Over the last decade, foreign investors have flocked to Hong Kong in large numbers. It has all of the right conditions for setting up a business. The economy is robust, particularly in comparison with the rest of the world. It has some of the most diverse and lucrative markets anywhere on the planet. And, its consumers are spending more every year, with electronics, luxury items, and western brands becoming ever popular.
So, clearly, Hong Kong is the place to be for ambitious businesses. The question is, how do you go about relocating to a country with such a unique and distinct culture? What major difficulties are involved and is culture shock really that big of an obstacle for companies? These are all important questions and you should think carefully about the answers before you decide to expand into the Hong Kong market.
This guide will give you some helpful advice on doing business in Hong Kong and some handy tips for pleasing the locals.
Get Mingling with the Residents
The simplest and quickest way to learn about corporate culture in Hong Kong is to immersive yourself in it. Resist the temptation to hide your burgeoning venture away, even if it is still in the very early stages. Sign up to work in a virtual office, so that you have the opportunity to co-work and mingle with Chinese managers and executives. Ask them questions, mine them for advice, and forge relationships that could be useful further down the line.
Stick to a Quick Handshake
One thing to remember is that Chinese people are famously very reserved. They don’t do a lot of physical touching outside of the home. Things like patting on the back, fist bumping, arm rubbing, and high fiving are frowned upon in a business environment. To make a good first impression, stick to a brief, firm handshake only.
Make an Effort with the Lingo
Youll be surprised at how delightful locals find it when foreign visitors make the effort to speak a little of the language. This is especially true in China, where people are fiercely protective of their culture. Cantonese is a difficult language to learn, so nobody is expecting miracles, but a few short phrases will demonstrate great respect and good manners. Investors and clients are likely to look upon your proposals more favourably.
Don’t Hide Your Office Away
If possible, try to secure an office location that is easy to find and has great transport links. Ideally, you want somewhere fairly central either in or close to one of the eminent business districts. They include addresses like the International Finance Centre and the Hong Kong Club Building. Both are very recognisable to high-level executives, so having an office there would instantly boost your reputation.
Pay Attention to Greetings
This can seem like such a little thing, but the Chinese really do value traditional customs. If you want to charm the locals and fit in, you’ve got to follow their rules. Always remember to greet the most senior individual in a party first. You do this by offering a brief handshake and a very slight bow. You can then repeat the process with the other guests. Getting the little details right will endear you to powerful people.
Why Success in Hong Kong Is About More than Money
Ultimately, could make a move into the Hong Kong market with a substantial amount of capital behind you and still fail quickly. When joining a new culture, assimilation is so important. Yes, you want to stand out from the competition, but you also want locals to be comfortable with choosing your products or services. Being too stubborn and refusing to conform to customs will only alienate your new demographics.
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