Invest Hong Kong (InvestHK) is the Hong Kong SAR Government's investment promotion agency. A government department, it aims to strengthen Hong Kong's status as the preferred business location in Asia. Its mission is to attract and retain foreign direct investment which is of strategic importance to Hong Kong's economic development.
With its global network of staff, InvestHK provides advice and customised services to companies planning to set up or expand in the city; and its support is free of charge. In all our work, we apply the following core values: passion, integrity, professionalism, customer service, business friendliness and responsiveness.
In 2014, the Department achieved the following results:
InvestHK is the first runner up
for Best Website at the FDI Association Awards 2014.
In the "Economic Freedom of the World: 2014 Annual Report" published by the Fraser Institute, Hong Kong remains the top place in the world's freest economy ranking.
InvestHK's corporate brochure won the Excellence in Economic Development Awards - Silver from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).
Karen Winton, Chief Marketing Officer, InvestHK (middle), received the plaque from William C Sproull, FM (right) - Chair, IEDC, in Dallas in October 2014.
2014 was another fruitful year for InvestHK. The Department assisted 355 overseas and Mainland companies to set up or expand their business in Hong Kong, and continued the StartmeupHK programme to encourage entrepreneurs to set up in Hong Kong to grow their business globally.
According to the 2014 annual report released by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Hong Kong was ranked fourth in terms of foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows in 2013. Hong Kong's FDI inflow rose by 2.6 percent to US$77 billion in 2013. Hong Kong continues to be the second biggest FDI recipient in Asia after Mainland China. According to the report, Hong Kong has been highly successful in attracting transnational corporations (TNCs) and has continued to be one of the major destinations for the headquarters of TNCs targeting the markets of Asia Pacific.
Hong Kong is not only an ideal place for multinationals and large corporations with global and regional operations. The city also possesses fundamental strengths that are conducive to the development of small businesses and entrepreneurs. Our economic freedom and our firm commitment to free trade and free enterprise are widely recognised. Hong Kong has maintained its top ranking in the Heritage Foundation's Index of Economic Freedom for 20 consecutive years. Our city also boasts a simple tax structure and low tax rates, a multilingual and industrious workforce, world-class infrastructure, as well as free flows of capital and information.
The second StartmeupHK Venture Programme and Awards Forum has further fuelled the entrepreneurial passion which forms the backbone of Hong Kong's economy. The increasing number of entries is a vote of confidence in Hong Kong's emerging role as one of the world's fastest-growing hubs for global entrepreneurs and startups. The business creativity as evidenced in the business plans submitted certainly acts as a catalyst to reshape and reinforce our city's home-grown startup culture.
During the year, InvestHK has organised a series of "Hong Kong – Your Platform to Going Global" seminars in various Mainland provinces and cities to encourage companies there to use Hong Kong's business advantages and the opportunities it offers under the national policy of "going global" to expand into overseas markets. As an international city in Asia, Hong Kong offers effective financial, insurance, accounting and legal services, all of which work together to create a comprehensive and modern service industry platform ready to assist Mainland companies.
Hong Kong has all the ingredients to become a leading hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. Looking ahead, the Hong Kong SAR Government looks forward to welcoming more overseas investors to bring the next generation of innovation and entrepreneurship in Hong Kong to the next level.
2014 was a record year for InvestHK in terms of completed projects. We supported 355 overseas and Mainland companies to set up or expand their business in Hong Kong, leading to the creation of more than 2,681 jobs. When surveyed, 95 percent of these companies rated InvestHK's services as “very useful”.
These completed projects came from 47 economies. Mainland China was the largest source of investors with 75 companies, followed by the US (44), UK (32), Japan (28) and France (25). In terms of business sectors, a large number of projects were in Tourism and Hospitality, Transport and Industrail, and Innovation and Technology.
In an annual survey jointly conducted by InvestHK and the Census and Statistics Department in 2014, the number of overseas and Mainland Chinese companies running business operations in Hong Kong hit an all-time high of 7,585 companies as of June 2013.
Looking ahead, InvestHK will continue to step up its investment promotion efforts in attracting companies from priority markets. We will continue to encourage Mainland companies, including both state-owned and privately-owned enterprises, to use Hong Kong as their springboard to go global. In the latest Greater Pearl River Delta (GPRD) Report published by InvestHK, the GPRD has grown in size and importance over the years and Hong Kong has been able to enhance its leading role in this fast-growing region as a conduit for direct investment to and from the rest of the world.
We will also focus on ASEAN economies as both trade and investment flows between ASEAN and Mainland China continue to grow. As well as ASEAN, InvestHK will set up a new consulting office in Mexico to serve the increasing number of Latin American companies looking to do business with Mainland China through Hong Kong.
The growth of the startup ecosystem has started to accelerate since the launch of the StartmeupHK campaign in 2013. In 2014, the 37 co-work spaces and incubators in Hong Kong recorded over 1,065 startups, a 30 percent increase over 2013. Together these startups employed more than 2,300 people. InvestHK will continue the StartmeupHK campaign to promote Hong Kong as one of the world's fastest growing startup ecosystems in the world, develop the angel investor environment and encourage local young people to follow their dreams and start their own ventures.
I wish the companies and entrepreneurs who have started their business in Hong Kong an exciting and fruitful journey ahead, and we look forward to welcoming more to our dynamic city.
The number of completed investment projects was 355, rising from 337 projects last year, and achieving five percent growth. Since its establishment in 2000, InvestHK has completed more than 3,440 investment projects, creating in excess of 37,500 new jobs in the first year of operation or expansion and over HK$91 billion of investment.
In 2014, Mainland China remained the largest source of completed projects, with 75 projects and a total investment value of nearly HK$5,200 million. This demonstrates that Mainland enterprises continue to use Hong Kong as an international platform to go global. Hong Kong will also play an active role in the development of the Greater Pearl River Delta Region.
Vice President of Tesla's China operations
Overseas businesses, particularly French companies, are showing strong interest in the Asian market, especially Mainland China. The number of French projects this year was 25, a 56 percent increase from last year. Strong flows of foreign direct investment from the US, UK and Japan also reflected international companies' confidence in the city.
Most of the completed projects came from the Tourism and Hospitality sector, mostly from the sub-sectors of food and beverage trading and manufacturing. Other sub-sectors with a significant number of projects included asset management, software solutions and garments/ footware/ fashion accessories.
The transport and automobile sector was also active, with multinationals such as Scania, Tesla, Renault, Audi, American Airlines and Airbus Helicopter, etc, expanding their regional operations from Hong Kong.
Scania (Hong Kong) Ltd
Foreign direct investment (FDI) creates employment and helps to broaden the base of Hong Kong's economy.
In 2014, companies that have been assisted by InvestHK created a total of 2,681 jobs, ranging from senior executives to junior positions. Investors found it easy to find the right staff from the high quality pool of workforce in Hong Kong.
General Manager, Mainfreight Ltd
Talent attracts talent. In 2014, the enabling business environment and a large talent pool in Hong Kong prompted many companies to set up their research and development base in Hong Kong. Some of the emerging new industries include:
Accenture opened its Fintech Innovation Lab
DrGene opened its DNA lab
Because of the high concentration of high net-worth individuals* and regional travellers in the city, companies are keen to set up their regional operations or showrooms here, creating many exciting job opportunities. Some of these companies include:
According to the World Wealth Report by Capgemini and RBC, high net-worth individuals (HNWIs) are defined as those having investable assets of US$1 million or more, excluding primary residence, collectibles, consumables and consumer durables.
Through the concerted efforts of InvestHK's sector specialists based in Hong Kong and overseas teams, foreign companies are able to get one-stop support services and advice — be it setting up their first branch or office in Asia, or relocating their regional headquarters or even global headquarters to Hong Kong.
InvestHK is these businesses' first port of contact. With Hong Kong's unique business advantages, InvestHK has been able to accelerate the decision-making process and help companies settle in the city smoothly and easily. From land search, office location, to government liaison, business facilitation, networking, manpower and visa issues as well as PR and marketing support, InvestHK is able to provide proactive and responsive services to meet companies' needs.
Chairman of Asia-Pacific Region
Renault Asia-Pacific Ltd
President & CEO,
Vancouver Airport Authority
Managing Director, Asia Pacific
CEO, Hanson Robotics
The StartmeupHK Venture Programme is an annual initiative organised by InvestHK to promote Hong Kong as a leading startup hub in the world. It consists of a global business plan competition (StartmeupHK Venture Progrmame), a pitching event and forum (StartmeupHK Venture Forum) and a week-long programme for startups (StartmeupHK Week). Following its successful debut in 2013, StartmeupHK has become a more sizable and widespread event among the startup community.
The entries received this year came from various industries, but half of them were from the innovation and technology and information and communications areas. Some two-thirds of the entries were concept to prototype stage ventures with the remainder early to growth stage ventures with revenue and/or users.
After the initial screening by 44 assessors, 40 semi-finalists were shortlisted and were invited to attend a second round interview in September. Twelve winners were selected to attend the StartmeupHK Venture Forum on 11 November and the activity-filled StartmeupHK Week from 10-16 November.
A launch party for the 2014 StartmeupHK Venture Programme was held at Sky100, Hong Kong’s highest observation deck on 13 June
The culmination of all these activities was the Venture Forum on 11 November, one of Hong Kong’s largest pitching competitions for startups. HKSAR Government officials, including Financial Secretary, John Tsang, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Greg So, and Director-General of Investment Promotion, Simon Galpin, together with participants including speakers, judges and stakeholders from the startup and business communities in Hong Kong, witnessed the awarding of the Grand Award Winners after a competitive pitching session. Three special awards, namely Data Analytics, FinTech and Smart City, were newly awarded this year.
The Grand Award Winners were Freightos (Hong Kong) (second right), Perseus Telecom (US) (third right) and ScoutBots (Hong Kong) (second left). There were also three newly-added sponsored special awards, namely Data Analytics, FinTech, and Smart City, which went to Easy Finance (UK), Seevider (US) and ScoutBots (Hong Kong) respectively.
View the Forum highlight video:
StartmeupHK’s objective is very clear − to help high-impact, innovative and scalable startups grow and succeed from Hong Kong. All winners can leverage the free professional services, work space, media exposure opportunities and consulting, advisory or mentoring services offered by various sponsors to grow their business further.
The startmeup.hk website continues to be the main platform to disseminate information about the StartmeupHK initiative and introduce a wide range of resources available to startups in Hong Kong. Its enhanced features include an event calendar which allows startup community stakeholders to post their own events online.
To promote the startup ecosystem in Hong Kong, InvestHK produced video interviews with sponsors, assessors, founders of co-work spaces and successful startups, which were posted on InvestHK’s Youtube channel and disseminated through other social media. InvestHK also launched its first StartmeupHK TV commercial which was broadcast on Bloomberg TV to raise the profile of the StartmeupHK campaign locally and in key overseas markets.
Interview with Cherrypick’s CEO
Interview with Paperclip’s Founder
The first StartmeupHK TV commercial
The marketing strategy behind the StartmeupHK initiative has proven to be very successful. The Department will continue to promote it through social media, advertising and outreach to overseas markets.
In May 2014, Director-General of Investment Promotion, Simon Galpin and Associate Director-General, Charles Ng led a roadshow to Israel to promote Hong Kong as the world’s fastest growing hub for startups. Another StartmeupHK event was held in India in July.
Additional programmes were organised in the UK and France in June and outreach programmes in Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore in July.
StartmeupHK event in Israel on 15-18 May
StartmeupHK event in London held at HKCTO Level 39 Canary Wharf on 17 June
To further attract and support high-impact entrepreneurs to Hong Kong, InvestHK set up a new StartmeupHK team in 2014. Its main responsibilities are to forge close business relationships and establish strong networks with all key stakeholders in the startup, investors and business community in Hong Kong and overseas and develop a pipeline of prospective startup founders who can benefit from InvestHK’s support and services.
Hanson Robotics was a Grand Award Winner in the StartmeupHK Venture Programme last year. The humanoid robotics maker relocated its headquarters to Hong Kong in 2014, in order to advance to the next stage of daily applications in entertainment, healthcare and education. StartmeupHK offered its founder, Dr David Hanson, a fast track into Hong Kong.
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In an annual survey jointly conducted by InvestHK and the Census and Statistics Department, the number of overseas and Mainland companies running business operations in Hong Kong hit an all-time high of 7,585 companies in 2014, a 1.8 percent increase on 2013.
The findings of this survey affirm that Hong Kong remains Asia’s leading business hub. The choice of Hong Kong as a business location was influenced by three key factors: (1) simple tax system and low tax rate, (2) free flow of information, and (3) geographical location.
In terms of source country / territory, Japan topped the survey with 1,388 companies in Hong Kong, followed by the US (1,331), Mainland China (957), the UK (584) and Taiwan (426). The 7,585 companies together engaged about 405,000 persons, up 5.2 percent compared to 2013.
The main lines of business of the regional headquarters, regional offices and local offices in the survey were broadly the same as that of last year. They were engaged mainly in import/export trade, wholesale and retail; professional, business and education services; financing and banking; and transportation, storage and courier services.
During 2010 – 2014, in terms of sector, financing and banking saw a remarkable growth of 29 percent in the number of companies over the same period, reflecting Hong Kong’s appeal as an international financial centre and an asset management hub.
LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Weibo, Flickr… InvestHK is fully aware of the global penetration power of social media. The Department creates and distributes multi-media content on a regular basis. As a result, its total number of social media followers has nearly tripled from last year, exceeding 16,000 by the end of 2014.
In 2014, there were over 1,000 posts or updates on Hong Kong’s business news, foreign direct investment (FDI), events, success stories, etc. These posts not only provided followers with instant and important business information, but also helped sustain the engagement and relationship with InvestHK’s clients, partners, stakeholders and supporters.
As of December 2014
Business events organised or sponsored by InvestHK offer networking opportunities to new investors. They create much-anticipated moments among newcomers to our city and the local business community to gather and mingle, exchange ideas and even become future partners. Some of the signature events held in Hong Kong in 2014 included:
InvestHK has a strong network of 28 offices worldwide. These offices are located in key markets and help promote Hong Kong to the world. Some of these events tied in with Directorate’s investment promotion trips.
For the European market, two joint promotion events were held in Barcelona and Lyon with the Mainland authorities of Zhaoqing (June) and Jiangmen (September) respectively. InvestHK’s Spanish and French consultants spoke to over 200 attendees from the local business community. Investment promotion seminars were held in Madrid, Sweden, Wales, Warsaw and Berlin during the year. InvestHK also supported the Hong Kong Trade Development Council’s (HKTDC) “Think Asia Think Hong Kong” promotion in Paris and Milan from 28-30 October. A French Success Story booklet was produced to support this event.
Hong Kong-Zhaoqing Joint Business Conference in Barcelona on 16 June.
Seminar and Luncheon in Warsaw on 25 September.
North America remains a major source of FDI projects. The Hong Kong-Guangdong-Macau Joint Business Conference was held in Vancouver on 4 November, followed by San Francisco on 6 November. Both events attracted over 250 US and Canadian companies to learn about the latest opportunities in Hong Kong.
South America is an emerging growth market for FDI. The Hong Kong – Zhuhai Joint Business Conference was held in Mexico City on 8 April to target Mexican companies, attracting over 180 senior executives. InvestHK also sponsored the HKTDC’s events in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paolo, Santa Rita and Porto Alegre in March.
Mainland China and Taiwan are important markets for Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Economic Trade and Cultural Office (Taiwan) opened in Taipei in 2013, and the Hong Kong SAR Government’s Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Wuhan opened in 2014, overseeing Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi and Shanxi markets. To strengthen the contacts with the Taiwanese business community, the Hong Kong and Guangzhou Joint Business Conference was held on 15 October, with about 200 representatives from Taiwan-based companies. In the Mainland, large-scale investment promotion seminars were held in major cities including Anhui, Chongqing, Guizhou, Hangzhou, Ningxia, Quanzhou, Shijiazhuang, Tianjin, Xiamen, Xian and Yunnan in 2014.
At a seminar hosted in Hangzhou on 12 August, Director-General of Investment Promotion, Simon Galpin, encouraged Hangzhou and Wuxi entrepreneurs to “go global” by using Hong Kong as a platform.
At a seminar organised by Invest Hong Kong in Kunming, Yunnan province on 30 October, Associate Director-General of Investment Promotion, Francis Ho, encouraged Yunnan corporations to leverage on the business advantages of Hong Kong to “go global”.
InvestHK’s sector specialists work with their clients on an ongoing basis, making sure they receive the right information and tailor-made advice to support their business set up and growth. Despite the advance of internet and mobile communications, face-to-face meetings are still regarded as the most effective way to understand clients’ business needs. In 2014, our sector teams in Hong Kong and geographical teams based in overseas or Mainland markets held more than 9,500 client meetings to offer in-depth advice and follow-up support.
Provision of market information and business advice to aid planning
Public relations and marketing support
Networking events, aftercare support
InvestHK’s staff, who are often experienced marketers or specialists in their respective sectors, work hard to assist clients in their most exciting business launch stage – be it a press release, success story, video interview, or inviting InvestHK’s Directorate to attend their launch events. All of these services are free of charge and many clients find them valuable and very useful. Some of the business launches or expansion activities InvestHK has assisted include: