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Hong Kong is one of the world's most vibrant business cities, particularly for the financial industry with which it is closely associated. But to pigeonhole it as a city built purely on finance is to do it a massive disservice. With a growing number of startups choosing it as a base and a rising reputation as a place where entrepreneurs and innovators can make their breakthrough, Hong Kong offers a diversity of opportunities that matches its increasingly cosmopolitan and international populace.
Hong Kong offers a diversity of opportunities that matches its increasingly cosmopolitan and international populace
Tech companies gather in the custom-built Cyberport complex on the south side of Hong Kong Island, as well as out-of-town facilities such as the Science Park close to Sha Tin, while many small app developers and digital agencies operate from the proliferation of coworking spaces that have sprung up across Hong Kong Island in the past few years. Creative agencies rub shoulders with design studios and PR companies in the hip Sheung Wan area, while the ongoing expansion of the MTR rail network has opened up former industrial districts such as Wong Chuk Hang and Chai Wan, attracting creative types from the world of art, fashion and design.
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Characterised by the speed and ease with which things get done — bank accounts can be opened and a new company registered in two days — the city operates at quite a pace. As a recently coined local saying goes: "A Hong Kong second is a New York minute."
Virtually every business meeting in the city gets under way with the 'Hong Kong handshake' — the exchange of business cards. These should be presented and received with both hands, and then studied carefully for a few seconds, ideally accompanied by a sage and solemn nod. The traditional concept of 'face' is important. This essentially means showing respect for company hierarchies and avoiding potential embarrassment, so strive to be complimentary and try to steer clear of anything that could be even mildly insulting or confrontational.