Welcome from Lesley Batchelor OBE, FIEx (Grad) – Director General, Institute of Export & International Trade
Hong Kong and Macau are two Special Administrative Regions of China in Eastern Asia with fascinating histories and plenty of opportunities for UK exporters. Hong Kong – as a former UK colony – is well known to many British businesses and will continue to be a key market for them. Macau – a former Portuguese colony – is not to be overlooked though, with considerable opportunities in the leisure and entertainment industries, particularly around gambling. This latest Doing Business Guide gives tips and market information about both markets, helping you to understand the practicalities involved in selling there.
As the gambling centre of the region, Macau attracts thousands of visitors from China and Hong Kong every year. Foreign casino companies have invested heavily in Macau since 2002 with many major hotels and entertainment companies establishing themselves there as a consequence. There are plenty of opportunities for UK businesses involved in construction, design, engineering, entertainment and retail. Currently the UK’s top exports to Macau include beverages, electrical equipment, clothing, machinery and mechanical appliances.
Hong Kong, unsurprisingly given its historic ties, is a far more prominent market for UK exporters at present. As a free port with no customs tariff on goods imported, it is ranked 4th in the World Bank’s Doing Business Rankings, and around 40% of China’s foreign trade currently goes through it. It’s population of 7 million is by and large affluent and English-speaking.
UK exports to Hong Kong were worth £8.8 billion in 2016 – according to the Office for National Statistics' latest report – and around 120 British companies currently have regional headquarters located there. It is an open, transparent and competitive market with a strong rule of law and strong Intellectual Property rights protections – a big plus in the region. As a leading telecommunications hub in the Asia Pacific, hosting one of the world’s largest container ports and the world’s largest airport for international cargo, you could safely say that Hong Kong is a key location in global trade. Its strongest economic sectors are financial services, trade and logistics, tourism, and professional services.
There are of course challenges to be overcome when selling into both Hong Kong and Macau. Though Hong Kong has no customs tariffs on imported goods, you will still need to lodge an import/export declaration with the Commissioner of Customs and Excise within 14 days of the importation or exportation of the goods. Macau, meanwhile, is heavily dependent on tourism and gambling, so it may not be an appealing market for exporters who don’t produce goods or services related to those sectors. You should also bear in mind that both markets are far away and the logistical challenges this brings.
As with any market, please do feel free to get in touch with the Institute of Export & International Trade if you have any concerns or queries about exporting to Hong Kong or Macau. Our training, qualifications and technical helpline allow you to find the information you need to export successfully.
Lesley Batchelor OBE, FIEx (Grad)
Director General – Institute of Export & International Trade
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