The rise in economic prowess across the board has created one major burden entrepreneurs now have to deal with: the competitive local business arena

What was once an empty startup market in the city of Hong Kong some five years ago has now bloomed into a leading global economy where startup initiatives have skyrocketed since 2013, ultimately becoming the world’s most competitive economies in 2016 and 2017.

Not a decade ago, the Hong Kong startup scene was still in its infancy, however, with the rise of modern global trends and economy opening towards the international market has allowed 9.44% of adults to start or operate a business in 2016, an increase of 159% since 2009. Although this rise in entrepreneurial spirit did not happen overnight, rapid growth that has defined Hong Kong as the leading world economy can be tracked from 2013 onwards.

According to a survey conducted by InvestHK, the startup environment in Hong Kong is now 1,926 new business ventures strong, complete with 5,618 workstations and 5,229 staff as of August 2016. The rising trend was made possible by an increase in supportive incubators and accelerators, as well as the increase in the number of angel investors and venture capitalists.

However, the rise in economic prowess across the board, and although beneficial for the local and global markets, it has created one major burden entrepreneurs now have to deal with — the competitive local business arena. In order to come on top of the competitive pool and rise above the voices and faces of thousands of brands operating in the same local climate, entrepreneurs have to implement contemporary solutions in terms of financing, branding and marketing.

1. Your audience is the world

With almost 7.5 million people, Hong Kong is a relatively small market. The problem with planning a long-term success is not in shooting too high, but setting the bar too low, and in the case of the Hong Kong market, it is not populated enough to generate a revenue stream big enough for the global success.

While entrepreneurs should focus on quality, the notion of quantity must not be dismissed as easily, since acquiring enough customers in order to build a viable business on a global scale is crucial. Therefore, entrepreneurs need to brainstorm on how to increase revenue from $10,000 to $100,000 per month, or from $100,000 to $1,000,000 per month. Setting the bar high will facilitate success even where it is not apparent, so if you end up reaching 30% of your goal, it will still be more than if you had completed your smaller goals.

In order to thrive in the global market and make a business available to the masses, entrepreneurs have to to realise a concept everyone needs and wants. Moreover, this concept needs to sell easily in the digital realm. This can be a physical product with established shipping methods, or service of great value to the customer.

2. Focus on digital marketing

In the digital world, the only thing that beats a beautiful brand is a visible one. If you are not online, you might as well not exist at all, as digital visibility is the single element that can make or break your business venture. In the saturated Hong Kong market, entrepreneurs are struggling to rise above the competition and engage customers as well as investors naturally.

Also read: Singapore, Hong Kong sign fintech cooperation agreement to foster innovation

Engagement through quality content and smart use of modern SEO tools is the most powerful way for a startup, as well as an established company, to find itself at the top of the search page, and optimise conversions while bringing in new traffic on a daily basis. The CEO of Elevate Digital speaks from his experience when he says that “a well-rounded SEO strategy boosts traffic to your website, while a strong content strategy attracts prospective clients and customers; and the two combined help in building a positive online reputation and becoming the foremost industry resource”.

3. Gather professional feedback

Establishing a business is a risky project in itself, but pinpointing the areas that you need to focus on developing in order to ensure international success can prove to be almost impossible without professional guidance.

Recognising and defining your key performance indicators is crucial in scaling your business according to the trends and demands of the modern consumer market. In that sense, developing numerous product features without establishing your idea with a minimum viable product can be risky and ultimately lead you down the path of diminished ROI. Likewise, you need to know whether you should be acquiring paying customers, or on the other hand – free, to raise traffic and recognition. These insights are not easy to come by.

Therefore, entrepreneurs need to seek guidance from established entrepreneurs and investors by creating a pitch, strategising how to deploy investment capital, ultimately presenting their idea to investors in order to streamline their efforts in the right direction. Recognising your weak points and your potential with the help of veterans will surely be invaluable.

4. Build revenue streams and improve time-to-market

One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make in the competitive market is that they start fundraising after their business has already been launched. Instead, it should be one of the first steps taken before launching an idea into the global market.


Given the fact that fundraising projects can take anywhere from six to eighteen months, which is a long time in the modern fast-paced world, entrepreneurs need to gather the necessary funds to decrease their speed-to-market delivery as much as possible to stay on top of the fluctuating trends.

By obtaining funds early on, you will be able to keep your investors up-to-date and thus receive your funding exactly when you need it to deliver the product or service, and dominate the market.

The bottom line

The Hong Kong startup arena has soared high in the past few years, however, not without certain consequences for the entrepreneur struggling to establish a reputable company. Implementing these solutions will prove to be invaluable in increasing your brand recognition and setting you apart from the competition, in the end allowing you to dominate, not just the Hong Kong arena, but also the global marketplace.


Editor’s note: e27 publishes relevant guest contributions from the community. Share your honest opinions and expert knowledge by submitting your content here.

Featured image: 123RF

The post The Hong Kong market can be tough, here are 4 ways startups can compete appeared first on e27.