Hong Kong has promoted its vibrant start-up scene for several years and a growing number of entrepreneurs now choose Hong Kong to launch their ventures. From fund-raising platforms to co-working office space, the Special Administrative Region is giving entrepreneurs everything they need to start their businesses.
The government is also making Hong Kong more attractive for entrepreneurs. In its 2015 Policy Address, the government committed to increase the inflow of entrepreneurs from outside Hong Kong. Under the General Employment Policy, new immigration policies were passed to make it easier for entrepreneurs to live and work in Hong Kong.
The investment visa scheme is now referred to as 'investment as entrepreneurs' and permits visas for investors. The application requirements for entrepreneurs has been revised to provide greater clarity in terms of content and documentation to be submitted. The duration has also been extended from one to two years on the initial grant and three years upon renewal.
Moreover, start-ups are now included in the scheme. Although there is a stated preference for these to join one of the many official programmes (such as StartmeupHK), start-ups with the appropriate financial support (angel investment or funding from private companies) are eligible to apply under the 'investment as entrepreneurs' visa scheme.
In addition to the existing requirements (for the sponsor and candidate), the following information is requested for those who want to apply for the 'investment as entrepreneurs' visa:
- Business plan
- Business turnover
- Financial resources
- Investment sum
- Number of jobs created locally
- Introduction of new technology or skills
The Hong Kong government encourages new businesses related to the four pillar industries: trading and logistics; tourism; financial services; and professional and producer services. Additionally, businesses related to the four Working Groups of the Economic Development Commission: transportation; convention and exhibition industries and tourism; manufacturing industries, innovative technology and cultural and creative industries; and professional services are also encouraged.
The new visa scheme opened to new applicants in May 2015 and is key to attracting talented entrepreneurs to Hong Kong.