Understanding Hong Kong
Hong Kong, a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China that spans 235 islands, is quite a unique place. While much of the commerce in Hong Kong is financial, other service-oriented institutions are on the rise, for instance, British trained lawyers can practice “English Law.”
Because of the colonization of the British Empire, Hong Kong now enjoys rights and privileges under a “one country, two systems” that other parts of mainland China do not. This dual system is evidenced in the people in the city and the vast differences in ideologies they display as compared to their mainland brethren.
In my recent stint in Hong Kong, I saw three main differences and each greatly affects the business mentality and consumerism mindsets that drive purchases.
Difference number one:
Most see themselves as Hong Kongers first and Chinese second.
It’s very important to note the difference. It’s akin to many Texans being a Texan first and an American second. When interacting, be sure to note the difference. Many products sold in there are marketed toward a “more refined Hong Kong taste.”
Difference number two:
Many Hong Kongers are educated in the West.
As such, many have Western tastes that mirror their experiences abroad. Luxury and opulence sell in Hong Kong, versus value and tradition in mainland China.
Difference number three:
Their valued freedoms are in line with those in the U.S.
Because of their experience and education abroad, many Hong Kongers value and enjoy many freedoms not seen on mainland China. Freedom of speech, expression, and commerce are of utmost importance and is evidenced in the mainstream media in Hong Kong.
As anyone looking to do business abroad, it’s important to understand the fundamental differences and similarities. Dipping a toe in the Hong Kong waters may present an easy transition for a Western looking to open up hop abroad. Just remember that while Hong Kong and China are two vastly different markets, it can work to your advantage to have two markets so close to test in.