Doing Businessin Hong Kong

Asian Market Insights

Hong Kong is commonly referred to as Asia’s World City. It offers non- stop intensity, fascinating contrasts, compact variety and significant opportunities for Irish exporters.

Enterprise Ireland is working with Irish exporters to help them stabilise and adapt to the evolving situation, in preparation for getting back on the road to recovery.

Market Overview

While Hong Kong is a significant market in its own right, it is also an important part of the Pearl River Delta Market. This is made up of the Special Administrative Regions (SARs) of Hong Kong and Macau and China’s Guangdong Province. Hong Kong’s economy is characterised by free trade, low taxation and minimal government intervention. It consistently ranks in the Top 10 globally traded economy.

€46,701 GDP per capita (2020)

€347bn GDP (2020)

€203m Enterprise Ireland client exports (2020)

Get Export Ready

Hong Kong International Airport is one of Asia’s global hubs, connecting it to the rest of the world. Cathay Pacific services direct flights between Dublin and Hong Kong for the first time, from June 2018. This is a potential game changer for Irish companies interested in business opportunities there. Hong Kong’s transport network is sophisticated with railway, tram, bus, taxi and ferry services provided by public and private operators.

Hong Kong’s two official languages are English and Chinese and English is the language most commonly used in the business and service industries. Cantonese is the most commonly spoken dialect in the region.

Key Market Sectors

As Brexit plans progress, Irish businesses are exploring export options in sectors across the Eurozone markets, the USA and Canada, and the APAC region.

Enterprise Ireland is playing a key role in supporting ambitious companies seeking opportunities in Hong Kong’s fintech, electronics and IoT sectors.

Additionally, financial services, data centres, green construction, automotive & education continue to perform and add appeal to Irish exporters and service providers who want to scale, and develop a presence in the Hong Kong market.

Read more on Hong Kong’s sectoral successes in our Going Global Guide.

  • Hong Kong was ranked 7th in the world for the presence of high-tech companies in the Bloomberg Innovation Index 2018.
  • It is one of the world’s top cities in terms of per capita consumption of goods and resources.
  • Education is a lucrative business in Hong Kong, affording significant opportunities for Irish universities. The number of Chinese students involved in Ireland’s third level sector has grown eight-fold over recent years.

Doing Business

As a culturally diverse nation, treating Hong Kong as one large market is extremely difficult. It is important that companies have a clear understanding of where their niche lies.

On the ground research is important. Foreign SMEs that fail in Hong Kong share common characteristics, for example, lack of market knowledge.

Hong Kong business people are generally non-confrontational and will never overtly say “no” as to do so would be to “lose face”. It is important to know that, as in many Asian cultures, silence is also a form of communication.

Best Routes to Market

Choosing the right route to market is very important.

Agents bring a deep understanding of local business practices and distributors can deliver products geographically across large nations. Joint ventures and acquisitions bring valuable established contacts, customers and market knowledge. Local representatives may not always be necessary with many global markets open to direct sales and prospecting from Ireland. Other markets require a ‘boots on ground’ approach – the power of referrals and networking shouldn’t be underestimated.

Geographically vast, the key routes to market in Hong Kong are through direct presence, outsourcing sales, selling online and joint ventures and mergers.

Download our Going Global Market Guide to Hong Kong to find out more.

Before You Go

Before you go, we recommend you invest some time in researching the terrain before you explore the Hong Kong market. Here’s a few starting points to consider…

  1. Market Landscape
  2. Market Trends
  3. Target Market
  4. Market Segmentation
  5. Market Competition
  6. Market Research Resources

Visa requirements, Hong Kong labour laws, import rules and regulations, key taxes, and data and intellectual property protection are also addressed in the Going Global Guide. Enterprise Ireland’s Market Research Centre offers client companies access to market intelligence in the form of company, sector, market, and country information to explore opportunities and compete in international markets.

Helping You Succeed

We are committed to helping you succeed in global markets and have an immense wealth of knowledge and expertise in the Hong Kong market.

Enterprise Ireland assists clients entering new markets with pre-visit support, in-market support, international trade events, additional supports and access to mentors.

Click here to download our guide to Going Global in Hong Kong.

Our Market Advisors are always available to support you and provide business expertise and on-the-ground knowledge.

Hong Kong Office
Annie Lo


Enterprise Ireland
Room 504 (5/F), Tower 2
Lippo Centre,
89 Queensway,
Hong Kong

00 852 2845 1118

Download our Going Global Guide or talk to one of our Enterprise Ireland market advisers in Hong Kong, today. Find out how you can achieve your global ambition.