Celebrating the Hong Kong and Australia Relationship

As the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region celebrates 15 years since Changeover, the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (HKETO) in Sydney reflects on the Australia-Hong Kong relationship.

 
 
 
 
Hong Kong and Australia have enjoyed a very cordial relationship since 1995, when the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Sydney was established to promote and safeguard Hong Kong’s trade and economic interests in its host countries in the lead up to Hong Kong’s return to China in 1997. In the period since the HKETO’s establishment, there have been no diplomatic issues affecting the relationship between Australia and Hong Kong and the office’s main role has focused on promoting trade, business, investment and other relationships between the two regions.
And while Hong Kong may not be Australia’s biggest trading partner, it is one of the easier trade relationships to manage. And it is easy to see why, from both a business and lifestyle perspective, so many Australians are increasingly making the Island home.
Hong Kong boasts a lifestyle that is paralleled by few other cities in the region. Its geographical location alone, makes it a gateway not only into Mainland China but into Asia, South East Asia and as a connecting point between Australia, Europe and the Middle East.
Australians living in Hong Kong enjoy a quality of life not so different from Australia –hketo_hong_kong_day_shot_from_the_peak_web albeit a faster paced one. Many new arrivals to Hong Kong are surprised to discover that despite the Island’s sprawling metropolis, Hong Kong and the New Territories comprise 40 percent green park lands – providing endless weekends of treks and walks. Hong Kong is famed for its fresh seafood, secluded beaches and water culture.
The number of foreigners living in Hong Kong has increased significantly since 1997.
While the numbers of British living in Hong Kong has fallen since Changeover, the numbers of many other nationalities have increased. Hong Kong Government Immigration Department statistics show there are currently about 12,000 Australians living in Hong Kong, compared to about 60,000 Americans and 2,000 New Zealanders.
*Pictured: Hong Kong’s spectacular Victoria Harbour as seen from the Peak. (HKETO)
Australia & Hong Kong: The facts
The trade relationship between Australia and Hong Kong has grown steadily over the last 15 years. Bilateral trade between Hong Kong and Australia grew by 69 percent from 1997 to 2011. In 2011, Australia was Hong Kong’s 18th largest trading partner and Hong Kong was Australia’s 19th largest trading partner. Hong Kong is also one of Australia’s most important sources of foreign investment – it ranked 6th in this respect in 2010.
In 2009, Australia and Hong Kong signed a Memorandum of Understanding on wine related businesses after Hong Kong abolished all duties related to wine. In 2010-11, wine imports from Australia amounted to HK$460 million (US$59 million), representing an increase of 116 percent since the removal of wine duty in Hong Kong in February 2008. Australia is now Hong Kong’s third largest source of wine imports.
Australia and Hong Kong’s close relationship is also demonstrated by frequent high-level bilateral visits. In June 2011, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, Donald Tsang visited Melbourne, Perth, Karratha, Canberra and Sydney. In October 2009, Hong Kong’s Chief Secretary, Henry Tang, visited Sydney and Melbourne. Recent high level visits from Australia to Hong Kong include Governor General Quentin Bryce, Treasurer Wayne Swan, and Minister for Trade, Craig Emerson.

Hong Kong open for business
Cities like Shanghai, Singapore and other Asian financial hubs all have their attractions but it is only Hong Kong that has the unique combination of location, at the mouth of the Pearl River Delta (the biggest and fastest growing region of the world`s biggest and fastest growing economy), and all of the following advantages:
English as the language of business
The rule of law, based on the common law; a free, fair and independent judiciary which still retains magistrates and judges from commonwealth jurisdictions; stringent and comprehensive intellectual property rights protection
Low and simple taxes (maximum 15% for individuals, 16.5% for companies); no Sales Tax /VAT, no capital gains tax, no tax on dividends, no tax on wine or beer
Freedom of press, information, religion, movement of people and capital, etc.
A free port with no duties on goods other than alcoholic spirits and fuel oil; no quotas, no tariffs
A small, efficient and hands-off government that encourages foreign investment and treats overseas owned companies as if they were local
No restrictions on foreign ownership
Establishing a Hong Kong registered company is quick, inexpensive and easy
Strong business links with Mainland China: Hong Kong has been the most important gateway to China for the international business community for over 30 years and has developed unrivalled personal and business connections throughout the country. Hong Kong is still the largest foreign investor in each and every province in China.hketo_ce_inauguration_with_president_hu_web
Hong Kong remains the most important gateway for international companies to establish and expand their business in China. With its strong business links with Mainland China, familiar business and legal environment, simple and low tax regime and strategic location, Hong Kong is a familiar, low risk location for Australian companies to do business and also the best gateway from which to tap into the Mainland. 
 
 
 

*Pictured: President Hu Jintao and Hong Kong’s new Chief Executive, Mr Leung Chun-ying, at the inauguration ceremony of the Fourth Term Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government on July 1. (HKETO)
 

**For more information about the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, Sydney, visit: www.hketosydney.gov.hk
 


Facts and Figures
In 2011, Australia was Hong Kong’s 18th largest trading partner; 14th largest market for domestic exports; 13th largest market for re-exports; and 22nd largest source of imports.
In 2010, Hong Kong was Australia’s 19th largest trading partner, 13th largest export market and 27th largest source of imports.
In 2011, HK$33.6 billion  (US$4.3 billion) worth of trade between Australia and the Mainland of China was routed through Hong Kong, representing 3.7% of the total trade between Australia and the Mainland.
In 2011 Hong Kong’s major domestic export items to Australia were jewellery, goldsmiths’ and silversmiths’ wares, and other articles of precious or semi-precious materials (32%); miscellaneous edible products and preparations (14%); and tobacco and tobacco manufactures (9%).
In 2011, Hong Kong’s major re-export items to Australia were telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (20%); articles of apparel and clothing accessories (13%); and medicinal and pharmaceutical products (12%).
In 2011, Hong Kong’s major import items from Australia were non-ferrous metals (12%); telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (11%); and fish, crustaceans, molluscs and aquatic invertebrates, and preparations thereof (11%).
As at 1 June 2011, 32 regional headquarters, 41 regional offices and 80 local offices were set up by Australian companies in Hong Kong.
*Source: Hong Kong Regional Cooperation Division, Trade and Industry Department, May 2012
 

Case study: Hong Kong’s Cyberport
Cyberport is a creative digital community based in Hong Kong with a cluster of technology and digital content tenants and is owned and managed by Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited, which is wholly owned by the Hong Kong SAR Government.
Equipped with an array of state-of-the-art ICT facilities and a cutting-edge broadband network, the Cyberport community is also home to four grade-A intelligent office buildings, a five-star design hotel, and a retail entertainment complex. Amongst others, Cyberport nurtures Australian and New Zealand ICT industry start-ups and entrepreneurs driving collaboration to pool resources and create business opportunities and partnerships.

*For further information:
Contact Mark Clift, Chief Operating Officer, Cyberport: +852 3166 3821

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