Hong Kong is a unique territory – part of China, it still operates under legal and economic systems that are a legacy of its time under British rule. This more westernised system allows it to act as “Asia’s World City”, plugging western partners into the enormous Chinese economy. Food and beverages are a growing market sector, and a fairly relaxed import environment along with Hong Kong’s role as trend-setter in the region make it an interesting export market to explore.
Here are 6 things worth knowing about the food and beverage market in Hong Kong.
It’s a mature and open market
Hong Kong has long been a hub of global trade, and it has established systems and infrastructure to support that. The open, low tax economy is considered a relatively easy place to do business. Outside of products such as alcohol, food and beverages can mostly be imported into Hong Kong tax free.
That doesn’t mean that the market is unregulated – Hong Kong has some pretty strict food standards and labelling requirements, and import permits or health certification are required for many products. Many importers work with a local agent, both to manage the regulatory side and also gain access to Hong Kong’s major supermarkets (dominated by two players) and the street markets which are still a significant retail sector for fresh foods.
Imports are essential to food security
Hong Kong is geographically small and heavily urbanised. That means its own agricultural sector is small and imports either from abroad or from mainland China are crucial in the food and beverage market. Around 95% of Hong Kong’s food supply is met by imports.
Hong Kong is where buyers shop
Imports to Hong Kong are not just destined for the local economy. The island forms a major trade hub and shop window for buyers from across Asia, and particularly China.
A market of engaged consumers. Hong Kong’s consumers know what they want – quality and convenience. Interest is growing in both healthy options and packaged foods that offer ease of use for busy professionals. As an open and outward looking market, international products are popular. Consumers want products that come with a guarantee of quality and food safety.
Money isn’t everything.
With a fairly healthy economy, and good levels of disposable income, price isn’t always the deciding factor in Hong Kong’s food and beverage markets. Consumers are willing to pay for quality and innovative products that fit with new trends.
Hospitality is a growing sector.
Hong Kong is home to consumers who enjoy social food experiences as well as quality products in the retail sector. Restaurant goers are often well-informed and open to new experiences and trends.
Does Hong Kong sound like an export destination worth looking at for your business? Export Connect has extensive experience in helping Australian businesses find out more regarding the opportunities on offer and start building crucial networks in this market. Feel free to connect- we always love to hear from you.