Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, USA
Hong Kong
News Release



Numbers of overseas and Mainland companies and start-ups in Hong Kong continue to grow

 



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Melissa Ng in New York City: (212) 752 3320
Daniel McAtee in Washington, D.C.: (202) 238 6360
Wing Yan Tong in San Francisco: (415) 835 9315

 




October 16, 2019 - The number of business operations in Hong Kong with parent companies overseas and in Mainland China and the number of start-ups in Hong Kong have been on the rise, according to the results of two surveys released today (October 16).

Results of the 2019 Annual Survey of Companies in Hong Kong with Parent Companies Located Outside Hong Kong, jointly conducted by Invest Hong Kong (InvestHK) and the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD), show that the number of overseas and Mainland companies in Hong Kong increased by 9.9 per cent from 8,225 in 2017 to 9,040 in 2019. The 9,040 companies comprised 1,541 operating as regional headquarters, 2,490 as regional offices and 5,009 as local offices.

In terms of jobs, the number of people engaged by the overseas and Mainland companies reached 493,000, up by 11.3 per cent compared to 443,000 in 2017.

In terms of source country/territory, Mainland China ranked first with 1,799 companies, followed by Japan (1,413), the United States (1,344), the United Kingdom (713) and Singapore (446).

By sector, import/export trade, wholesale and retail topped the list (4,181), followed by financing and banking (1,787) and professional, business and education services (1, 373).

At the same time, Hong Kong’s start-up scene has continued to be very vibrant. According to the 2019 Startup Survey conducted by InvestHK, the number of start-ups in Hong Kong saw even more impressive growth of 42.8 per cent to 3,184 from 2017.

These start-ups engaged 12,478 persons, up by 97.4 per cent compared to 2017. They spanned different business sectors, such as financial technology, e-commerce, supply chain management and logistics technology, as well as information, computer and technology.

The outcomes of the two surveys highlight the attractiveness of Hong Kong to Mainland China and the international business community, and the important role the city plays in nurturing start-ups.
 
Background
(1) 2019 Annual Survey of Companies in Hong Kong with Parent Companies Located Outside Hong Kong (conducted jointly by InvestHK and C&SD)

(a) Survey definitions
Regional headquarters (RHQs): an office with parent company located outside Hong Kong which has managerial control over offices and/or operations in the region (i.e. Hong Kong plus one other place or more).
 
Regional office (ROs): an office with parent company located outside Hong Kong which co-ordinates offices and/or operations in the region (i.e. Hong Kong plus one other place or more).
 
Local office (LOs): an office with parent company located outside Hong Kong which only takes charge of the business in Hong Kong (and nowhere else).

(b) Survey methodology
This survey, the response to which is voluntary in nature, refers to the position as at June 3, 2019. Owing to the lack of a complete sampling frame of companies covered in the survey, the numbers of RHQs, ROs and LOs enumerated in each survey round represent only the best snapshot that could be taken at the time of the survey. Changes between years in the numbers of RHQs, ROs and LOs may be affected by the continuous improvement in the sampling frame of companies and the response rate. Furthermore, changes between years in the total number of people engaged by the companies concerned may also be affected by the response patterns of companies of different employment sizes. The survey results should be interpreted with some caution. 

The survey results will be presented in greater details in the “Report on 2019 Annual Survey of Companies in Hong Kong with Parent Companies Located outside Hong Kong”, to be available for download free of charge at the website of the C&SD (www.censtatd.gov.hk/hkstat/sub/sp360.jsp?productCode=B1110004) from end-October.
 
(2) 2019 Startup Survey (conducted by InvestHK)
The survey, the response to which is voluntary in nature, was conducted around the end of June 2019 in collaboration with operators of major co-work spaces, incubators and accelerators in Hong Kong. Data about the start-ups were collected based on the knowledge of the operators and membership information maintained by the operators.

The survey results will be presented in greater detail in a flyer to be published by InvestHK, available for download free of charge at the StartmeupHK website (www.startmeup.hk/startup-ecosystem) from the end of October.


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