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How Hong Kong has created the right environment for cutting edge creative businesses to thrive

November 29, 2021 | 9 min read

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Hong Kong is an established hub for industries such as finance and luxury goods and it’s now becoming the first choice for adtech, creative agencies, and innovative new media businesses.

InvestHK

Hong Kong has set the stage for creative and technology businesses to grow, particularly in the MarTech and AdTech sectors.

While the past two years have been an economic challenge for many businesses, the Asia Pacific region is returning to growth. For many creative and technology businesses, this means plotting a chart into new territories to capitalize on renewed momentum. Central to many burgeoning plans is Hong Kong.

Deciding where to grow your business internationally isn’t a decision taken lightly. Recognizing this, InvestHK has launched an in-depth study, alongside PwC, to help equip business leaders with useful insights in why Hong Kong should be central to any expanding agency's plans. To download InvestHK’s market report for free, fill in the form below:

Key Takeaways

The Drum had a sneak peek into the report and pulled out some top insights for marketing, creative, and technology businesses looking to expand in APAC:

East meets west talent

Hong Kong sits within the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA), linking Asia and the rest of the world to Mainland China’s tech heartland, offering a rich talent pool that can creatively connect the East and West.

With Mainland China being the world’s second largest online ad market, this is a significant opportunity for businesses and Hong Kong-based agencies being the first port of call for Chinese brands looking to expand internationally.

One company that has taken advantage of this is Ykone, a leading international agency that offers influencer marketing technology platform for travel, beauty, fashion and luxury brands. Ykone chose Hong Kong not only because it can localise for Mainland China and the wider APAC region, but it is also in a good position to assist Chinese luxury brands that are expanding overseas, with a strong demand expected from the Chinese industries.

That, combined with a history of business-friendly financial and legal frameworks, creates a promising environment for growth for agency businesses in Hong Kong.

Adtech and Martech booms

There are also more nuanced industry-specific insights around the adtech and martech industry that help to explain why businesses that are based in Hong Kong are already seeing growth. According to the report, within APAC there are an estimated 600+ martech vendors, compared to 8000+ globally, suggesting there is still a huge opportunity for growth in the region.

Hong Kong’s consumers are very digitally savvy, with 86% of the population using social media, of which 98% access this using their mobile phones. Many businesses are also selecting Hong Kong as a way to access neighboring regions, such as South East Asia, which are also mobile-first digital economies.

This was an important factor in the decision for creative-first, advertising scale-up Adludio, which is developing the next generation of mobile brand solutions. For Adludio, being based in Hong Kong, a mobile-first market that celebrates and rewards innovation is key for its growth.

New frontiers: gaming and innovation

Few industries illustrate Hong Kong’s celebration of innovation than the gaming industry. Hong Kong’s high demand for video games and streaming is highly conducive to games publishers and developers. According to the report, 86.6% of the Hong Kong population play some form of video game, video game revenue per capita in Hong Kong is the fourth largest revenue per person in the world.

From a business perspective, Hong Kong’s status as a regional distribution centre for games, its unrestricted access to global game titles, and the geographical positioning between the East and West of the gaming industry have been driving factors in gaming developer and publisher Digital Bros’ decision to be based in the city. The company set up its regional headquarters in Hong Kong, supporting independent developers in both regions to go global while introducing their own IPs into Mainland China and Asia.

Another successful example is Hong Kong based blockchain gaming company Animoca Brands, which recently hit unicorn status and continued to enjoy success with several funding rounds. The new capital enables the company’s further growth, bringing digital property rights to online users, primarily for consumer video game players and the metaverse, through the use of blockchain and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

Where tech and creativity collide

The geographic and logistical framework that allows businesses to thrive in Hong Kong set the foundation but the way that creativity and tech collide is shaping its future. The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is playing a very active role in this. HK$100 million (US$12.9 million) has been set aside under various existing funds to support Arts Tech projects, creating collaboration opportunities for art practitioners and technology talents and opening new opportunities for multimedia solutions providers.

An example of this in action was the debut of the first Digital Art Fair Asia, in Hong Kong, featuring a 360° immersive art experience and world-class NFT digital art. The event saw an impressive 25,000 people attend, showing the immense potential of new forms of digital creativity in NFTs and new media arts.

“Hong Kong has always been a hotbed for competition, where the strongest offering has always come out on top. There is a wealth of burgeoning technologies that will enable further growth, ready for new players to take full advantage of, it is an exciting time to be part of the Hong Kong creative ecosystem,” adds Doris Fong, Head of Creative Industries of InvestHK.

Work & Wellbeing Adtech Martech

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Invest Hong Kong

InvestHK’s vision is to strengthen Hong Kong’s status as the leading international business location in Asia. Our mission is to attract and retain foreign direct investment which is of strategic importance to the economic development of Hong Kong. Including the Hong Kong Head office, we have staff and representatives in 33 cities in Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East, and North and South America. We offer free advice and services to support companies from the planning stage right through to the launch and expansion of their business.

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