Why Hong Kong
Hong Kong is strategically located at the heart of Asia, alongside many of the region’s most exciting business markets.
- Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore, Taipei, Manila, Kuala Lumpur and Perth are in the same time zone
- Bangkok, Jakarta, Seoul and Tokyo are within one hour’s difference
- Over 100 airlines offer flights to about 180 locations
- All Asia’s key markets are less than four hours’ flight away
- Half the world’s population is within five hours’ flight time
- About 1,000 daily flights between Hong Kong and the rest of the world
The gateway to Mainland China
Hong Kong offers easy access – commercially and geographically – to Mainland China business opportunities. The Pearl River Delta (PRD) region is immediately to the north of Hong Kong and business people commute regularly and easily between the two.
The PRD, as it’s commonly known, is China’s largest and most productive manufacturing region. It is home to tens of thousands of factories owned or managed by Hong Kong and overseas companies. As a result of its manufacturing success, the major cities of the PRD – Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Dongguan – are now among the wealthiest in China and have become strong markets for consumer goods and business services in their own right.
From Hong Kong to Guangzhou and beyond
Ensuring the smooth flow of people and cargo between Hong Kong and Mainland China is essential to business success. Several new transport links are under construction, including the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link.
- The rail link from Hong Kong to Guangzhou will cover 142 kilometres in 48 minutes
- It will link into existing train services on the Mainland, connecting Hong Kong still further with other major cities in southern China and beyond
- Wuhan will be accessible in five hours and Shanghai in eight hours, city centre to city centre
Low and simple tax regime
According to the 2014 Paying Taxes* study of 189 economies, Hong Kong has one of the most tax-friendly economies in the world. Why? The city only imposes three direct taxes and has generous allowances and deductions which reduce your taxable amount.
- Profits tax is capped at 16.5 percent
- Salaries tax is a maximum of 15 percent
- Property tax is 15 percent
More important are the taxes that Hong Kong does not impose:
- No sales tax or VAT
- No withholding tax
- No capital gains tax
- No tax on dividends
- No estate tax
The ease of submitting tax returns is another attractive part of Hong Kong’s business environment. Many people complete their tax returns themselves – a simple process – and can submit them online. Others rely on Hong Kong’s many accountancy firms, large and small, for cost-effective tax services and advice.
Free trade port
Hong Kong is known for its free port status and easy customs procedures. Duty is paid on very few products, for example, tobacco. One major recent change has been to make the import of wine and beer duty free. This has encouraged a thriving wine import, export and storage business serving retail and individual buyers. *Paying Taxes is a study commissioned by the World Bank and IFC which measures the ease of paying taxes across 189 economies worldwide. It covers both the cost of taxes and the administrative burden of tax compliance.
International, transparent and efficient
Hong Kong, Asia’s most popular city for international business, is a city that works. Its enduring appeal is built on political stability, the rule of law, free market principles, free flow of information, and English as the language of business. All businesses in Hong Kong benefit from:
- One of the world’s most open, and corruption-free economies
- Independent judiciary and the rule of law
- Free flow of information
The Globalisation Index 2012, released by Ernst & Young in cooperation with the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), shows that Hong Kong has the highest level of globalisation of the world’s 60 largest economies for the third consecutive year.
One country, two systems
Since 1997, Hong Kong has been under Chinese sovereignty but it has a separate political and legal system, based on principles that are best summed up by its ‘One Country, Two Systems’ concept. This has helped it to retain all the fundamental strengths that underpin its success as an international business city, while enhancing its appeal with unrivalled access to opportunities in Mainland China.
- Level playing field for all – no foreign ownership restrictions
- Clean government and rule of law upheld by an independent judiciary
- Free movement of capital, talent, goods and information
- Fully convertible Hong Kong dollar separate from the Renminbi (RMB)
- Autonomous executive and legislative powers
- Independent participation in international forums including the World Trade Organisation
- English and Chinese as official languages, with English the usual language of business and contracts
Among the world’s most corruption-free cities
Hong Kong is one of the least corrupt economies in the world, according to theTransparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2013. It ranks ahead of countries including Japan, the US and France. Cronyism, influence-peddling and bribery receive zero tolerance. This is due to Hong Kong’s strong public administration, which ensures that companies are free to pursue their business concerns on a level playing field. Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) provides free advice to companies on how to prevent corruption. Established in 1974, its success has been such that countries around the world, including Australia, have used it as the model for their own corruption-fighting agencies.
Independent legal system
With its commitment to the rule of law, Hong Kong is a popular place to structure contracts and settle disputes. Its legal system is based on the British Common Law system and it has a fully independent judiciary. The city also offers extensive mediation and arbitration services, which offer rulings that are enforceable in a number of jurisdictions.
Hong Kong’s free market policies
For the past 20 years Hong Kong has been ranked as the ‘World’s Freest Economy’ by the Heritage Foundation/Wall Street Journal. The index measures economies in 10 areas, including trade, business, investment and property rights. Hong Kong scored particularly well on business, trade and financial freedoms and government support for intellectual property rights. The free market and free trade is the life-blood of Hong Kong. As a result, it is one of the most open, externally-oriented economies in the world. Hong Kong embraces globalisation of trade and services and is an active participant in international organisations that promote such activities.
- The cornerstone of its economy rests on free enterprise, free trade and free markets open to all
- There are no barriers to trade – no tariffs, no quotas, no exceptions
- No restrictions on investments inward or outward
- No foreign exchange controls
- No nationality restrictions on corporate or sectoral ownership
From flow of information
Freedom of information is another core advantage that Hong Kong offers businesses. From getting a driving licence to checking your Facebook account, reading the daily news or researching potential business partners, Hong Kong is committed to transparent, timely and reliable information.
- Constitutionally-guaranteed free press and freedom of speech
- Information about government services easily available online
- Unrestricted access to the internet
Source: Invest Hong Kong http://www.investhk.gov.hk/why-hong-kong.html)