Office of the United States Trade Representative


Hong Kong: Small Business Gateway to China
By: Gregory Walters, Director of Small Business Affairs, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative 11/10/2003

’s economy is growing and as wages and standards increase, so does the demand for U.S. goods and services.  Large U.S. corporations are already pursuing customers in China.  Wal Mart, Toy-R-Us, and S.C. Johnson Wax are just a few examples of U.S. companies that are providing goods and services in this growing market place.

For small businesses, China can seem large and confusing.  As China’s distribution systems, Intellectual Property Rights protection, and licensing systems are being reformed and modernized, it is becoming an easier place for small U.S. businesses to do business. 

As China opens its market, it is important for U.S. small business to seize on this opportunity.  But, as is always the case in new markets, making those contacts, learning the market, and breaking through the potential barriers is not easy.  That is where Hong Kong fits in.

As part of Hong Kong’s new relationship with the People’s Republic of China an agreement called the PRC-Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Agreement was signed.  This agreement, much like the U.S. Free Trade Agreements, creates an open environment for the flow of goods and services between Hong Kong to mainland China. 

Hong Kong has long been known as a strong commercial center and gateway to the Asian region.  The Hong Kong economy grew at 2.3 percent in real terms to $162 billion.   At present the per-capita income of Hong Kong is about $24,000.  It is the port for China’s richest region.  The government of Hong Kong continues to spend on infrastructure, modernizing ports, customs facilities, and distribution centers.  In fact, after China, the United States is Hong Kong’s largest trading partner.

For all of these reasons, Hong Kong is a good access point for U.S. small businesses looking to expand into the China Market.  The websites listed on the right side of this page should be very helpful as you explore Hong Kong’s role in getting your product or service into China. 

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