Why Hong Kong trade missions are a fantastic return on investment for Australian and New Zealand businesses exploring overseas opportunities

Recent reports about Australia’s current free trade agreement negotiations with Hong Kong further highlight the abundant opportunities for businesses looking to move into international markets. As Australia’s fifth largest source of total foreign investment and the 10th largest investment destination, Hong Kong continues to attract lucrative business investment across all sectors.

Hong Kong appeals to Australian and New Zealand businesses wanting to take advantage of the extremely favourable tax and business climate, as well as those seeking a stepping-stone into China. The significance that Hong Kong holds for Chinese trade can’t be denied: the Hong Kong Trade and Development Council advises that more than 60% of Chinese investments are directed or channelled through Hong Kong, and in 2015-16 Chinese outbound investment reached US$1,097.9 billion.

Trade missions breaking down cultural barriers

But despite prospects in Hong Kong being vast and varied and its links to success in China proven, businesses are often overwhelmed when it comes to moving into a foreign market and the accompanying need to develop business networks that will help them on the ground. Fortunately, trade missions can be utilised by businesses to dip their toes in foreign markets with a fantastic support network alongside them for guidance.

Trade missions are one of the most effective weapons in breaking down cultural barriers, identifying ongoing cultural trends and developing mutually beneficial and long-lasting business relationships. They also provide an incredible return on investment together with an abundance of knowledge and experience that simply isn’t available anywhere else.

Missions provide lasting connections and exclusive on-the-ground experience

Trade Mission leader Stacey Martin from Expat Advisors Community, who is busy organising her popular January 2018 mission to attend next year’s Asian Financial Forum, believes that travelling to Hong Kong as part of a trade mission not only boosts a business’s chances of succeeding abroad but it also cements enduring relationships with fellow business delegates.

“Travelling as part of a trade mission enables businesses to take advantage of the connections and experience of the mission leader, as the trip is ultimately personally planned with a definite outcome for those businesses in mind,” Martin explained.

“Showcasing businesses [to Hong Kong investors] is catered for through the Invest in Australia & New Zealand Expo Stand, one-on-one meetings, business introductions and site visits, allowing delegates to get the most out of the mission.”

Trade missions are proving extremely popular with financial services and business communities, especially for those working in finance, wealth management, legal, migration and property sectors. Other industries like agriculture that are on the lookout for strategic investment partners are also recognising and taking advantage of new openings in Hong Kong.

Introduction to locals and expats among networking opportunities

Ian Hyman, CEO of Hyams Valuers and Auctioneers who attended Martin’s trade mission to Hong Kong in early 2017, believes that the trip provided massive benefits on three key fronts.

“First, the quality of the members on the trade mission proved outstanding, and I have retained contact and developed business relationships with several,” he said.

“Second was the information that was made available about doing business in Asia, which was quite diverse and valuable. And third was the introduction to locals and expats though a range of networking opportunities.”

During a recent interview, past NSW Business Chamber Chair and President Tony Dormer said that it’s a common misconception that the Asian market is simple to crack. He noted: “So many people think that it’s easy [to succeed] because the market is so big overseas – so much bigger than our little country here – but it’s not that easy.” Dormer is a big believer in learning on the ground, also travelling with Martin as part her 2017 Hong Kong trade mission.

Places still available for 2018 Hong Kong mission

Spots for Stacey Martin’s 2018 Australian and New Zealand Business Mission to the Asian Financial forum in Hong Kong are filling fast. Get in contact with Stacey today at Stacey.martin@expatadvisorscommunity.com.au to find out more.