How has Hong Kong reinvented itself since China reclaimed it in 1997?
Rather than calling itself a bridge as it did decades ago, Hong Kong now considers itself the gateway to China. Hong Kong now markets itself as the expert on China.
“When doing business in China, we want you to come to us,” said Dannie Chiu, director of the HK Trade Development Council (HKTDC), at the seminar Managing Challenges and Opportunities in China held last Friday at the Seattle Sheraton Hotel.
Don’t forget that Taiwan has more than 350 direct flights annually. It also mails and ships to China.
Don’t forget that Shanghai and Singapore are aiming to overtake Hong Kong as a global financial center. Amazingly, these developments have not threatened Hong Kong’s importance or its prosperity.
China might have big opportunities, but its market is hard to crack due to bureaucratic, language, and cultural barriers. Many businesses have been burned in China.
One business that sticks with Hong Kong, instead of venturing into China, is Ben Bridge Jewelers (BBJ).
Peter Luplow, vice president of BBJ, said his goal is to look for products that are unique, not like others.
He finds this in Hong Kong. He works directly with manufacturers in order to gain competitive pricing.
Other speakers described positive experiences in dealing with Hong Kong. They said that Hong Kong agents have strong organizational skills in trade shows and in matching buyers and manufacturers, flexibility, and mobility.
My Hong Kong relative, an import/export agent, is a good example of this. His Japanese clients deal with him, rather than directly with China. They admire the Hong Kong system of professionalism and rely on his expertise to monitor quality control in Chinese products. ♦