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Hong Kong

Hong Kong is one of the world’s premier financial hubs with a truly international citizenry. Its emerging startup ecosystem has a strong community identity — in part due to StartupsHK — and has access to tremendous government support through initiatives like the Cyberport and InvestHK. Given Hong Kong’s significant financial sector and high number of wealthy individuals, entrepreneurs have reasonable access to capital which attracts startups throughout Asia. Still, the city is a small market so most startups must immediately scale internationally. And finding talent can be difficult, as the population tends to be risk-averse with many talented students preferring secure jobs with established businesses. Hong Kong’s proximity and ties to China is a mixed opportunity; while the city is a great base of operations for entrepreneurs interested in the massive Chinese market, recent protests and political unrest are an x-factor going forward.

In This Market

These businesses offer industry expertise and are a source of startup talent and potential customers. They help fuel the local startup community.

Opportunities

  • Hong Kong is a financial capital. The number of banks creates numerous opportunities for fintech startups, but also has positive implications for access to capital.
  • The regulatory environment is very business-friendly. Starting a new business is cheap, takes only a few days, and taxes are really low. Intellectual property also receives more protection than mainland China.
  • World class shipping and logistics provides an advantage to retail and eCommerce startups.
  • Interest in startup investing is growing. There are many wealthy residents of Hong Kong who made money in non-tech fields such as real estate, finance, and mining that are beginning to engage with the startup community.

Risk Factors

  • Real estate is extremely expensive, making it difficult for a bootstrapping startup.
  • Talented students who would otherwise start their own businesses are more likely to work for established companies because of the stability that they provide.
  • A risk-averse investment atmosphere means access to upstream capital is problematic for early to mid-stage startups.
  • While Hong Kong’s proximity and close relationship with China can be a huge boon for startups addressing the mainland market, it brings with it political opacity.
  • Because of Hong Kong’s small size, startups must quickly scale internationally in order to stay competitive.
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