French optimism in Hong Kong

Laurence Kirsner | 19 Jan 2016 | European Perspective

OCO Global works for many territories around the world. Each territory aims to become the ideal playground for foreign entrepreneurs and companies wishing to invest internationally. And it is this changing ideal that we try to define with our customers responsible for the development of their territory.

Take the example of Hong Kong. OCO Global have been representing InvestHK, the Department of the Hong Kong SAR Government responsible for Foreign Direct Investment, in France since 2011. In this context, we have met with more than 600 French entrepreneurs and companies considering Hong Kong to locate their business in Asia.

Although the French or European economic and political context can’t justify alone the choice of executives to globalize their business, it certainly contributes to the trigger that leads them to accelerate the search for new growth drivers beyond their borders.

French entrepreneurs often express their surprise when they discover the simplicity of administrative procedures for starting a business in Hong Kong and the ease to develop business in – and from – Hong Kong. The contrast with their day to day business life in France is impressive.

Hong Kong also contrasts with Mainland China that French entrepreneurs are trying to tame. Hong Kong is part of the Peoples Republic of China, but it has autonomy under the principle of “One Country, Two Systems”. Its legal system is clear, its tax system is simple and low. But that only tax and legal system also cannot justify the choice of so many French companies to invest in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong has positioned itself as the ideal base for capturing the Asian markets’ opportunities: its location allows to reach half the world’s population in less than 5 hours flight and the Pearl River Delta Economic Zone (including cities like Shenzhen, Guangzhou) in less than an hour. Hong Kong is also a perfect world-city to develop activities on site as it combines three advantages that companies look for when investing abroad: an innovative and dynamic consumer market, an exceptional talent pool and highly developed infrastructures.

This simplicity and dynamism encourages a diversity of entrepreneurs and companies from all sectors to take the plunge and try the adventure. OCO Global, as the Representative of Invest HK in France, is a highly sought partner of French companies wishing to maximize the chances of success when establishing their business there.

We work with French entrepreneurs at three levels: beyond the mere facilitation of the administrative procedures related to their setting up in Hong Kong, we provide them with updated information on their industry in Hong Kong and we connect them with the right public or private partners that can contribute to the success of their project in Hong Kong.

Our support to French companies is 100% funded by the Hong Kong Government, which shows its strong commitment to attract the best foreign investors within its territory.

Since 2013, high-potential start-ups have become a priority for InvestHK as shown by the launch of the StartmeupHK program in order to attract the most promising worldwide startups. At the same time, the number of co-working space have increased from 3 in 2013 to 34 in 2015. The fact that foreign startups are coming to Hong Kong from far away in order to launch their idea shows the opportunities they hope to catch in Hong Kong.

The ideal territory certainly does not exist but the enthusiasm that we have seen in recent years from French companies demonstrate how the Asian markets represent growth opportunities. At OCO Global, we observe every day how much French entrepreneur’s optimism is enhanced as soon as they start planning their business in Hong Kong.