Why Canadians should consider doing business in Hong Kong

27/05/2015

Doing Business in Hong Kong

Doing Business in Hong KongIn 2014, bilateral trade between Hong Kong and Canada was valued at US$4.6 billion, with exports reaching US$2.9 billion and imports worth US$1.68 billion last year. This makes Hong Kong Canada’s 6th largest export destination for goods.

On May 23, 2015, International Trade Minister Ed Fast and Hong Kong’s Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So announced the conclusion of negotiations on a foreign investment promotion and protection agreement (FIPA) between the two countries.

The agreement is another step in making trade and investment easier for Canadians doing business in Hong Kong, considered a priority market under Canada’s Global Action Plan.

FIPA ensures fair treatment for investors and creates a more transparent business environment by setting out rules governing investment relations, dispute resolution and protection against discriminatory practices.

Strong Hong Kong-Canada ties

When you look at the statistics, it’s clear that Canada has strong ties with Hong Kong, economically, historically and culturally.

There are approximately 300,000 Canadian citizens living in Hong Kong, the second largest Canadian population outside of Canada, and over 500,000 people of Hong Kong descent living in Canada.

Canada and Hong Kong SAR share a “birthday”, both celebrating national holidays on July 1st, as well as historic ties with Britain.

Additionally, Canadians will find a lot of familiar faces in Hong Kong. All of Canada’s financial institutions already operate there, alongside recognizable multinationals like Air Canada, Manulife International, Sun Life Financial Asia, Delmar, Four Seasons Hotel and the Port of Montreal.

Canada’s Consul General in Hong Kong, Ian Burchett, said:

Hong Kong continues to play a strategic role as an effective and efficient super connector for Canadian companies looking to expand in mainland China and elsewhere in Asia.

Rich possibilites for Canadian SME’s

Hong Kong is a prime market for potential growth for Canadian investment, particularly in the financial services, agricultural products, processed food, transportation, communications technology, sustainable technologies, professional services and education sectors.

Currently, there are over 160 Canadian companies based in Hong Kong.

Canadian small and medium sized enterprises are realising the possibilities that the city has to offer – companies like Nanoleaf, the brainchild of three University of Toronto graduates. The company is lighting up the LED industry by producing the world’s most energy-efficient bulb.

Headquartered in Hong Kong with offices in Shenzhen and Toronto, Nanoleaf’s light bulbs are manufactured in Dongguan in China, meaning the team can make frequent visits to the Dongguan factory and keep an eye on quality control.

Hong Kong is truly an international hub for business and we can’t imagine choosing anywhere else to set up shop

Jonathan Tam, Nanoleaf’s Business Development Manager – Asia Pacific, said in an interview for the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) business information website, Hong Kong Means Business.

“The city has all the essential elements to become a high tech hub: proximity to China and its manufacturing/supply chains; rule of law to protect intellectual property; favourable taxation; a strong talent pool; favourable government resources; strong logistics hub and access to quality capital. We strive to be a global company with a global perspective, and being in Hong Kong is allowing us to achieve that vision.”

How Canadian companies can put their best foot forward in the Hong Kong market

Now that you know why Canadians should bring consider expanding to Hong Kong, here are three things the experts at HKTDC recommend any prospective business owner should do before entering the market.

1) Visit the city first. Experience Hong Kong’s thriving startup scene and talk to those who are here making it happen. Touch base with an outgoing and helpful business community that welcomes newcomers from all over the world.

2) Do your homework. Assess the market for opportunities and challenges related to your particularly industry or sector. A great way to do this is to keep an eye on the HKTDC’s business intelligence platform, which is particularly useful for small companies as much of the information is free. Check out http://research.hktdc.com/

3) Contact Invest Hong Kong. Those thinking of starting a business in Hong Kong should get in touch with Invest Hong Kong, which helps companies find a foothold in the city – Newcomers will be amazed at our easy it is. Go to http://www.investhk.gov.hk/index.html for more details.

Think Asia, Think Hong Kong event to bring Hong Kong networking opportunities to Canadians

To help set Canadian companies on the path to doing business in the region, HKTDC will stage the largest Hong Kong promotion in Canada, “Think Asia, Think Hong Kong” (TATHK), in Toronto on June 8.

TATHK is organised annually by the HKTDC around the world, and the promotion will gather business and political leaders from Hong Kong and Canada, with a view to lifting bilateral trade and investment between the two locations.

Some 1,500 Canadian business leaders, government officials and SME’s are expected to take part in TATHK

Hong Kong SAR Government Chief Executive C.Y. Leung is set to lead the mission, which aims to build contacts and promote the opportunities for Canadian companies to partner with Hong Kong counterparts and use Hong Kong as a springboard to markets in the Chinese mainland and throughout Asia.

More than 100 government and business leaders from Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland will be taking part in the promotion, which is supported by 16 Hong Kong partners as well as more than 80 supporting organisations in the US and Canada.

Thematic sessions will cover:

  • Selling to China and throughout Asia
  • Hong Kong: The Gateway for Chinese Outbound Investment
  • Hong Kong – A Base for Technology Companies to Grow Their Asian Business
  • RMB Internationalization.

For more information on TATHK, please go to: http://www.thinkasiathinkhk.com/2015/en/index.html

Are you thinking about expanding your business in Hong Kong?

If you’re going to the TATHK event, tweet @FITTnews when you are there and we will retweet your interesting shares.

 Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the contributing author, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forum for International Trade Training.

About the author

Author: Parker Robinson

I am the Head of Corporate Communication at the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), the international marketing arm for Hong Kong-based traders, manufacturers and services providers. With more than 40 offices globally, including 13 on the Chinese mainland, the HKTDC promotes Hong Kong as a platform for doing business with China and throughout Asia. We provide information via trade publications, research reports and digital channels including the media room to help companies, particularly SME's enter the market.

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