TIPS FOR STARTING A FINTECH BUSINESS
Hong Kong offers many advantages for FinTech businesses at every stage—from planning, to implementation, to expansion and beyond. If you are setting up your business, InvestHK provides support to help you succeed. Here are a few quick tips for starting a FinTech business in Hong Kong.
1. CLARIFY AND EXPAND ON YOUR IDEA
Solving an existing problem is not the only path to success. Innovative businesses often succeed by identifying new problems and offering solutions to them.
- Be original: Explore new ways of looking at the problem you are solving and/or developing the solution you are offering.
- Explore feasibility: Is your idea practical in terms of execution and financial constraints? If not, what adjustments can you make?
2. CONSIDER YOUR COMPANY SETUP
Here are some things to consider when setting up your company:
- Check that your chosen company name complies with the Companies Registry’s Guideline on Registration of Company Names for Hong Kong Companies.
- Define your company type. In Hong Kong, you can choose from a range of company types to suit your business requirements, including:
- Limited Company: the most common type, incorporated in Hong Kong with limited liabilities.
- Branch Office of Parent Company: if your company is incorporated outside Hong Kong and wishes to establish a place of business in Hong Kong.
- Representative Office: this type is useful for companies who wish to explore the market before making a larger investment; this type cannot engage in profit-making activities and can only fulfil limited functions.
3. DEFINE YOUR COMPANY STRUCTURE
Most of limited companies incorporated in Hong Kong are private companies limited by shares. There is no requirement for shareholders to be Hong Kong residents.
A private limited company in Hong Kong requires at least one director who is a natural person and one company secretary (if the company has only one director only, the sole director cannot be the company secretary of the company). A non-Hong Kong resident can be appointed as a director.
If the company secretary is a natural person, he/she should ordinarily reside in Hong Kong. If the company secretary is a body corporate, its registered office or place of business should be in Hong Kong.
The registered office of the company must be in Hong Kong.
You can submit applications for incorporation of companies online at the 24 hour portal – https://www.eregistry.gov.hk/icris-ext/apps/por01a/index under “User Registration” on top right corner.
4. COMPANY BANK ACCOUNTS
After registering and incorporating your business, you can open a bank account at any bank in Hong Kong.
Banks in Hong Kong normally require a minimum deposit the amount, which varies between different banks. Your chosen bank will advise you on what other documents you need to provide.
For more information, Hong Kong Monetary Authority launches a dedicated webpage on opening and maintenance of bank accounts.
5. TRADEMARK REGISTRATION AND TRADE REGULATIONS
InvestHK can provide information and assistance on trademark registration and trade regulations to ensure a smooth and secure process when doing business.
6. LEASING AN OFFICE
Hong Kong offers a wide variety of premises to suit any business. We can help you find the space that is right for you and provide information about leasing or purchasing premises.
Central is Hong Kong’s main business district. Leading names in the banking, accounting, legal and corporate worlds can all be found here. Other popular business districts include Admiralty, Wanchai, Causeway Bay, Sheung Wan and Quarry Bay on Hong Kong Island, as well as Tsim Sha Tsui (TST) and Kowloon East on the Kowloon peninsula.
Hong Kong’s excellent public transport system means that companies can choose to locate in more affordable locations and remain easily accessible for clients and staff.
Leases are typically for two to three years with an option to renew. They should always come with a full tenancy agreement.
Serviced or virtual offices are a popular choice for newly arrived companies. Serviced offices are available across the city, allow for short-term leases and often provide tenants with a range of secretarial services.
Virtual offices provide a mailing address and a receptionist who will answer the phone on behalf of your company.
Industrial buildings for general manufacturing or office use are also available. Popular districts for these include Kwun Tong and the New Territories.
If your company is involved in science, technology, design or research and development, and requires specialised facilities, there are a number of excellent options available, including Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks (HKSTP), Cyberport and Hong Kong Design Centre.
7. ASSESSMENT OF REGULATORY COMPLIANCE
Hong Kong is an exceptionally business-friendly city. At Hong Kong FinTech, we can help you ensure your business meets regulatory standards related to your industry. Find out more about consultations with the FinTech Advisory Group at http://www.sfc.hk/web/EN/sfc-fintech-contact-point/
8. GETTING FINANCING AND ATTRACTING INVESTORS
If your business needs financing from banks, you will need to draft a solid business plan. Your business plan should consider:
- Start-up costs (both fixed, like, rent and variable, like wages)
- Break-even revenue
FinTech events are great ways to attract investors. These events provide essential networking opportunities with venture capitalist firms, investors and industry experts. These events also let you investigate FinTech trends and the current ecosystem.
The city’s many incubators offer mentorship, training, workspaces, networking opportunities with industry experts and potential investors. These specialised organisations also offer pitching opportunities.
9. PITCHING AND MARKETING
Here are a few questions to answer to help you perfect your pitch for attracting investors:
- How does the product meets personal needs of designated consumer group?
- Which marketing channels are most responsive?
- How can you gauge the position of your company relative to others?
- Brand presence should be defined, impactful and clear (logo, site architecture)
- Market position should be defined.
- Acquiring and analysing market data; how are my competitors doing? What are they doing right? What are they doing wrong?