Hong Kong is currently number 8 of the top 10 cities for startup businesses according to Forbes.  There is a rapid globalization of the startup culture in Hong Kong.  Technology,  education,  healthcare  and clean energy startups have been emerging throughout the city since 2014. Hong Kong has a lot to offer expats who wish to establish their own small business.

Opening a business in Hong Kong is easier than other Asian countries. This is because the government has a quick, easy and affordable process that helps expats with their startups. All the information you need can be found here and most of the processes can also be done remotely. There are also Hong Kong formation companies you can hire to take care of the whole process for you which is convenient if you have limited time and patience for these kinds of things.

There are 5 basic needs for a Hong Kong startup:


Getting a virtual office is the quickest and cheapest way to get a business address in Hong Kong.  A virtual office means you don’t need  to rent out an actual work space but rather you will subscribe to the services of a business address, phone and fax numbers and even a multi-lingual staff to answer your calls. This is quite convenient for businesses who are only starting out with the home office. The cost of a virtual office is about 300 to 400 USD a year. For startups who need to lease a space, there are numerous listings you can find here:Hong Kong Offices for Leasebanking

Currently, HSBC holds the  majority of small and big businesses as well as personal banking in Hong Kong. Other international banks you can try are Citibank, Standard Chartered, Lloyds Bank and Wells Fargo. The challenge for expats may be opening an account which requires you to be in Hong Kong in person. Transfers may be done electronically.visa

If you are the sole owner or own a majority of the business, you will not be eligible for a work visa. Otherwise, you can stay with a simple tourist visa and extend it for another 90 days by going over the border to China and making a trip back. There is also a type of visa called business investment visa which is for expat business owners who wish to open shop in the country. The most important documentary requirement to submit in order to apply and qualify for a business investment visa is a 2-year business plan stating the nature of the business, market analysis, market positioning, business direction, sales targets, product marketing strategy, etc. You will also need to submit a projection of profit and loss, cash flow statement and balance sheet to prove your business’ feasibility. Read the complete guide here: Business Investment Visa Info

If you’re bringing your family to Hong Kong, the business investment visa will allow you and your family to stay for 12 months after which, the government will check in to see your progress as an entrepreneur.insurance

Public Liability Insurance is a prerequisite for any startup in Hong Kong. This insurance protects the holder from claims by third parties against negligence, death, injury, loss and damage of property, and economic or financial loss.

If you’re hiring a small staff, you will also be required to have Employee Compensation Insurance. According to section 40 of The Employees’ Compensation Ordinance, no employer shall hire any employee unless there is in force a policy of insurance to cover their liabilities both under the Ordinance and at common law for injuries at work in respect of all their employees, irrespective of the length of employment contract or working hours, full-time or part-time employment. You can pay a fine of up to $100,000 and 2 years in jail if you fail to comply.

For other information on Business Insurance, read our blog here: Business Insurance in HK


Creating professional relationships and business networks is also one of the easiest ventures in Hong Kong because of the country’s thriving consumer culture. There are  numerous events for expats where you can meet fellow entrepreneurs and executives for expanding your contacts and your company. Online networking has also made this process a lot easier.  LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter have served as lucrative platforms for getting your business off the ground.

For more information on setting up your business in HK, refer to InvestHK a government body dedicated to helping businesses within the country as well as guide them to move in Hong Kong.