Hong Kong is one of the most important international trade and finance centres in the world, and its economy relies largely on these activities. Some of the most significant sectors are retail, logistics, financial services, professional services, and tourism.
Opportunities for Swedish companies
Sweden’s main export products and services to Hong Kong include telecommunications, vehicles, manufacturing equipment, chemicals and measurement equipment. These are industries where Swedish companies have a strong competitive advantage due to their high level of technological readiness. There are currently around 180 Swedish companies present in Hong Kong. Thanks to its cultural and geographical proximity and the free-trade agreement with the Chinese mainland (CEPA), it also acts as an important gateway and business operation centre for many companies in China.
Asia’s innovation hub
The Hong Kong office of Business Sweden also covers Southern China’s Greater Bay area. The so-called “China’s Silicon Valley”, with cities such as Shenzhen is a pioneering region for technology and innovation. The main industries in the area are the automotive sector, electronics, drones, Internet of Things, life science and software development. Thanks to the excellent level of English, the superb infrastructure, and highly skilled and efficient workforce, Hong Kong showcases consistent high scores on the global business environment rankings. According to our local office manager Johan Lennefalk, Hong Kong's GDP per capita is one of the highest in Asia, which means that companies in premium segments have a good chance of being successful. He explains more about the advantages of doing business in Hong Kong in the interview below.
How we can help
Business Sweden has supported Swedish businesses in Hong Kong with strategic advice and its local network since 1982. Together with our colleagues in China, the office in Hong Kong also covers Macao and southern China. Business Sweden in Hong Kong also works closely with Nordic Innovation House, a joint government initiative to give Nordic startups, scale-ups and corporations a head-start in the most relevant global innovation hubs.
Johan LennefalkOffice Manager Hong Kong
What are the main advantages for expansion in Hong Kong?
Many see Hong Kong as an interesting entry market for further expansion in the region. Thanks to its high GDP per capita, many premium brands see Hong Kong as a good test market for their products as they can gauge the interest of mainland China's tourists visiting Hong Kong for shopping. Swedish leading technology may find opportunities in the large financial and real estate sectors, or take advantage of the low entry barriers in the life science industry. In addition, Hong Kong has one of the lowest tax rates in the world, zero tariffs on import/export on majority of goods and generous immigration laws. Thanks to the fact that English is an official language and the easy access to skilled labour, Hong Kong is a promising market to do business.
What are the risks and challenges companies may face in Hong Kong?
Recent political turmoil has created challenges and risks for companies that were not present in the market previously. Moreover, the real estate market is one of the most expensive in the world, discouraging companies to set up operations in Hong Kong. High rent also affects aspiring retail businesses in Hong Kong. Renting joint offices, so-called co-working spaces, can offer a solution to this barrier.
Are there any cultural aspects to consider?
There are actually not many cultural aspects to consider. Most people consider Hong Kong as an easy market for expansion, since English is the main business language. However, it is always easier to have a local partner with insider knowledge who can help companies to find the right stakeholders and networks efficiently.