Hong Kong aiming to woo post-Brexit businesses

Hong Kong Island skyline

It’s been a symbolic year for Hong Kong with the territory marking 20 years since the end of British rule. Much has happened in the two decades since the handover, a time when the likes of Hanson and Oasis dominated chart music and phones were dumb, with Asia – and China especially – now on the up.

With now clearly a good time to cash in on China, especially with whatever is happening with Brexit, Hong Kong is keen not to be overlooked by reminding people that it’s traditionally a way in.

Supported by more than 60 UK organisations, “Think Asia, Think Hong Kong” will be a trade event held in London on 21 September with the aim of attracting companies to use Hong Kong as the starting point for expansion to Asia.

Speakers will include political heavyweights Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam and Trade Secretary Liam Fox, among other bigwigs, and the main topics will include the things that have been buzzing in Asia in recent months, from Belt and Road to FinTech, as their press release  explains in more detail:

  • Doing Business in China and throughout Asia – the startup scene in Asia and the support available including fundraising;  middle-class consumers in Asia; the development of online shopping and cross-border ecommerce; and the new approach of marketing, branding and customer engagement using tech and new media
  • Hong Kong: Gateway to Belt and Road Opportunities – Infrastructure financing experts in this panel will share their insights on the Belt and Road Initiative means and how Hong Kong can help UK businesses connect with opportunities arising from this
  • FinTech –  Why global FinTech companies are attracted to Hong Kong, as well as sharing their vision for the future of Hong Kong

Registration is now closed for the main event (I know, I know, you’ve read this far), but you can register onsite for the seminars, apparently.

Hong Kong SAR: 20 years later, it’s time for 2.0

Hong Kong Island skyline

Has it been twenty years already? 1997 was a memorable year for people in Britain, for reasons good and bad. Among other events, Hong Kong was finally handed over to China, marking a new era for all concerned – Hong Kong especially.

Much has happened in the two decades since, and of the three territories, it’s China with the glowing school report. The nation is exerting its influence from Africa to Indonesia, while domestically cities such as Shanghai are luring top global talent, eager to have a stab at the world’s biggest market.

In contrast, Hong Kong and the UK have both seen relative decline (let’s be honest), becoming increasingly divided and unsure of themselves. The parallels between the two are obvious.

But life goes on, as they say, and Hong Kong is the ultimate embodiment of life. No matter who calls the shots; the territory remains a supreme machine, where 7 million people combine efficiently and tightly to keep its wheels turning.

This is hustle and bustle on steroids (if you’re looking for balance, you’ve come to the wrong place), with Hong Kong operating with an intensity and impatience that makes London feel like a country club in comparison.

Yet despite the blistering pace, Hong Kong feels remarkably risk-averse. If Silicon Valley’s mantra is “move fast and break things”, Hong Kong’s spirit can be better described as “move fast and keep things unchanged”. From tech to housing and public light shows, the city now trails behind Shanghai, Singapore and even neighbouring Shenzhen.

There is, mercifully, a growing appetite for disruption. Call it what you want: fintech, regtech, wealth tech, biotech, travel tech, the movements are out there, eager to cement Hong Kong’s “hub” status in the region, leveraging on the city’s strengths.

To get “there” – frankly there is no final destination, as this is a process of constant reiteration and reinvention – Hong Kong will need to overcome its biggest adversary. Not Singapore, not China, but itself. It won’t be easy.

As Hong Kong enters its third decade and adulthood since the handover, new opportunities (and challenges) await that will better serve the “intrapreneurs” and change makers among us. We could be witnessing the start of a new era altogether. And if anyone can help put an end to the city’s whopping cost of living, beers are on me…

Free seminar to examine post-Brexit opportunities in China and Hong Kong

River Huangpu in Shanghai

If you’re in the UK on Thursday 8 June, there is one event that you can’t afford to miss if you have an interest in Brexit. Perhaps two if you include the General Election.

A free seminar networking event for businesses in Gloucestershire and surrounding areas aims to shed light on how businesses in Britain can take advantage of the current golden opportunities to enter China and Hong Kong markets.

Hosted by culture experts Join in China, the seminar will feature top speakers, including a Minister Counsellor from the Chinese Embassy and government representatives from Hong Kong and the UK.

The event will be held at Hartpury College, Gloucester, 9am – 2pm, meaning that you will still have time to dash to the polling booth to cast your vote (or spoil your paper, if you think a hastily called election is a load of ballots). You can register your interest here.