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Five reasons to base a startup in HK

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09 July 2015

Hong Kong might best be known for its role as a financial centre, but it’s also becoming a popular destination for new businesses to start operations. In the past three years, it’s been particularly noticeable how the startup community has grown. So what is it about Hong Kong that makes it attractive for entrepreneurs?

Regulatory Environment

As a free port, Hong Kong historically imposed few restrictions on business and it is a tradition that continues to this day: taxes are low and regulations light. In the World Bank’s annual Doing Business report, the city is a permanent fixture at the top of the table, along with Singapore and New Zealand.

And even amongst such company, Hong Kong rates well in terms of its protection of minority investors, the enforcement of contracts and the payment of taxes - all important considerations for a new business.

Government Support

The government of Hong Kong has always been business friendly. The change recently is that it has taken steps to improve the territory’s attraction to startups. For instance, InvestHK provides a facilitation service that assists foreign firms and individuals to do business in Hong Kong. What’s more, it does this at no charge.

But it gets better: there's financial support and even government grants available to develop promising ideas. So if you’re looking for funding, make sure to get in touch with organisations such as Cyberport Creative Micro Fund, Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks, the Hong Kong Design Centre, and the Innovation and Technology Fund

Mobile Penetration

The telecommunications system is one of the most advanced in the world and is borne out in the mobile broadband penetration rate of 170%. You didn’t read that wrong: there are more high-speed mobile subscriptions than actual people in Hong Kong!

What that means is if you’re a startup developing apps, Hong Kong is an ideal location to build an audience.


Think of Hong Kong and images of towering skyscrapers and throngs of people on the street come instantly to mind. Yes, it’s a crowded city (officially the second most densely populated on Earth). But the advantage of high density is it’s easy to meet investors, clients and other important stakeholders that are vital to any startup.

The Community

One notable development in the past few years is the rapid growth of the startup ecosystem. Not only are there now more startups themselves, but also related organisations. As an example, the number of co-working spaces around town has exploded.

Similarly, the sheer variety of startup-themed events is staggering compared with just three years ago, so it’s easier than ever to get out and spread the word about your new venture. It’s far from being exhaustive, but here’s a selection of organisations involved in the Hong Kong startup scene.


Photo credit: Benjamin So