Singapore vs Hong Kong: the best place to do business

Singapore and Hong Kong have long been competing to become the world’s best place to do business. Both have been doing their very best to attract investors from all over the world. With Hong Kong’s stellar history of conducting business and Singapore’s impressive adaptability in the business world, both have proven to be very strong competitors.

Singapore is chosen by investors due to lifestyle reasons, infrastructure strength, or service provider quality and is more beneficial for small-scale businesses. Investors opt for Hong Kong, too, in order to penetrate big-scale markets. So it’s not clear yet as to which one has the greater edge.

This article will help us find out which one is more suited for entrepreneurs to establish their business in.


Both cities are strategically located in the heart of Asia but if you need to penetrate the Mainland Chinese market, Hong Kong is perfectly situated near Mainland China to better suit your motives. But despite this advantage when in Hong Kong, Singapore is able to put out with regard to its seaport that conducts several businesses at a time.

Ease of doing business

You can actually get a business registered in one or two working days. Getting a bank account may be a bit more difficult if you are not based there. In Singapore your company always needs to have a resident company director (which you can just hire at around 2500 SGD/year) who can apply for a bank account. In Hong Kong this is not necessary to run your business, you can be your own company director, but in order to open a bank account  you need a locally based representative. There are many shared offices from where you can work and meet other entrepreneurs.

Quality of life

With a rich and diverse culture of people, Singapore is easy to adapt in due to the modern and westernized culture as a result of the unique blend. English is more commonly spoken in Singapore as compared to Hong Kong, where Mandarin and Chinese are used often for casual communication.

If you’re looking for safety, Singapore boasts itself being the one country that has the record of the lowest crime rate in the world.

Singapore continuously promotes a clean, green, and healthy environment, free from traffic, as opposed to Hong Kong’s problem of air pollution and traffic congestion. You can also check the Best Air Purifier List.

When it comes to food though, Singapore manages to showcase cuisines from both east and west. However, when it comes to Hong Kong, it’s considered as the food capital of China and it takes pride in offering all forms of Chinese cuisine to the people.

Eating out is common in Singapore and it offers several accommodations to suit the wide range of food preferences by the people. The wide array for selection makes it pocket-friendly for consumers.

Despite though, when it comes to drinking, smoking, private eduction and driving a car, cost in Singapore are much higher than in Hong Kong.


Taxes will always be one of the factors an entrepreneur would consider before starting a business.

In Singapore, the low effective personal and corporate tax rates are a huge advantage and their corporate income taxes have been reduced for the benefit of the competing companies in the industry. In Hong Kong, any income derived from abroad is exempt for company tax. This even beats Singapore, especially for companies who do a lot of international trade or get their income from licensing.

Workforce quality

Hong Kong possesses experienced and talented entrepreneurs who are comfortable in conversing Cantonese and Mandarin and greatly indulges in the business culture of Mainland China. In Singapore, however, professionally qualified and highly educated people comprise their workforce and foreigners are more attracted to them due to their prowess in speaking good English. With regard to employment costs, Hong Kong has a higher rate than Singapore.

Political climate

Singapore is more politically stable than Hong Kong and this has boosted their credibility in doing business with other countries. Hong Kong is getting more influence from Mainland China, which increasingly leads to protests.  Recently this has led in Hong Kong to a downward trend for the economy. Both countries have a very good political climate conducive to business startups and growth.

Economic landscape

Singapore has become one of the most competitive countries in the world in terms of economic growth due to its stability in trade and investment. Hong Kong always has been an important trading hub for China, but as China is opening up further, companies are moving to nearby Shenzhen to take full advantage of more space and lower costs.

Legal environment

Due to Singapore’s legal system being efficient and reliable, it has become more the reason for business establishments to grow there. Foreigners will feel secure enough to conduct their business in a foreign country because of this.

For Hong Kong, China has guaranteed that the legal system as left by the British will be there for some time. But currently also ‘mainland China’ laws are imposed on Hong Kong, and the question is how long the relatively independent justice system will remain unaltered.

Final thoughts

Based on market research done by Alliance Experts, Singapore is rapidly become a strong candidate to rival Hong Kong and Hong Kong is slowly losing its touch but still holding on. Nevertheless, both countries are still one of the top nations to vie for title of being the best place to do business in the world.

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