Accountancy in Hong Kong

Country overview

Hong Kong is located on the Southeast coast of China with a land area of about 1,100 square kilometres, comprising of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon Peninsula,  the New Territories and the outlying islands. Hong Kong has a population of more than 7 million and three official languages which are English, Cantonese and Putonghua. Cantonese is the mother tongue in Hong Kong.

The People’s Republic of China (“PRC”) resumed its sovereignty over Hong Kong when the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (“HKSAR”) of the PRC was established on July 1, 1997. The head of HKSAR is the Chief Executive who is elected for a five-year term, with approval of the PRC.

The Basic Law, which was adopted on April

4, 1990, forms the written constitution of Hong Kong.

A number of business chambers in Hong Kong provide assistance on business opportunities and networking facilities, including:

  • Australian Chambers of Commerce;
  • American Chambers of Commerce; and
  • British Chambers of Commerce.

There is no central bank in Hong Kong.

HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank and Bank of China are the only three note issuing banks in Hong Kong.

The financial and securities sectors are regulated by:

  • The Hong Kong Monetary Authority;
  • The Securities and Futures Commission; and
  • The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited.

Economic overview

Hong Kong operates under a “laissezfaire” economic system with minimal

Government interference in all sectors of the economy, and there are no exchange controls. Hong Kong maintains its own monetary system and the Hong Kong dollar is pegged to the US dollar at the  rate of 1US$ = 7.78 HKD.

The HKSAR Government welcomes foreign investment and there is no restriction on foreign ownership.

Key characteristics of Hong Kong’s commercial environments are:

  • a high degree of internationalization
  • open and fair competition
  • free flow of information
  • well established financial networks
  • good transport and communications infrastructure
  • well educated workforce
  • simple tax structure and low tax rates
  • no tariffs adversely affecting international trade.

Hong Kong is a founding member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and  is a strong supporter of the  Anti-Dumping Code.

Since China’s accession to the WTO and the signing of the free trade agreement between mainland China and Hong Kong, [i.e. the Closer Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA)], Hong Kong has been well positioned to play an important role  to companies wishing to expand businesses into mainland China.

Transport infrastructure

In Hong Kong, commercial and industrial rights are protected through patents and trademark laws as well as consumer protection controls. However, there is little associated trade practices legislation.

As a hub of finance and transport communications, Hong Kong plays an important role for business in the Asia Pacific region and acts as the gateway  to mainland China.

Hong Kong has a well-developed road and railway transport infrastructure. Most of the Hong Kong people take their journeys on a public transport system which includes railways, trams, buses, minibuses, taxis and ferries. MTR Corporation Limited (“MTR”) operates Hong Kong’s railways including the Airport Express to the Hong Kong International Airport. The MTR’s railway network covers most of the areas in Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories, and is the backbone of Hong Kong’s public transport system.


Latest version updated 24th October 2017

Country Breakdown

7.3

Million

Population

HK$

Hong Kong Dollar

Currency

$ 320.9

Billion

GDP

2,754

km2