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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Overview

Hong Kong is seen by many people as the gateway to mainland China – a stepping stone to the riches promised by the potential of the People’s Republic. Combine this view with Hong Kong’s inherent historical strength as an international trading hotspot and you can start to understand why Hong Kong punches well above its weight.

Hong Kong is a bustling cosmopolitan city state where East meets West and expats from all over the world mingle with locals and visitors from mainland China. Hong Kong island is home to the regional headquarters of hundreds of global companies who see Hong Kong’s unique geographical and economic position as an ideal hub from which to control their Asian operations.

Any company looking at expanding its Asia footprint is likely to find itself evaluating the benefits of starting a permanent establishment in the territory but Hong Kong should be seen as more than just a hub destination – Hong Kong also represents an attractive market in itself. With an affluent, well-educated population of savvy consumers you should also consider doing business in Hong Kong as an opportunity to sell your products and services.

However, this dynamic bustling market presents certain challenges for business people who are looking to do business in the country and top of these challenges is gaining an understanding of the complex local business culture. Are you dealing with a local Hong Kong partner, a Western expat or someone from the People’s Republic of China? If you are dealing with a local Hong Kong contact were they educated in Hong Kong or abroad – (this might affect the way they do business)? It is definitely worth taking some time out to explore some of the key business culture issues you might encounter on the island.

This country profile provides an overview of some of the key aspects of Hong Kong business culture in a concise, easy to follow-format. The document includes information on:

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