Export Britain

Hong Kong

Find support in this market.

Ease of trading across borders

Importing a standard container of goods into Hong Kong requires:



Hong Kong offers a highly efficient, business-friendly, open and nonprotectionist business environment. As a wealthy and dynamic market, it offers excellent opportunities for UK companies in its own right, and provides outstanding connectivity to the fast-growing markets in mainland China and the Asian region more widely. As one of Asia’s leading business and financial centres, there is a wide range of opportunities across multiple sectors and industries.

Economic snapshot (% annual growth rate)

GDP 1.9 2.4 2.8
Export of goods and services 0.9 4.4 3.1
Import of goods and services 1.2 4.8 3.2
Inflation 2.6 2.6 2.9
Current account balance (% of GDP) 5.1 3.0 3.3
Population (millions) 7.4 7.4 7.6
Source: Oxford Economics

Economic outlook

Hong Kong’s economy grew moderately by 2.9% in the second quarter of 2013 compared to the previous quarter.  Domestic demand continued to drive growth, while the external sector was still constrained by an unsteady global economic environment. The domestic sector is expected to remain resilient, with local consumption supported by favourable job and income conditions. Ongoing infrastructure works and a thriving inbound tourism should provide support to the local economy. Hong Kong's GDP growth forecast for 2013 is 3.1% with 4% in 2014.

Trade outlook

China will remain the most important trade partner in the medium term. However, as Hong Kong begins to geographically diversify its trade patterns, exports to China are expected to slow. A number of large developed economies, such as Japan, the US and Germany are currently important trading partners, and will continue the trade flowing through Hong Kong. However, these economies will not be the main drivers of future growth. Rather, emerging Asia will be the most dynamic source of growth in goods trade for Hong Kong. Exports to Vietnam, India, the Middle East and North Africa region are expected to provide Hong Kong with new opportunities for trade growth.

Cultural tips

Essential Customs Tips

De-minimis value (duty free allowance): Hong Kong is a free port and does not levy any duty on imports (or exports). There is also no sales tax or other import charges. When importing foodstuffs and perishable goods to Hong Kong, with the exception of canned or dried food, they will be subject to inspection by the Hong Kong Food and Environmental Hygiene Department. The type of commodity must be clearly described on the invoice.

SWOT analysis

Leading financial hub
Strategically located for business in Asia
Strong infrastructure
High Labour costs
Limited land and space
Government support for companies
Low-and-simple-tax regime
Limited government intervention
Slowdown in China

Hong Kong's trade with the UK

Sector segmentation growth

Sectors to watch:
  • Utilities
  • electronic components
  • computers & office equipment


  • Aerospace, ships,
  • Repair & installation of machinery

Fastest-growing exporters into Hong Kong

1 Egypt
2 Vietnam
3 India
4 Poland
5 Mexico
6 China
7 Brazil
8 Korea
9 Turkey
10 France

Total merchandise trade - Leading import partners

Total merchandise trade - leading import partners
Opportunities for UK businesses

With £29 billion of investment scheduled until 2016 across a number infrastructure projects, Hong Kong offers great opportunities for UK businesses. The infrastructure projects in particular offer opportunities in design, engineering, and construction related services as well as a vast array of supply chain opportunities for small and medium-sized firms. Other sectors that offer great opportunity include healthcare and green sectors.

Find support in this market.

Your local Chamber provides a range of export services and links to overseas markets.
Find your local Chamber here.

View the Cathay Pacific partner page View the Control Risks partner page View the DHL Express partner page View the Experian partner page View the UK Export Finance partner page