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Hong Kong steps up efforts to attract African start-ups
Hong Kong is fast becoming a top destination for start-ups from around the world, and for good reason. With a thriving innovation and technology ecosystem, world-class R&D facilities, and comprehensive incubation programs and venture fund support, Hong Kong has positioned itself as an international hub for tech start-ups.
InvestHK, the department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government responsible for Foreign Direct Investment, has recently opened an InvestHK representative office in Africa, demonstrating its commitment to building relationships and representation in key markets, including South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana.
Hong Kong’s location and cultural links make it a unique gateway connecting the East and West, and its free trade policy, free port status, and easy customs procedures make it an attractive location for start-ups looking to expand their reach across Asia. The city is also known for its sophisticated infrastructure, low and simple tax regime, supportive government, robust legal and regulatory framework, and strong IP protection, noted InvestHK director-general of investment promotion Stephen Phillips .
Speaking at a briefing at the JSE in Johannesburg, Phillips said: “Africa is an important part of our strategy, therefore we are building relationships and representation in South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana.”
He added that Hong Kong offered compelling opportunities to South African companies expanding or launching their businesses in Asia, with comprehensive tax benefits, business incentives and market growth potential. “Hong Kong is now home to 9 000 foreign companies, who take advantage of its sophisticated infrastructure, low and simple tax regime, supportive government, robust legal and regulatory framework and IP protection to grow and reach markets across Asia,” Phillips said.
Hong Kong is furthermore home to nearly 4 000 start-ups from around the globe, a 52% increase from 2018, with many taking advantage of specialized incubators and business accelerators, as well as comprehensive government funding schemes. InvestHK offers a comprehensive support program for start-ups through startmeup.hk, covering planning, set-up, launch, and aftercare and expansion support.
InvestHK notes that multi-million dollar opportunities exist in key sectors, including IT, healthcare and life sciences, financial technology, financial services, transport, infrastructure and advanced manufacturing, tourism and hospitality, consumer products, and creative industries. Hong Kong’s status as a highly accessible “20-minute city”, where consumers can reach most retail destinations within 20 minutes from the Central Business District (CBD), makes it an attractive location for start-ups looking to tap into these sectors.
Hong Kong has also been named as the Freest Economy by the Heritage Foundation for 25 consecutive years, and is described as one of the safest cities in the world. Its cosmopolitan population of 7.5 million residents of various nationalities in a 1 104-square-kilometer territory, along with its international financial and business centre status, has served as the foundation of a surge in digital and IT business development.
With over 100 airlines offering easy travel to over 220 locations from Hong Kong, and all of Asia’s key markets less than four hours away, Hong Kong is an ideal location for start-ups looking to expand their business across the region. The city’s strong government support, world-class infrastructure, and comprehensive support programs make it an attractive destination for start-ups looking to establish a presence in Asia.
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