ECONOMY | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Despite out-of-this-world rents, Hong Kong is businesses’ capital city

We talk of Hong Kong’s sky high rents and property prices as if they were investment killers. Surprisingly, a recent global survey shows that’s really not the case.

A new survey from global workspace provider Regus reveals the cost of office or rental space ranked only number five in the top five criteria business firms consider when setting-up an office in another country. Score one for Hong Kong.

The top three criteria that lure business to a foreign city like Hong Kong or to another country are ease of doing business; economic stability and a liberal government regulatory framework. The fourth top quality is political stability.

Score more points for Hong Kong, which has all these top four qualities in abundance.

Hong Kong has consistently been ranked an extremely business-friendly city. This was recognised this January when the city was rated Number One out of 179 economies in the 2012 Index of Economic Freedom.

Hong Kong has led the rankings every year since the Index was first published in 1995. It scored 89.9 out of a maximum score of 100 this year, with the world average at 59.5.

"Hong Kong has always been an attractive market for businesses, both home-grown and from overseas," said Andrew Davis, Associate Director-General, Invest Hong Kong.

"Hong Kong has the infrastructure, the low tax base and the talent to make it a very compelling choice. In under a week and for a very low cost, a company can be up and running, and exactly the same rules apply to local and foreign-owned companies."

A recent report from the Hong Kong Trade Development Council also underlines the Hong Kong government's commitment to helping businesses weather the financial storms of 2011-12.

The report focuses on recent government measures to increase Hong Kong's competitiveness and to support SME. These efforts include building ties with emerging and neighbouring economies and the setting-up of a HK$1 billion fund to help Hong Kong enterprises tap Mainland markets.

Regus client Daniel Yen, CEO of Digital Marketing ROI, a marketing technology company, said that in Hong Kong “. . . we are able to source the talent, technical ability, and flexibility that our company needs to accelerate its growth.

“Factor in the attractive cost-base and lack of red-tape and Hong Kong was clearly the right choice for us."

"Enterprises evaluating which markets to expand into need to anticipate the challenges of doing so," said Hans Leijten, Regus's Vice-President, East Asia. "It's vital that they do their homework and find out everything they need to know about the market they're moving into.”

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