a Special Administrative Region (SAR) that retains constitutionally guaranteed rights of free speech and free press. The legal system based on British jurisprudence remains intact.
Doing business in Hong Kong is easy since the system maintains a level playing field based on the concepts of free enterprise and honesty. Hong Kong participates fully in the WTO and the Hong Kong dollar is fully convertible. Internet access is totally unrestricted.
Hong Kong has been the marine and trading center of Asia for many years. With a mature business and legal system, free trade environment, positive attitude toward free enterprise, and readily accessible banking supports, there are few places in the world that maintain the same combination of positive conditions.
In 2013 Hong Kong’s deep natural harbor accommodated 22.3 million TEUs (20-foot container equivalents) of imported and exported goods. Also, according to statistics.com.hk, Hong Kong handled over 4 million tons of air cargo in 2012 alone, approximately double the amount managed by rivals Incheon, Dubai and Shanghai. World trade is Hong Kong’s business.
Hong Kong: Stepping Stone for Entry into China
Because of the unique position as a geographic and political part of Greater China, Hong Kong is a natural starting point for entry into the mammoth mainland China market. The infrastructure for business entry into China has been in place in Hong Kong since the opening of that market decades ago. Logistics companies and forwarders, marketers, banks and law firms all specialize in moving products into China, each fully familiar with the intricacies of China law and bureaucracy. Trade organizations and government consulates based in Hong Kong are ready and willing to assist their fellow countrymen to market their products in China.
Hong Kong is Livable
The quality of life in Hong Kong is a delightful mélange of East and West cultures, making it one of the world’s most truly international cities. Though the population is largely Asian, the official languages of Hong Kong a re English and Chinese. English is the normal language for doing business in Hong Kong.
Every type of cuisine is present and supermarkets and shops are loaded with local and imported goods. Westerners find living in Hong Kong to be an easy transition, finding most of their familiar foods from home while enjoying new and different delicacies. Housing varies from modern high-rise condos and apartments to private dwellings in gated communities. Public transit options are abundant with buses, ferries and the super-efficient MTR subway system that can whisk you from Hong Kong and Kowloon Islands to any of the outer reaches of the region. And a train trip to the China border city of Shenzhen for shopping or business takes less than one hour. The Hong Kong train system connects there to the currently modernizing China rail system.
World-class office space, hotels and shopping centers proliferate throughout Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Means Business.
Whether the objective is to develop a branch office, marketing hub or warehouse for the purpose of expanding sales into China and surrounding countries, doing business in Hong Kong is the logical answer. The environment is professional, fast-paced yet comfortable, exciting and truly business-oriented. Because successful and non-corrupt business activity is the lifeblood of Hong Kong, the government is adamant and committed to continuing to encourage businesses to expand through the legal and capital efficiencies that have made this focal point successful.
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