How to Start a Consulting Business in Hong Kong
10 minute read
When we think of Hong Kong, what comes to mind are busy streets, delicious street food, and the iconic skyline of Victoria Harbor. Hong Kong is also a business-friendly city with a world-class infrastructure. It has a supportive government and an open business environment. Its location at the heart of Asia is an asset, especially for companies wanting to expand in that region.
Plus, it has a low tax rate, which encourages businesses to set up or move their operations there. Some of the industries that thrive in Hong Kong include financial services, fintech, tourism, and hospitality. This article shows how you can start a consulting business in this bustling territory, with a step-by-step guide to get you started on your consulting journey.
The Consultancy Scene in Hong Kong
International leading consulting firms such as Accenture, McKinsey & Company, The Boston Consulting Group, and the Big Four (PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG, Deloitte, and Ernst & Young) all have a presence in the country.
Hong Kong also has a big management consulting scene. Plus, the territory serves as a springboard for companies who want to enter the market in China. In 2015, the governments of China and Hong Kong signed the Agreement on Trade in Services, liberalizing measures for service suppliers and professionals from Hong Kong in the mainland from June 2016.
According to the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), as of December 2020, there were just under 10,000 management and management consultancy services operating in the country, employing over 42,000 people.
What is Management Consulting?
In short, management consultants work with companies to improve their performance. They also help to make the business grow by finding solutions for existing problems and ways to improve how the company operates. They often engage with C-suite level executives to solve these issues. While some firms only focus on particular industries (eg. marketing or healthcare), other consultants take a broader approach or work on certain business issues (eg. employee engagement) but span several industries.
What skills should a management consultant have?
Management consultants spend their time analyzing data and coming up with recommendations for the company, which they then present to them. Therefore, they need good analytical as well as communication skills. But this is a general way of putting it, as there are a list of various skills that come under these two umbrellas.
While researching your advice on what the company needs, it’s essential that everyone you speak to trusts you. It’s also important that you are able to get the higher-ups in the company to trust your advice.
Some essential people skills:
- Good facilitator and listening skills
- Able to build relationships with others
- Emotional intelligence
- Critical and strategic thinking
It’s not just about data analytics. You must know the right kind of data needed and convert your findings into workable recommendations.
Some essential data skills:
- Data capture, analysis and interpretation
- A good understanding of performance metrics
- How to turn data into actionable recommendations for your client
- The best way to communicate the data to your client
How to launch a consulting business in Hong Kong
Whether you have years of experience working for others or if you’re new to the field, starting a consulting business is an exciting step. First, make sure you know what you’re bringing to the table with your company’s set of skills. You should also have a business and marketing plan ready.
Also, put a system in place to run your business, such as setting up templates and sales scripts. This will ensure you’re all ready to go once you’re set up as a consultancy.
The good news is that the process of opening a business in Hong Kong is an easy one. Here are the steps to follow to start your consulting business.
Step 1 – Decide what industry or discipline you will offer consulting services in
You need to have working knowledge of the field that you choose to consult in, for your business to be successful. An interest in the area is essential and any experience is a bonus. So, if you want to help companies in the healthcare sector, it would be an advantage if you have worked in healthcare in the past.
Pick which industry you want to offer your services to or choose an area of business where you can help companies from any industry. Examples include HR, marketing, financial management, and compliance.
Also, take into account what set of skills you have and what edge this gives you over your competitors. If you see a gap in the market, take advantage of it to set yourself apart from the competition.
Step 2 – Choose a company name
Before you pick a name for your management consultancy, it has to be approved. The Registrar of Companies keeps an index of all company names in Hong Kong. You can’t have a company name that appears in this list. Use our free name checker tool to check if the name already exists.
Another check is via the Trademark Register, to confirm that your company name doesn’t infringe the intellectual property rights of any other company.
In Hong Kong, a company may be registered with an English name, a Chinese name, or both. However, a company cannot have a name that combines English words with Chinese characters.
The Registrar may also reject your company name if it can be considered offensive or contrary to public interest.
Step 3 – Pick your legal structure
You’re not quite ready to register your company yet. You first have to decide what legal structure your company is going to follow. Some options include limited company (the most popular choice in Hong Kong), sole proprietorship, or branch office. Find more information on the most common types of business structures here.
Step 4 – Register your company
It’s time to register your company with the Companies Registry. You should also incorporate your company by submitting further forms such as a copy of the directors’ and shareholders’ identification documents, and an incorporation form signed by the authorizing partners.
Step 5 – Open a company bank account
Now that you have made your business legal by registering your company, the next step is to sort out the financial aspects. You will need more documents before you open a company bank account. These include incorporation documents, proof of business such as a business plan, and the company’s Articles of Association. Once the account has been opened, the directors should deposit the share capital.
If you prefer to have someone else handle all the official business of starting a business, let Sleek handle your company incorporation without any hassle.
We’re here to help
There are many benefits to starting a management consultancy, such as being flexible with your working hours, and setting your own rates for clients. Let Sleek assist you in reaching your business goals by helping you set up your business. Contact us to get started today