5 Reasons Why Hong Kong Startups Should Consider Relocating to Singapore

Photo by Lily Banse on Unsplash

By Rofianisa Nurdin

Amidst the protests and political turmoil happening, Hong Kong based Startups better make up their minds on relocating to a safer, friendlier neighbour Singapore.

Hong Kong has been long perceived as one of the freest economies in the world, making it a strategic city to establish and run a company due to its pro-business environment, tax-friendly jurisdictions, and word-class infrastructure. For startups, such character is among the key factors to support their growth and future success.

But given the circumstance of political turmoil happening in Hong Kong these past years, those benefits are being greatly challenged.

It is only rational that companies want to relocate to Singapore, Hong Kong’s biggest competitor city when it comes to ease of doing business in the Asia region. If you’re one of them, or about to be but require some more convincing evidence, here we have 5 reasons why we think Hong Kong startups need to consider relocating to Singapore:

1. Hong Kong and Singapore are two of the four “Asian Tigers”

Hong Kong and Singapore have become world-leading international financial centres in the Asia region by the early 21st century. Today, both Hong Kong and Singapore share many characteristics in common with first-world, developed countries. They have a high per-capita income, poverty is essentially non-existent, and their economies are dominated by the services sector.

Recently, in the ​World Bank’s 2019 rankings for ease of doing business​, Singapore took second place while Hong Kong was placed fourth. Singapore’s strength lies in its large industrial base, and its ability to quickly realign its resources to meet changing global demand.

Now that’s a green light for a growing startup.

2. Singapore has more stable economic and political environment

One of the most important factors that has allowed Singapore to achieve economic prosperity over the last 50 years is that they have constructive politics and a coherent government.

“We have always been transparent and honest with our people on our challenges, opportunities, trade-offs and options. A responsible government must never shirk from its responsibility to share frankly and openly its challenges with its people, no matter how tough those conversations might be,” s​aid Singapore Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing​.

In short: more productivity, less drama.

3. Singapore is the gateway to Southeast Asia, one of the world’s fastest-growing markets

Geographically speaking, Singapore is strategically positioned as an ​entry point into the Asia-Pacific region​. Its port lends itself as a hub of trade and logistics.

According to ​Bloomberg​, “If Singapore takes over from Hong Kong as Asia’s pre-eminent financial center, it won’t be because it’s become a better place for global capital to shake hands with China. Instead, it will be because global capital may one day come to regard China the same way it now regards Japan — as a vast but challenging market overshadowed by faster-growing rivals.”

Learn more about regional innovation networks in Southeast Asia here​.

4. Singapore is an ideal destination for promising regional talents with its better startup ecosystem

A 2017 Startup Genome’s report places Singapore as the world’s number 1 for startup talent. It basically is an ​entrepreneurs’ paradise​, even dubbed to be the new Silicon Valley. You know why.

It has strong research institutions and a reputation for ease of starting businesses. Intellectual property is respected and the rule of law transparent. Not to mention livability: the clean, efficient city has one up over, say, Shanghai or Bangkok.

As one of the most active finance and tech hubs in the world, Singapore has produced its fair share of large and successful startup companies. No wonder, this country is the birthplace of many of ​Southeast Asia’s unicorn startups​.

5. Effective legal system and easy incorporation setup

Many countries in Southeast Asia still have complex bureaucracies that can be challenging for businesses to navigate. But not with Singapore.

Being a former British colony Just like Hong Kong, ​the legal system in Singapore​ is based on the English common law. All Singapore citizens are equal in the eyes of law irrespective of their race, religion and creed.

Singapore’s efficient, transparent and extremely sound legal system has been a key enabler for the country’s tremendous growth over the past few years. While most consider Singapore to be a rule-bound country, it is also considered by many to be a very safe nation to live and do business in. Singapore has one of the lowest crime rates in the world.

Therefore, starting a business in Singapore is relatively simpler than most other countries, but it’s still important for you to prepare for the process. ​Here​, we’ve compiled several things that you should know before you start your incorporation in Singapore.

Want to relocate your business into Singapore?
Greenhouse can also connect you to pre-screened service providers to help you with business registration in Singapore. Learn more about our solutions.