Doing Business: How to Export your Business to Hong Kong

Thanks to the advent of services like eBay, there are more small businesses eyeing up the world than ever before. However, how do you pick your destination? And once you do, how do you establish your business, finding shipping partners and work out what fees you will have to pay?

Whether you’re shipping from Harrow to Hong Kong or London to Los Angeles, Fastlane doesn’t just make it cheap – we make it simple. And though we’ve put together a great guide below, if you have more questions then we’re here to help. Just give our customer service team a call, and they’ll answer any questions you may have.

Why Hong Kong?

As a free port and the world’s freest economy for over 20 years, Hong Kong is an attractive proposition for many growing businesses. When you are looking to make your first forays into the international market, the free trade stipulations and business friendly regulations make Hong Kong a great place to start.

Thanks to a close relationship with China – technically a special administrative region of China, it is in practice autonomous in all areas except defence and foreign policy – Hong Kong is also desirable as a gateway to one of the biggest markets in the world. China lies just across the border, and a strong presence in Hong Kong can go a long way to establishing a presence in China too.

And because you don’t have to pay duties when you are shipping goods to Hong Kong, it’s one of the most popular export destinations in the world. With so many businesses and entrepreneurs shipping to Hong Kong, there’s plenty of support to be had if it is required.

Shipping to Hong Kong

The rewards for making the effort are high. With over £6 billion worth of goods exported to Hong Kong in 2014 and steady growth since, Hong Kong is the UK’s second biggest Asian market after China itself and falls just outside the top 10 worldwide. Bear in mind that Hong Kong also serves as a gateway to the UK’s biggest Asian market – China. This is reflected in the fact that most goods that are exported to Hong Kong are then further exported from Hong Kong. In fact, as much as 86% of goods exported over the course of a year are then exported again.

In 2014, top UK exports to Hong Kong included

  • Clocks, watches and time keeping equipment
  • Machinery and electrical appliances
  • Plastic products
  • Cars and car parts
  • Sound recording and telecommunications equipment
  • Scientific instruments

If the goods you plan to send aren’t on the list, don’t panic. You may have found a niche that is unexplored, or your goods are just a little further down the list. There’s no reason to believe there is no market for them.

Getting Started in Shipping to Hong Kong

As it is one of the friendliest export destinations in the world, Hong Kong has become a highly competitive market, with many mature companies calling the city home. As such, it can be difficult to establish yourself as a legitimate concern. In order to do so, you will require a local presence in the form of an agent or distributor, and will likely have to visit in person to establish a relationship with local partners.

As the main airport for the region, most your parcels will be directed through Chek Lap Kok international airport. Opened in 1998, almost all of Hong Kong’s international traffic is routed through Chek Lap Kok, which is now operating at near capacity. There is an expansion project underway and expected to be complete in 2023, which should be kept in mind when establishing yourself in Hong Kong. There may be problems or delays over the course of the construction, and a should be planned for.

Once your goods are in Hong Kong, they’ll be subject to one of the lowest and simplest tax structures in the world. There are three direct taxes, but you’ll likely only need to worry about two; profits and salaries. With a maximum of 17% and multiple ways to earn deductions, you will likely never have to pay the full amount.

Customs in Hong Kong

Since Hong Kong is a free port, which means that the goods that are exported to Hong Kong are not subject to import duties. However, there are a few goods that do have duties levied on them:

  • liquors (30% and above alcohol by volume)
  • tobacco
  • hydrocarbon oil
  • methyl alcohol

This shouldn’t be a concern for the most part however, as many couriers (like Fastlane) will not carry these goods anyway.

Challenges in doing business in Hong Kong

Because Hong Kong is so friendly to businesses and international shipping, there are few major challenges in doing business in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is the third easiest country in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index, and most of the population speak English, so even language barriers are not a particular concern. All you need to worry about are the same challenges facing small businesses throughout the world; boosting sales and building a loyal customer base.

Further reading

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