Selling and Operational Adaptation in Hong Kong
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Hong Kong Selling and Operational Adaptation
Apart from adapting to the Hong Kong culture, you may find yourself having to reassess the way you traditionally operate and conduct business. Here are some things to think about when you're planning:
- Will you be able to easily obtain the raw materials you require?
- Will you be able to import to Hong Kong all the materials you need?
- Will you be able to find skilled workers in Hong Kong?
- Will you be able to take current employees, if needed?
- Are you obliged to employ nationals?
- Are you prepared, if necessary, to increase workforce and productivity?
- Are you familiar with the laws, regulations and trade barriers that could affect your business?
Selling and getting your goods to market
To improve the chances of successful business expansion in Hong Kong, you need to consider a few key issues. Sales presence, for instance, should be a top priority. Will you sell directly? Will you trade over the internet? Perhaps trade shows are more suitable? Could you benefit from a local partner who knows the market? Here are a few fundamental choices:
Get yourself a Hong Kong distributor who has a proven track record of selling on a local or national level.
Find sales agents who can either sell your products or services, or alternatively acquaint you with potential clients or customers.
Joint ventures in Hong Kong with local companies have gained in popularity, primarily because of their knowledge and established presence in the market. It is often a pricey option but lessens the risk.
Set up your own Hong Kong office, ensuring maximum control on all operations. This is obviously the most expensive of all your options.
When considering the distributional needs of your business, it is essential to account for the logistical factors which could affect it. These include things, such as:
- Your goods: are they fragile, expensive, perishable? Do they need to be kept at a certain temperature?
- Are your goods live, or considered dangerous, and, if so, can you meet the requisites of customs and excise, or health and safety?
- How regularly will you deliver? Daily, weekly, monthly? Can you find a distributor who can accommodate this?
- Can you foresee the dates / times you'll need to distribute?
- Have you worked out the transportation costs? Air freight and couriers are fast, but also the most expensive forms of freight.
- Reliable and invariable collection and delivery times, which offer accurate predictability and time-traceability
- Awareness of transit times so you can plan around them
- Freight security
- Fuel price fluctuation
- Effect of congestion or delay
The infrastructure of a country could prove integral to the success of your business. Consider logistical reasons that your business found domestic prosperity: was it the ease of which you could run it? Reliable distributors, maybe? An efficient transportation network?
It is important to contextualise these issues with the country you are expanding to: ultimately, can it offer the same logistical benefits? Hong Kong has a highly developed infrastructure and has some of the busiest ports and airports in the world. The government are also investing heavily in its road infrastructure, with US$5.1billion being pledged for improvements.
Hong Kong International Airport is ranked as the worlds busiest airport for international cargo, handling over 3.6million tonnes of freight. Hong Kongs harbour is the worlds third busiest container port with around 230,000 vessels docking each year.
Traditionally, wholesalers are used for selling low-value directly to retailers and, occasionally, the public and businesses. It is an economic way of targeting and reaching vast numbers of people quickly, and frees you from the burden of contacting retailers individually.
Distributing products in bulk not only means products sell faster than one-at-a-time, but it also allows your business to grow at a quicker rate.
Dispensing products and collecting money is generally considered more manageable and easy than dealing with a variety of customers. However, both the wholesaler and retailer will add their own mark-ups, meaning your profit margin will be less than full potential.
Just like with distributors, do some meticulous research into the wholesalers available. Here are some things to think about when choosing an appropriate wholesaler:
- Their client base: a healthy wholesaler-retailer relationship can only increase sales
- Will you want to limit sales only to retailers that suit your product's image?
- How well-established is the wholesaler? A national presence could help bring your company to the forefront of the market
- Will the wholesaler appreciate your product? If it already sells a competing product, how will it negotiate pushing yours too?
- Will you have a say in the price the wholesaler sets for your goods?
- Will the wholesaler do its best to promote your goods to its clients?
- How will the supply exchange operate? Minimum order levels / resupply?
- Will you be restricted in any way, such as limitation on distributing through alternative channels?