If you’re dreaming of the best place to set up an e-commerce store in the world, Hong Kong should feature prominently in those dreams. Hong Kong is not only one of the world’s freest economies, but the island also boasts a vibrant online marketplace, effective banking systems and a digitally savvy shopping demographic. That’s just the right combination needed to set up an e-commerce store.
With all these prerequisites already taken care of, all you need to do is invest in a trusted e-commerce platform like Shopify and you’re good to go.
Indeed, it doesn’t come as a surprise that various global businesses are jostling for a chance to tap into Hong Kong’s bustling e-commerce landscape. The best part? The ease of setting up an e-commerce store here applies both to local and international businesses. Read on to find out how to go about it.
Get Your Business Incorporated
The first step in setting up an e-commerce store in Hong Kong is to get your company incorporated. Luckily, this is usually a hassle-free process. After choosing an ideal name for your business, apply to get your company incorporated via the Hong Kong Companies Registry portal. You’ll be required to fill out a few forms and accompany your application with a copy of your company’s Articles of Association.
As you may expect, there’s an incorporation and business registration fee, which, at the time of writing this article, was set at HK$2,000/year. This entire process should take you no more than an hour. Once you’re done, allow up to five working days for processing. You’ll receive an email notifying you of the status of your incorporation.
Choose a Reliable E-Commerce Platform
After successfully getting your business incorporated, the next step is to choose a trusted e-commerce platform. A subtle online search for “best e-commerce platforms” will bring up hundreds of companies. If you’re not sure about the company to choose, you may feel lost in the maze of recommendations.
Among the best e-commerce platforms recommended by experts for Hong Kong businesses is Shopify. Shopify offers a cocktail of services to retailers, including brand promotion, shopping and client engagement tools, as well as secure payment systems. That’s why more than one million businesses spread across 175 countries trust this e-commerce platform.
Open Up a Bank Account
You’re setting up an e-commerce store, which means that most of your financial transactions will be carried out digitally. However, at some point, you’ll need to transact in a physical bank, and that requires a bank account. A bank account also comes in handy when applying for business loans and grants, like the SME Export Marketing Fund.
The good news is, there are plenty of e-commerce-friendly banks in Hong Kong, including HSBC, Citibank, Standard Chartered and more. Just remember to choose a bank that offers reasonable rates and friendly credit terms. Most banks will require your company’s official details, such as proof of registration, partners, and employees, before allowing you to open up an account with them.
The last step in setting up an e-commerce website in Hong Kong happens to be the most important one. Once you have your e-commerce store set up, you’ll need to find reliable suppliers and distribution channels. The convention is to give priority to suppliers that are based within Hong Kong, as then you won’t incur heavy taxation.
If you must go for cross-border supply partnerships, insist on companies located in mainland China. Established online suppliers like Alibaba, Made in China, and Global Sources are a great place to start if you’re looking for reliable and affordable distribution channels.
So, there you have a short guide on how to set up an e-commerce store in Hong Kong. Needless to say, the ease of starting such a store here doesn’t necessarily guarantee the success of your venture. You’ll still need to deploy aggressive marketing techniques to stay ahead in Hong Kong’s lucrative but unpredictable e-commerce marketplace.
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See more helpful tips in our Living in Hong Kong section.