Hong Kong the gateway to mainland China
Written on the 17 April 2009
HONG Kong has one of the most open and externally oriented economies in the world.
Rated as the 11th largest trading economy, the city has for more than a century prospered as a trading centre at the geographical and economic centre of Asia and as the gateway to mainland China.
There is nowhere better than Hong Kong to obtain the expertise, information and facilities needed to tap into the immense mainland Chinese market, where an understanding of international markets gives it a unique and versatile economic role as China starts to open up.
Not escaping the global slowdown, HK continues to attract high levels of foreign direct investment (FDI). Due to its unique geographical position, flanking the mouth of the Pearl River Delta, it is perfectly situated and offers a business-friendly gateway for trade with China.
Hong Kong’s world-class financial, marketing and technical expertise and sophisticated infrastructure with the mainland’s rapidly developing manufacturing and services base has created a win-win situation. It benefits from a transparent legal system and highly skilled workforce, making the city a major hub for international finance. This strong position will continue on following the government’s decision to further lower the corporate tax rate.
The pro-investor climate is also improved by the absence of red tape, significant corruption and any major security threats. Finally, the preferential access that Hong Kong enjoys with the mainland ensures that the territory will carry on drawing substantial overseas investment.
Thousands of international companies involved in China trade have chosen to establish in Hong Kong. The city is a major international banking centre and the base for some of the region’s most important corporate headquarters. This offers great opportunities for Australian businesses. Its economy is robust enough to weathered the current economic shockwaves, forecasting economic growth of 4.1 per cent in 2009.
Invest Hong Kong is a special administrative region government department charged with encouraging and facilitating foreign investment into the city by providing support for enterprises or investors. It can assist investors in matters such as business incorporation, business registration, trade licences, trade mark registration, visa application, recruitment and choice of office location.
It also assists when liaising with government departments, organisations and chambers of commerce; identifies and matches potential investors with business partners in Hong Kong and overseas; plus generally assists foreign enterprises with information on Hong Kong’s business environment and investment regime.
Business Environment and Culture
Hong Kong prides itself in the ‘little government, big market’ approach, where the comparatively light hand of regulatory bodies ensures Hong Kong remains of world-class standard while providing the pro-business framework that creates a just and level playing field. The government lives by the mantra ‘market leads, government facilitates’.
With next to no natural assets, the primary economic sector is negligible in terms of contribution to GDP and employment. In the last 20 or so years, GDP constituents have changed from 69 per cent of services and 30 per cent manufacturing to 90per cent services and around 10 per cent manufacturing.
This testifies to Hong Kong and its inhabitants being widely renowned for their ability to adapt and reinvent. Now that manufacturing has largely moved over the border to the mainland, Hong Kong is embracing its role of manager, financier, marketer, logistics organiser, trader and in tourism, the key industries which now comprise the majority of GDP and employment.
Trade in goods and services expanded by around eight times and three times respectively in the last 20 years. Looking at the total value of the trade of goods and services, it amounts to more than 300 per cent of GDP.
Hong Kong’s total trade comprises roughly half imports and half exports, of the latter, re-exports form the lion’s share. Key markets for Hong Kong are the US and the mainland.
Since the economic reforms introduced by the mainland in 1978, business between Hong Kong and the mainland has increased significantly, with Hong Kong handling more than 20 per cent of the mainland’s foreign trade.
There are various bodies such as the Hong Kong Trade Development Council and Hong Kong Productivity Council that help Hong Kong businesses trade and stay competitive in the world market. The Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce also plays a key role in this. It is one of the largest voluntary chambers in the world.
According to the latest World Investment Report 2006 (from the United Nations), Hong Kong was the second largest recipient of foreign investment in Asia (mainland was the first) and was the sixth largest recipient in the world. It is the largest investor in the mainland, and mainland investment in Hong Kong amounts to some 2000 enterprises and over 25 per cent of the total stock.
Hong Kong International Airport is repeatedly voted as one of the best airports in the world. It operates on a 24-hour basis. Daily non-stop flights are available to major cities in the Asia Pacific, North America, Europe, the Middle East and South Africa. Taking a flight from the Hong Kong International Airport, one can reach most countries in Asia within five hours. Air AsiaX flies from the Gold Coast to Hong Kong via KL.
Mandarin Oriental is located in the centre of HK Island and is tucked among the glitz and high-rise in central, perfectly located for holidays or business stay. Walking distance to Lan Kwai Fong, the impressive mall and skyscraper complex in the city, this spectacular hotel caters to every whim, from business demands to exotic spa treatments.