Topics Covered in this Episode
- Can you introduce yourself and InvestHK to the audience today?
- InvestHK offering services in all phases of a Hong Kong company – planning, setup, launch, and expansion. So say I’m in Hong Kong for a few days to do my business banking and accounting for the year, I can stop by and get real world advice on my business from your department?
- Can you give an example or case study of how you’ve helped a company in the planning / setup phase?
- Can you give an example or case study of how you’ve assisted a company in the launch / expansion phase?
- Whats 1 tip for someone who is just at the beginning stages of starting a Small to medium sized business in Hong Kong?
People / Companies Mentioned in this Episode
Episode Length: 15:27
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Introduction: Welcome to the Global From Asia podcast where the daunting process of running an international business from Hong Kong is broken down into straight up actionable advice and now your host, Michael Michelini.
Mike : Thank you listeners for tuning in to another episode of Global From Asia. We’re at Episode 5. And I have here today with me Charles Ng from InvestHK. Thank you for coming Charles.
Charles : Thank you very much, Michael, for having me.
Mike : Okay, so just like to start off, maybe introduce yourself and the InvestHK organization.
Charles : Sure, I’m Charles Ng, Director General of Invest Hong Kong. I oversee the division of member of ahh key sectors like services, division technology, ICT, as well as our international operations. I’m also looking after a new project which is the startmeup Hong Kong project, which is initiative looking to attract startups from around the world to setting up using Hong Kong as launch path as they appear in Hong Kong.
Mike : Okay great.
Charles : Invest Hong Kong is a government department, in charge of using foreign direct investment. So what we do is we are a one stop shop service. We offer one stop service to all overseas and million companies. Interested in using Hong Kong as the base to growing their business. So yeah oversea companies from around the world across many different sectors using Hong Kong as the base to grow the business in Asia Pacific. Also in Mainland China. And we also have ahh made in chinese, coming to Hong Kong using Hong Kong as a sprint board to go global. And we help large multinational corporations and facilitate and set up their expansion here for global headquarters to SME’s that are looking up to setting up and expanding here. But also startups entrepreneurs, who want to use Hong Kong as knowledge path for their start businesses.
Mike : Got it. Okay, so follow up the introduction, I’m in your office today. It’s really beautiful office right in central Hong Kong.
Charles : Thank you.
Mike : Yeah, we’ll put some pictures on the episode.
Charles : Sure.
Mike : Just so I understand, entrepreneurs are startups business are large multinational could book an appointment with you?
Charles : Oh sure, our service is free of charge and confidentials. So our discussions are confidentials with the client. Ahh we invest Hong Kong has network of 27 different offices around the world in all the key business cities which cover many different geographic markets. So we have teams geographic teams in the America, in Europe, in Asia to cover basically most geographical regions. And companies entrepreneurs, anybody, can call upon us, too, just go to our website. And you will be able to find the contact these representatives offices. We have these representative offices around the world. In Hong Kong, we have 8 sectors specialist, sector team, that basically, basically who serve the client in terms of providing very specialize information about that bigger sector. So for example the head of our financial services, the team would provide the facilitation for the bank or financial service, setting up here, information about direct relation or what else the procedures to set up here in Hong Kong. As well as to looking at fully oversee person on entrepreneur in Hong Kong Invitation need accreditation with schooling or work visa we act as facilitator. We would introduce the relevant stakeholders to them to make sure that they are able to get the information, relevant information on their own choice and when they decide to set up here, we would direct them to other service providers or different type of contacts that they need to get the business going and ahh to direct them to different organizations so that they can be using the minimum time to re-grow the business.
Mike : Okay. I was reviewing your website and I see, four main more services, four main parts of setting up a company, or running a company in Hong Kong. And that’s the planning to setup , the launch and the expansion?
Charles : Right, so usually what we do is, if the company, depending on the company’s needs, we always tailored made service. Basically we act as account management type of service. And we make our service and information based on the needs of the client. Because every individual business entrepreneur has different needs. And depending on their different stages they coming in, and or at the stage where we meet them. Because sometimes we meet up almost ready to launch then we will provide type of service that would need to basically come here whatever sort of for example if they need to meet up with regulator or to get a license for example to open a restaurant, we facilitate with that. If they need a work visa, we facilitate with that. And if they need to find an apartment or retail store for example, we facilitate with that to see ahh what business they are, when they want to set up. How, plus the budget, position, so we would direct them to the right people for them to talk to, that can make their own choice. And we also provide when you talk to them about the various phases, so information is very very important. We do provide them with useful relevant information that will help them to make their decision. And because we do have choices, we do respect that. So once they made the decision about the Hong Kong is the best place for their business or for their future and decide to come up and we provide them basically all the information in terms of information about to start up with a bank account, what are the procedures to register as a company and if they need a service provider to help them with that, we will direct them to service provider and ahh we will assist them to where everybody would have a chance and we service provider will take on that. So if they need somebody with French speaker, French speaking lawyer, we would identify the number of service provider would have these capability. And it’s up to them to pick up to contact these people, and they could also have other service provider if they wanted to. So basically we are offering a one stop service to make it easy for anybody who wants to set up, it doesn’t matter whether if it’s large company, one person company, we will facilitate information so that they can make their own choice. And make as soon as possible they can really come to Hong Kong and set up. So we will do all that for them.
Mike : Okay, great! I think maybe some people can understand more clearly through example. I know you have confidentiality agreement, you don’t have to explode names.
Charles : We can talk about it, couple of companies. I’ll take an example of a technology company ’cause this is public domain so I can talk about it. It’s called One Earth Design and it’s a technology startup that bring solar power to remote rural communities. What we do is we help that company that we introduce them to Hong Kong Sandspark, which is a Hong Kong member and partner and ahh the set up in Sandspark because they wanted to do something in Hong Kong. We facilitate them in terms of introducing them to funding schemes that is available for startup entrepreneurs. We facilitated with number of other services, introduction to different stakeholders that they would need to. And also, in terms of process that we talk about so other than information and also introduction to different stakeholders. We also do some marketing, for example, we did a case study, in regards to, case study so what we did is we would get a colleagues to interview and find out more, and would write up on this case. So that this would appear in our newsletter. And so what we will do is we go to case studies, all stakeholders listed on our database so that people will get to know them and will put that on our. website as well. In some cases were ahh it’s an exciting company, for it’s a really news worthy, we would also ensure that, do a press release, joint press release together and so on and so forth. And all that services is all free of charge that we provide. So we look after the information aspect to provide the facilitation that company can start the business as smoothly as possible. And we provide the marketing initiative to help them start their business here and people would get to know them as well. And we would invite to clients to relevant events that would interest to them. Where they could meet other potential clients, potential suppliers, partners or stakeholders, that they would want to work with. So this is a innovation design and innovation technology company would have other some own invest Hong Kong events which will invite them, too. Or would invite them to events that would sponsor for example. We believe this is very important on networking for them to get to know a lot of people to really integrate community as quickly as possible so they could get started in the business. So it’s a very friendly environment. We want to make sure that they get to meet the right people.
Mike : Sure, you are talking about events, I know ahh there’s one coming on December 5th. Maybe you can talk about it.
Charles : Sure. The event on December 5th is the Startmeup Hong Kong venture forum, which basically a few months ago we had a global competition which is the Startmeup venture program where we had a global competition. We had a 384 entries from 39 countries and what we did was, we look at the number of independent judges and ancestors to look at these entries and 12 finalist were shortlisted. We invited these 12 finalist to come to Hong Kong. To actually pitch to the Hong Kong business community, to the startup community as well. And also to the investor community Hong Kong. We’re expecting over 500 people central government office. Actually that event we’re pleased to have our financial sector officiating. Also, we’re these 12 finalist will be pitch in to do business and start up and medium community. And we have also invited member of very prominent speaker. One of which is Silicon Valley Timothy Draper, very well known startup community in the world. And world renowned, we invited him to be our speaker, and we also invited 3 other gentlemen from Beijing, as well as Mr. Jon Medved from Israel. As well as Mr. Richard from UK, so all these people are very very in tune with what’s going on with e-commerce system. They could share with us their experiences, building in the system for the startups. So we’re very very excited with these events. And registration is on startmeup.hk website to register for that.
Mike : Okay, so thanks for that. Hopefully we have some example of expansion.
Charles : Sure.
Mike : Maybe there are some companies existing.
Charles : I’ll talk about example, very interesting, if company sort of make up kind of product, for facial. Originally, typically, when brands come to Hong Kong, these brand came to Hong Kong and they went through a vendor, 3rd party vendor brands and tested the market. They feel successful. Good time on that, this company, we’d help them expand basically growing from. Just present the brand to open their own store and their own spa. So that’s, this is very exciting. Typical example of expansion for a retail brand where to test of water they come in and find in Asia to present and once they feel they have enough business tracking and customer follow up they are able to stand in marketplace, huge potential here. Then they would go out and open store. Introduction to different stakeholders, can get a store.
Mike : Okay, great. And what’s like a tip for listener to day. May wanting, after this podcast. Maybe they are not aware of.
Charles : In the website quite comprehensive. Contact names there. Hong Kong is very diversified economy. Whether financial sector or in the transporting, products, or creative industry or ICT, even innovation technology, all business professional service, law firm or professional services can actually contact anyone of us. A name and contact details. They can contact person in their geographic market. And will get in touch with them. Facilitate their understanding. Information about what are the people are doing. Field to share with them what others are doing. What are the things. And once they have all the information and understand the marketplace. They want come and setup. Delighted to talk to anyone. Any industry, any company, any size of company, any nationality. It’s all very smooth.
Mike : This is very helpful. The audience will check out the site. They should schedule an appointment.
Charles : Just talk to us and contact one of us. Will provide them full service we can provide.
Mike : That’s amazing. Thank you so much Charles.
Outro: To get more info of running an international business via Hong Kong, please visit our webiste at www.globalfromasia.com that’s www.globalfromasia.com. Also, be sure to subscribe to our iTunes feed. Thanks for tuning in!