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Why Hong Kong and Singapore are the best regions to start your business in Asia

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Singapore and Hong Kong are two of the busiest and most important logistics regions in Asia. Their long history of economic development and advantageous location make these cities an ideal beginning point for international entrepreneurs to expand their business in the thriving markets of the Asia-Pacific.

This article compares two of these business destinations in Asia and provides an overview of both regions to help you understand why Hong Kong and Singapore may be the best launch sites for your business.

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Expanding business around the world can bring numerous challenges due to differences in countries, locations, language, culture, the speed of business development, currency and technology are all factors that need to be taken into account.

We will analyzed the most significant indicators that affect the strategic business environment. These four indicators include: political, economic, social and technological factors.

I. Political factors


Singapore is one of the most stable countries in Southeast Asia. Its safe and business-friendly political climate has increased the city's credibility as an international business center, and many businesses have decided to move or start their operations here. The distinctive features of the Singapore Government are a high level of honesty, strict compliance with laws, anti-corruption, development of business-oriented policies implementation.

Singapore's law system has gained worldwide recognition for its transparency and efficiency, and the country is considered the least bureaucratic in Asia. The Government views access to justice as a vital economic asset that should be maintained and used to enhance the country's status as the largest corporate center and leading legal center in Asia.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, with a high degree of autonomy in all areas, with the exception of defense and foreign affairs. Hong Kong's political, economic and law systems are maintained in accordance with the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Basic Law. Such a scheme is known as “One country, two systems". It is also considered one of the least corrupt economies in the world.

Over the years, Hong Kong has been recognized as Asia's leading trade and financial center. And today, Hong Kong remains an investment gateway to China, the second largest economy in the world, and boasts a stock market that is ten times its own size (by market capitalization).

II. Economic factors


Singapore is a city-state with a free market economy. It is a major financial, shipping, aviation and trade center of the Southeast Asia, pursuing a business-friendly trade and economic policy.

Economic activity is spread across a wide range of industries. Electronics, mechanical engineering, biomedical manufacturing, oil refining and chemical production dominate the country's manufacturing industry, accounting for more than a fifth of GDP.

The services sector accounts for more than two thirds of GDP, while financial and commercial services are expanding rapidly. After London, Hong Kong and New York, it is the fourth largest financial center in the world. Moreover, it is the second largest private wealth management center in the world, second only Switzerland, and is projected to become the number one center in the near future.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong's economy is defined by several characteristics, including free capital inflows, low tax rates, a well-developed financial sector and a credible legal system. This city is often considered one of the world's most important financial centers after London and New York. Most of the world's largest banks have their regional headquarters here.

The four main business lines that define Hong Kong's economy are financial services, tourism, trade and logistics, as well as professional and manufacturing services.

The most significant advantage of Hong Kong over Singapore is that it is a global economic center and the second largest market in the world. This provides easy access to the country's extensive and well-developed supply chains. Having staff in Hong Kong and abroad is still a popular solution for corporations with suppliers or their own production facilities in Southern China.

III. Social factors


Although most indicators in Singapore and Hong Kong are almost identical, the quality of life, according to many people, gives Singapore an advantage. Singapore is considered a country that is easier to adjust to when moving from another country. The social and ethnic structure of the city is a unique combination of cultures and people, which leads to a cosmopolitan lifestyle.

Foreign enterprises in Singapore have access to a pool of highly qualified specialists who speak several languages. Thanks to the country's outstanding education system and favorable immigration policy, the local workforce is considered talented and motivated.

The country is also known for its multiracial society, which is both diverse and cohesive. Its residents have a wide variety of education, which allows Singapore to provide personnel solutions that require different skills. In addition, English is considered the mother tongue, which allows international companies to enter the local market and quickly carry out their activities.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong has a group of experienced and enterprising professionals who are familiar with the business culture of the fast-growing cities of the mainland. Most local specialists can communicate in English and Chinese.

There are 22 high education institutions in Hong Kong. Four Hong Kong universities are currently ranked among the top 100 educational institutions in the world, reflecting the outstanding quality of the educational system.

With its dynamic cosmopolitan lifestyle, liberal immigration rules and numerous professional growth opportunities, Hong Kong offers attractive prospects for experts around the world. Various admission schemes have been introduced to promote the professional and financial development of Hong Kong as a diverse, high-value-added economy attractive to highly qualified professionals.

In one of the articles, we have already talked about obtaining a visa under the “Top Talent Pass” program in Hong Kong, which allows you to obtain a long-term visa to work or do business in Hong Kong.

IV. Technological factors


Singapore is one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world. The company is proud to have one of the best IT infrastructures in the world. The country is home to 80 of the 100 largest technology companies, which is why it is also often called the technology capital of Asia. It is the headquarters of 59% of technology TNCs in Asia, including Google, Facebook and Netflix.

The Economist Intelligence Unit's Asian Digital Transformation Index ranked Singapore first in digital infrastructure, ahead of South Korea, Hong Kong and Japan. The Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Plan for 2025 (RIE2025), one of the country's most promising projects, outlined a five-year investment strategy worth 25 billion Singapore dollars.

This also includes spending on research and development in the field of communication technologies with a focus on 5G and the development and implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) models throughout the country.

The Singapore Intellectual Property Office (IPOS) has also implemented the world's fastest patent registration process, which reduces the required time by 80%. This is a fundamental prerequisite for many technology companies seeking to expand into the region.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong also has a highly developed technological environment. It is well known for its well-developed infrastructure and high-speed Internet access. There are more than 800 technology enterprises located in the Hong Kong Science Park. Globally, many of these companies have demonstrated a significant level of innovation potential. As a result, some of them received prizes for innovation at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). SenseTime and WeLab are two world-class enterprises in the field of artificial intelligence technology based in Hong Kong.

Fintech, artificial intelligence, robotics, healthcare technologies, and smart city are becoming increasingly attractive to investors and startups thanks to the efforts of the government and organizations such as HKSTP, as well as the prioritization of financing for various projects. Hong Kong is an ideal platform for testing and developing smart city technologies due to its well-developed infrastructure, such as the long-awaited introduction of 5G, dense urban environment and a significant number of potential smart city applications.

In addition, freedom of information and the absence of censorship in the transmission of content create a safe environment for the development of web businesses such as Big Data, media, and cloud solutions.


We have provided information on various aspects related to business to demonstrate why Singapore and Hong Kong can be the best regions to start your business. In conclusion, it is important to note that both cities are highly competitive and offer many opportunities that will satisfy any entrepreneur. Thus, the final decision on which location will be more beneficial for you personally really depends on your strategy and the industry of your business.

For those planning to enter the Mainland China market, Hong Kong provides a significant advantage. The agreement on closer economic partnership between Mainland China and Hong Kong allows entrepreneurs to gain access to mainland China, while at the same time benefiting from the market policies of one of the world's freest economies.

As for startups and new businesses looking to expand in Asia, Singapore is a more suitable option. Thanks to government tax incentives and policies aimed at supporting businesses, the city-state makes opening a new business easy and affordable. Finally, Singapore's extensive network of double taxation treaties and trade agreements provides greater access not only to Asian markets, but also to global ones.

Shile Consulting has a strong presence in both Hong Kong and Singapore. We take care of our customers in both regions. As a result, we strive to advise clients on the best market solutions and solutions according to their business strategy.

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