The benefits of starting a business in Hong Kong as an ex-pat are apparent. For one, you will have access to the best and most highly skilled labour force available in the world. The salaries paid to foreign workers in Hong Kong are competitive. In addition to this, your business is far more likely to be approved for a foreign business license. Working with a local partner company instead of an expatriate firm will also provide you with better access to local suppliers. Moreover, setting up a business as an ex-pat from Hong Kong will provide you with a host of opportunities and benefits that would not be available to you as an expatriate working outside the UK.
Starting a business in Hong Kong as an expat means that your primary investment will be in the funds required to start your business. The capital required can be as low as just over US $500 or as high as nearly a thousand dollars. Having a bank account that is active and has not been dormant for two years is also essential. Having a social security number and proof of residence in Hong Kong is often required.
Because you will be working in a new country, your direct costs will be associated with travel costs. Hiring a local translator for meetings and telephone conferences is a requirement for most ex-pats. Even if you opt for a service provider for making these meetings, it is still beneficial to have a local one to cover the necessary gaps in communication. Access to Wi-Fi services is also helpful when going out for a meeting.
When working as an ex-pat, you are not restricted to the one sector of the economy available. It means that you can expand your business as an ex-pat by finding a suitable partner location in Hong Kong. Expats prefer working in areas that have a thriving local market. For example, unlike many developed countries, real estate in Hong Kong is relatively cheap.
Finding an excellent local business mentor is one of the best ways to succeed as an ex-pat. Having someone to guide you through the start-up process, especially if this is your first venture, will go a long way towards ensuring success. You can also learn a lot from a successful business owner. Mentors are invaluable in helping new ex-pats get off the ground.
Most ex-pats choose to set up a business within their local area. If this is the case, it is essential to choose a company that has excellent growth potential. A popular choice is to open a franchise. However, many national chain restaurants have gone bust in recent years, requiring ex-pats to start again in their businesses.
An essential requirement for any ex-pat enterprise in Hong Kong is office space. Locating a reputable business to rent or buy a building in which to operate is crucial. It is where word of mouth and the ex-pat community comes into play. Ask your friends, colleagues, and neighbours what they know of suitable property for lease or purchase in their local area. Property dealers also supply excellent information on the different types of ex-pat accommodation available and can even arrange a mortgage for those with less than perfect credit.
Expats also need to think about how they will fund their ventures. There are two main options: borrowing money from relatives or friends or setting up a business bank account. Be cautious when selecting either option, as some banks require ex-pats to open a report based on their citizenship, which can be a big mistake. Instead, consider using a local money-lending institution such as the Asian Development Bank (ADB). These institutions offer an inexpensive way of starting a business in Hong Kong, and you can even withdraw money without a hassle from your bank account.