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Hong Kong's Trade Sectors

Updated: Jun 28




Hong Kong's Trade Sectors


Hong Kong's import/export, wholesale and retail trades are a vital part of the territory's economy. Here's a breakdown of the sectors:


  • Import and Export Trade: Hong Kong is a global leader in trade, acting as a major re-export center for mainland China. In 2021, about 10.4% of mainland China's exports were handled via Hong Kong. The import and export industry is dominated by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).  Some of the most common traded goods include gold, integrated circuits, gas turbines, and broadcasting equipment.

  • Wholesale Trade: Wholesalers buy large quantities of goods from producers and sell them in smaller quantities to retailers, other wholesalers, or industrial, commercial, and institutional users. Hong Kong is a major wholesale hub for a wide variety of goods, including consumer goods, electronics, and food.

  • Retail Trade: The retail sector in Hong Kong is diverse and vibrant, with a mix of local and international brands. Retailers sell goods directly to consumers, and the sector includes everything from convenience stores and supermarkets to luxury boutiques and department stores.


Here are some interesting facts about Hong Kong's import/export, wholesale and retail trades:


  • The import/export, wholesale and retail trades contribute around 19% to Hong Kong's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

  • There are over 500,000 people employed in these sectors in Hong Kong.

  • Hong Kong has a well-developed logistics infrastructure, which is essential for the smooth operation of its import/export and wholesale trades.


The Hong Kong government actively supports the development of these sectors by providing a business-friendly environment, promoting trade liberalization, and investing in infrastructure.


How to Start Import Export Business in Hong Kong


Starting an import/export business in Hong Kong can be a rewarding venture. Here's a roadmap to get you started:


1. Company Registration:


  • Register your business with the Companies Registry in Hong Kong. You'll need to choose a company name, appoint directors, and register a business address.


2. Licenses and Permits:


  • Not all goods require licenses, but depending on your chosen products, you might need an import/export license from the Customs and Excise Department. Specific licenses may be needed for controlled chemicals, animals, or optical disc mastering equipment.

  • Research the Trade and Industry Department's "[Trade and Industry Department: Overview of Hong Kong's Import and Export Licensing and Control]" to understand if your products require special permits.


3. Finding Suppliers and Customers:


  • Research potential suppliers and customers. Trade missions, industry events, and online platforms can be helpful for connecting with international partners.


4. Import/Export Clearance:


  • Understand the import/export clearance process. The Customs and Excise Department handles this, and you'll need to submit documents like bills of lading, invoices, and packing lists. Duties and taxes may apply depending on the goods.


5. Import/Export Declarations:


  • Electronically file import/export declarations with the Census and Statistics Department within 14 days of the transaction.


Additional Resources:



Remember, this is a general guideline. It's advisable to research thoroughly and ensure you comply with all regulations specific to your chosen products and business model.


How Bestar can Help

Hong Kong's Trade Sectors


Bestar can be valuable assets when starting an import/export business in Hong Kong. Here's a breakdown of how each can assist you:


  • Market Research and Business Plan: Bestar can help you research the import/export market for your chosen products, assess competition, and develop a comprehensive business plan outlining your target market, marketing strategy, and financial projections.

  • Compliance and Regulations: Bestar can provide general guidance on import/export regulations, duties, and potential tax implications. 

  • Business Structure and Registration: Bestar can advise on the most suitable business structure for your import/export company (sole proprietorship, limited liability company, etc.) and handle the legal aspects of company registration.

  • Licenses and Permits: We can help you determine any necessary licenses or permits required for your specific import/export activities and ensure you meet all legal requirements.

  • Contract Review and Drafting: Bestar can review and draft contracts with suppliers, buyers, freight forwarders, and other business partners, ensuring they protect your interests and comply with Hong Kong regulations.

  • Tax and Legal Compliance: Bestar can provide in-depth advice on import duties, tax obligations (profit tax, GST), and ensure your business adheres to all relevant legal and regulatory requirements.


Choose Bestar:


  • For general guidance, market research, and operational setup

  • For matters like company formation, contracts, licenses, and tax compliance


In conclusion, Bestar offers valuable expertise for starting an import/export business in Hong Kong. 





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