As a Confucian society, Hong Kong is still basically group-oriented, with the strongest group ties being to the family.

Therefore people in Hong Kong will make effective group members if the group environment is safe and harmonious. However, if not a member of the family, long-term loyalty to a team or organisation cannot really be expected – if a better opportunity arises then it will be grasped.

Team members expect to be given instructions by the manager and for that manager to maintain a close, ongoing involvement in the progress of events. In smaller companies, team members would not really be expected to take initiative or make any unilateral decisions. Therefore, when managing a team, it is important to give clear and complete instructions. Anything omitted from the original instructions is unlikely to get done.

Try to ensure that all of the team can maintain face and that nothing is done which can impact on the face of group members. Thus, when working in Hong Kong avoid even such seemingly harmless issues as gentle mockery of co-workers which can result in such loss of face.

A brief overview of some key concepts to consider when doing business in Hong Kong

Written and Produced by Keith Warburton

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This country profile has been produced to give a short overview of some of the key concepts to bear in mind when doing business with contacts in Hong Kong. It is intended to be an aid to business people who have commercial dealings with counterparties in the country but should not be seen as an exhaustive guide to this topic or as a substitute for more substantial research should there be a need.

With this in mind, we have covered the areas which are key to a better understanding of the cultural mindset underpinning business dealings in Hong Kong and which are, quite often, extremely different from the approach and thought processes associated with business in other parts of the world.

Therefore this briefing note is broken into short, bite-sized sections on the following topics:

  • Background to business
  • Business Structures
  • Management style
  • Meetings
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Women in business
  • Entertaining
  • Top tips