HIBC – Laws and Policies of Foreign Investment in China
As China’s economy continues to grow, more and more people are looking towards this industrious country to take advantage of its investment prospects.
Entrepreneurs and investors alike are crowding to park their wealth here and get in on the high growth opportunity. Hosting this event seemed to us like the perfect opportunity to help interested parties learn more about how to make this desire a reality.
Thank you to all the business professionals and aspiring entrepreneurs who took advantage of the valuable information provided by Anita Wang and her team of highly skilled legal consultants. Much was learned from the hour long presentation on legal policies foreigners must recognize prior to business set up in China, business cards were exchanged while new alliances were created during the networking session, and those questions that have been keeping you up at night were finally answered during the Q&A segment. Some key takeaways from this event include; best practices for setting up WFOE, labor laws and tax considerations.
Our guest speaker, legal expert Anita Wang, is a Senior Partner Lawyer at P.C. Woo and Zhonglun W.D. LLP. She graduated with a Masters in Law and is a Certified Tax Agent practicing in Guang Dong Province. The insights she provided during this event were extremely relevant to anyone serious about setting up business in China. The following points are just a summary of the information received during the event.If you have any questions about how this information relates to your business; more detailed information can be received by reaching out to our supportive team here at HIBC. Our door is always open!
What type of business entity is usually best for foreign investment? Well… a WFOE of course! With the right guidance, WFOE setup can be easy as there is currently no capital requirement for setting up this type of business, except in some special fields like banking or insurance industries relating with finance. We suggest having a minimum of 100 – 150 thousand RMB available for your business endeavor to give yourself adequate room to operate, but you do not need to have these funds in your Chinese business bank account all at once. One common misunderstanding of the WFOE is that a Chinese partner is required for incorporation, which is untrue as a WFOE can be set up without a Chinese national. But maybe you do have a Chinese friend you know would make an excellent business partner… Great! The other common type of business structure that many foreigners also undertake and with a Chinese person is a Joint-Venture. Now that you have your business structure set up, it’s time to think about hiring the right people for the job.
Another major area touched on by Anita was labor law, where she raised some interesting points one must acknowledge. A commonly overlooked requirement of a Chinese labor agreement is that an employer must provide social security insurance for all employees. Anita noted that if you want to end a labor arrangement, you are responsible for paying the employee a severance of [n+1 (n= years)]. For example, if an employee works for the company for 3 years, to legally terminate the employment contract, you must pay the employee a severance of 4 months wages (3+1). Anyways, the severance is up to 13 months wages (12+1). So now you have your business structure in place AND you have a team behind you BUT are you operating within policies set in place by the government?
The final key point Anita discussed with the group was tax considerations. As she points out, the majority of businesses are taxed at an Enterprise Income Tax rate of 25%, unless operating as a Micro business enterprise or certifited Hi-tech enterprise. Other major taxes to consider are the Value Added tax and the Withholding tax. Failure to comply with appropriate tax obligations can result in some severe punishments, such as lifelong imprisonment and enormous fines. HIBC can help set up and operate your business legally to ensure proper tax obligations are met so that you can focus on what you do best, expanding your business and brand.
The Q&A session was particularly constructive as attendees raised their concerns with Anita and Cassie (Founder of HIBC). The duo took turns filling the audience in on their areas of expertise, and often the whole group converged on a topic together. These are some of the questions that were answered during this productive session.
Digant Lakhani (Manager at Kiran Gems) asked: “When can we inform employees if we want let them go before their contract ends?”HIBC: The employee can be fired anytime during probation, if they breach the rules of the contract such as: they are found to be doing another job that seriously impacts their formal work as a consequence or they commit a crime. Due diligence must be performed to make sure the employee cannot perform the job as specified. Pavel Drbalek (Purchase Manager at Evrazio Center) asked: “Is it okay to register a WFOE with a virtual office?”HIBC: If the virtual office space can provide a leasing certificate (known as Red Book), as proof that business is operating within governmental jurisdiction. At HIBC, we provide the leasing certificate to purchasers of our virtual office space, giving your business a legitimate registered address from which to operate from. Mathew (Founder at Pandora Parties) asked: “Can my business be registered in Qian Hai Free Trade Zone but my office location be in another area?”HIBC: Yes, this is legal for companies registered in the Qian Hai Free Trade Zone as registration in this particular area provides special allowances. Setting up business in districts such as Luohu or Futian is perfectly legal despite the business being registered in Qian Hai.Pax (Office Manager at BM1 Trading) asked: “Why do you need a Fapiao?”HIBC: A Fapiao is proof that a transaction took place and the tax has been paid. Unlike a regular receipt that anyone can write up, a fapiao contains the official seal of the government and registers that transaction within the tax system.Yogev (Vice-general manager at Yuan Quan Hui) : “Why have I been advised that I should first register my company in Hong Kong and then use that company as the investor company to open a WFOE in China?”HIBC: Setting up a company in Hong Kong provides many benefits which include ease of startup, proximity to mainland China, a business-friendly tax system and the ability to easily receive payments from overseas. HIBC provides business setup services for both Hong Kong and mainland China.
Remember that laws and policies in China are constantly changing, so be sure to stay up to date when new information is available or hire qualified professionals that will keep your business in compliance so that you can focus on what you do best. At HIBC, we strive to provide our customers with a work space tailored to fit their needs and provide the best possible resources to promote and grow their business. We are happy to provide our members with exclusive events that integrate with global business trends and client interests. We hope to see more of you entrepreneurs with exceptional motivation to succeed at one of our upcoming events. Stay posted for information regarding our upcoming events by following our official WeChat account.
At HIBC, we aim to create an inclusive ecosystem that acts as a catalyst for your business. With people from diverse backgrounds and sectors all under one roof, special ideas turn into special projects. We are proud to host unique events for our members that dive deep into the latest social, cultural, technological, and business developments. That way, our community constantly stays informed and at the front of the pack as well as becoming connected with new friends and partners that attend. We hold your start-up’s hand every step of the way and supply all the tools necessary for it to grow; from company set up, tax accounting, IP rights and strategic partnerships.
What we do:
– Co-working space/ Serviced Office/ Co-living space
– Relocation service
-Company Registration ( WOFE & HK company)
-Accounting and Tax
Please scan the QR code to contact us!
Room 3807~3809/1601, Block A, Xintian CBC building, Fumin Road, Futian,
Co-working Space Buy 1 Get 1 Free
HIBC Co-working Space
Limited Time Special Offer
Buy One Get One for Free!
√ Pay for 1 desk get another desk for free.
√ Pay for 1 month get 1 month for free.
（you can enjoy one of the promotions above.）
Private office for 3 desks
Now is only ¥3,680/month ALL FEES INCLUDED
( can provide Rental Certificate)
20% OFF Address for registration &WOFE registration
(All fees included + Rental Certificate)
Come here, you can make friends with people from different industries all over the world. We will hold an international business event regularly to make you work and networking together.
√ Futian CBD location, 1 min to 2metro lines, close to coco park
√ Large window, bright light, amazing view
√ Brand new western decoration，fully furnished
√ Free coffee, tea, High-speed Wifi support
√ 24/7 access
√ Flexible lease term, all fees included
√ One-stop expat business services: registration, administration, finance and tax, translation services.
Category A foreign talents, subject of the “green channel” and “admissible absence for procedure” services, include scientists, science and technology leading talents, international entrepreneurs, special talents and other foreign high-end talents urgently needed in the economic and social development of China. The general six main categories are as below:
(A) Selected for the Domestic Talents Programs;
(B) Conforming to the international criteria of professional achievement;
(C) Foreign talents fulfilling the market demand for government-encouraged posts;
(D) Innovative and entrepreneurial talents;
(E) Outstanding young talents;
(F) Graded 85 points or more in Score Table;
Among the above six general categories, mainly include:
Talents appointed for senior management or technical posts in central enterprises andtheir subsidiaries, the global or regional headquarters of the world top 500 enterprises, national high-tech enterprises;
Former senior managers, key R & D members of the headquarters, deputy general managers or above and R & D chief of the second-tier branches or regional headquarters of the world top 500 companies ;
Foreign talents whose salary income is 6 times or higher than the local average annual income of the previous year. For Shenzhen, annual salary income should be 538560RMB (monthly salary should be 44880RBM) or higher, average salary will be adjusted around in Jul every year;
Senior managers or technical staff employed by domesticand foreign medium-sized businesses ; the chairman of the board, the legal representative, general manager or the chieftechnical specialist appointed by small-sized foreign-invested businesses inline with the government-encouraged industries specified under “Foreign Invested Industries Guide Catalogue”and “Catalogue of Foreign Invested Competitive Industries in the Central and Western Regions” ;
Graded 85 points or more in the score table.
For Score Table and more criteria, please add our WeChat:13684991963.
II. Category B (Foreign professional talents)
Can get one-year work permit and residence permit.
This category mainly includes:
(A) Foreign professionals with a bachelor degree or above and 2 years and above related work experience;
(B) Skilled talents with qualification certificates and with annual salary income is 4 times or higher than the local average annual income of the previous year. For Shenzhen, monthly salary should be more than 29920RMB, average salary will be adjusted around in Jul every year;
(C)Professionals graded 60 points or more according to Score Table.
For foreigner without bachelor degree, please add our WeChat:13684991963 for solutions.
III. Category C (Other foreigners meeting the demand of the domestic labor market)
Can get one-year work permit and residence permit.
This category includes:
1. Foreign employees in line with the relevant regulations concerning the employment of foreigners in China;
2. Foreigners engaged in some temporary or short-term (no longer than 90 days) posts;
3. Foreigners under the quota system management, including young foreigners coming to China for internship under intergovernmental agreements, foreign students in line with the relevant regulations, foreign graduates from overseas institutions of higher learning, foreigners engaged in long range fishing and other special fields.
Today we sit down with Stephen Barnes from Hong Kong Visa Centre and discuss how business owners should consider the visa and immigration process in Hong Kong. Is it right for them? Will they be registering a HK Limited and planning to remain in Hong Kong, or working “offshore”?
Its a rather complex topic, and we’re lucky to have the “Hong Kong Visa Geezer” break it down piece by piece to help get our heads around it and deal with it properly!
Topics Covered in this Episode
Brief introduction of Stephen Barnes and his Hong Kong Visa Service company
Entrepreneurs in Hong Kong and out of Hong Kong, thought process of considering a Hong Kong visa
Investment Visa, what it is and who its for.
Comparing an Investment visa to an Employment visa to a Student visa, and a Tourist visa. Putting it all together, which one is for who, and why.
Those Hong Kong companies in Mainland China (Like me) or in Southeast Asia or other countries, how they are treated
Diving Deeper into the Investment visa for entrepreneurs and small to medium sized businesses
Newbie tip for a Foreigner in USA or Europe looking to make the move to Hong Kong to startup.
Below we had this podcast converted to text, as it is a top listened episode, enjoy!
Introduction: Welcome to the Global From Asia podcast, where the daunting process of running an international business from Hong Kong is broken down into straight up actionable advice and now your host, Michael Michelini.
Mike: Okay. Thank you everyone for tuning in to Global from Asia episode 4. I’m here with Steve Barnes from Hong Kong visa center. Thank you for coming, Steve.
Steve: Mike, it’s my pleasure entirely.
Mike: Okay. Great! So let’s just jump right in. Maybe you could introduce yourself and your company to our listeners today.
Steve: Steve Barnes, been in Hong Kong for 27 years, started immigration practice in Hong Kong 20 yrs ago. I’ve been practicing ever since.
Mike: Okay, great! Yeah, I met you actually at a seminar where you were sharing your knowledge and appreciate you being on podcast for everybody today. It’s a hot topic, visa and immigration…
Mike: For expats here in Hong Kong. So I think a lot of our listeners are sometimes in Asia where they are coming through Hong Kong, doing their either startup or their entrepreneurial endeavors as a small business or medium sized business. What do you kinda advice them for immigration or visas in Asia or in Hong Kong specifically?
Steve: Well, I’m just telling that my expertise is Hong Kong. I’m gonna limit my comments to Honey Kong, it is an immigration opportunity for anybody who want to established a joint business here but effectively, if you’re a foreign national and you want to reside in Hong Kong to promote, pursue your business activity, you need to make an application for an investment visa, which is an employment visa a credit cases on you undertaking an active investment in Hong Kong and probability test. Together this institution show that you are in a position to make a substantial contribution to the economy of Hong Kong. Now, in many ways, everyone asking how long is visa strings, right? But there are certain things that run a bit advice around every investment visa application that goes on to get approved. The things that you need to show through your planning and through your, through early months of your operation that you are in a position to create local employment opportunities. Don’t get any local jobs on day 1. If you have a business plan that you put into immigration department for investment visa application and there is no opportunity to locally create a local employment, then you’re going to travel together and the second thing that the immigration department are looking for, a suitable business premises and there is a premises that kind of vibe for who you are and implementation direct going to time of your plan. You can kick off with a mere virtual office, which you borrow to cheap place, but the expectation is, then your course, sooner or later, once your business plan arrived at point where you’re hiring your first employee. That first employee will have some more sensible to report, to work to each day, because you can’t expect this person to going that, fulfill their employment duties where employee from your kitchen table or a spare bedroom so no matter how economically to have any kind of bring some quality time, place for your employees to work, you need time to spare and prepare the pre-requisite for a proper engine course. The 3rd leg of approvability still is actually divided into two parts, the first is cash and the second is resources. Cash million dollar question everybody asked me is literally how much cash you need. It all depends on the circumstances. in my experience, if you have less, less than 500,000 Hong Kong dollars, you may find that your application could be compromised, so deem to be weak especially with the other aspect than your plan is a little bit marginal but if you got a half a million or more, it’s reasonable to achieve that you can go on, to expect the consideration of the immigration positively approved rather than negatively think if you haven’t enough cash. So half a million can do it but I’ve seen in application they approved less cash as well but it’s not hard and fast. The trick is to understand that you shouldn’t be really thinking that the immigration department gonna buy into your startup laying type activity which is fine without at least having some cash because you know, laying doesn’t mean cashless, laying means having a money and spending the right kind of money so that’s an important consideration. The max and the more have the issue, it is swiping very smartly got to eye level funding so that’s always good. So that deals with cash and the other element is resources, Now resources are usually all the kind of things that are driving you to make a decision to pursue investment will come in the first place. So if you got a bit of code and you already developed, you wanna use new investment in Hong Kong to be able to build on that. The fact you’ve got a basic version of your product written already. It’s a resource for first of your application if you’re coming to Hong Kong and youre general trading, and you’ve got some kind of clientele that are already in place, that’s all good. Any other resource will allow the immigration department to objectively conclude that your business, if you use those resources together with the cash that you’ve got will eventually go on to results in a solidly and commercial enterprise, that’s the challenge.
Mike: Okay, got it. Thank you so much, Steve. So I just like to recap. He mentioned 3 points. That you’re going to employ local Hong Kong residence or Hong Kong people in the business.
Steve: Anybody in Hong Kong includes lawful employable but without further promiscuous of the immigration department
Mike: Lawfully employable.
Steve: Those people are account as well for persons for the purposes of local employment
Mike: Okay, got it. And that was not to be immediate but yeah to have convincible, clear playing that you will do that. I mean what time of year, 1 year?
Steve: That’s what your plans is, right? I always say to clients, “dont think about structuring your business around immigration, think about structuring your business and ask yourself actually what does this business works for immigration purposes and you will find that there is a quite close-call relation doing business that you will expect to be successful`and those businesses which immigration department approved.”
Mike: Got it. Okay. And then second point is the office, for when you’re employing the workers that is suitable location.
Steve: Suitable environment for them to work. That’s correct, yes.
Mike: And the 3rd is the cash and the resources. I think I just like to kinda some like convert to dollars when we talk, so he’s saying, of course it is always hard, I knew everyone asking how much money.
Steve: Let’s say $75000 – $80000 US dollars into Hong Kong business bank account. Interesting there is you don’t actually need to have all the money in the business bank account. You can have enough money in the Hong Kong business bank account to finance first 6 months of cash flow, and the rest of the funds is you can attest in your personal account anywhere in the world. So you can show you’ve got the money ready to deployment into the business. You need loan those funds by the way then efficiently through at least 2 years it means before you make out a purchase so the best part would good confident proof that you are not just borrowed money and shot fine it back which is always just the perks of visa application. They all know the tricks. They’ve done it.
Mike: Yeah, I can imagine. Okay. So those are the 3 main points. I kinda a lil bit follow up the resources, so code, I mean your degree, or like education…
Steve: Yeah, your service, yourself is also a resource, your background, what you bring into, you got to have a good track record and business in the past, if it becomes successful, they come through all those types of businesses. All that stuff.
Mike: Okay. So then I think some people used a trick of employment visa even though maybe they are not familiar or for a small business. I know you don’t that more greyer.
Steve: This is an old guess not. People think that you can somehow separate ownership from your business vehicle and become a third party and also an employee, You can’t. So during the currency of the application if its a new business situation, you’ve come to this interaction, that the existing composed interaction they’ll going to look to say who the owners and director of the channel is are. i would say that you putting yourself as an employee but you’re actually own the company and director of the company. You expected on how you dresses up. They are going to comply the investment visa probability test here. that’s the hard to test of substantial contribution to the economy rather than the lesser test which is do you personally possess special skills and and expected knowledge that are not already available in hong kong . So your personal skills in the contacts of business that your shares it will be seeing merely as a resource and they will apply an investment visa approval test on you but if you’re making the application for an employment visa, and you don’t have an interest in the business and then address you will just apply special skills and obviously, experience to anyone move so much to the ability of the business to substantial contributions to the economy of Hong Kong.
Mike: Got it. So there’s a 3rd option I heard of, student visa?
Steve: Well, student visa will get you on ground of Hong Kong but you not lawfully employable, you can’t join a business of your own based on Hong Kong, you can only study and thats it.
Mike: Okay, okay. Thank you for that. Lets, so we talked about, this is kinda recap, I think there’s a three even four I mean, technically there’s a tourist visa, to make on your passport. I am on my US passport holder. I have 90 days stay.
Mike: So I actually never legally work in Hong Kong. I’m an offshore Hong Kong company.
Mike: So, I sometimes visit Hong Kong, sometimes working up a coworking space, gather some meetings. I’m okay, right?
Steve: Well, they say, it’s all about residing. So if you, as I know you are living in China but you spent most of your time in Hong Kong and pursue some business you establish here and your status is visitor, if your intentions to reside, it’s crystallize, then visiting days are just actually suitable in various before, because you’re effectively directing, controlling, employees of your company and visiting is not what it intend to do. the visitation is supposedly to come, interaction with Hong kong as a regular visitor and you gonna depart again. So, when you end up spending a great deal of time in your visiting days status instead in reality your intention is to reside is crystallized then you need to change your status from visitor to investment that you’re running in Hong Kong.
Mike: I understand. So, yeah. I mean, it’s actually complicated for me, so we talked about it, i think the correct way is, I, as entrepreneur and I wanna reside in Hong Kong as an investment visa.
Steve: Absolutely. You need to incorporate a company, get a business registration, you need to have a really good business plan which doesn’t actually need to be reflective in form of document cause in many ways immigration department normal one want to register their business plan that you might have write to an ipad. So if you’re self funding your business, there’s no formal need of business plan that might be a good practice to crystallize your thoughts and the immigration department will look at your stories as whole. They need to see that you got all the resources that you just discussed. They need to be satisfied that there is no security objection to you being granted decision to reside in Hong Kong to employ your business plan. When you have a good story, you carry can the arguments, you can tickle the bosses and you got the right level of money and there’s no security reason for you not being granted a permission you’re looking for, there’s no reason to expect, the immigration department will give you what you need.
Mike: Okay ,time frame normally?
Steve: 6 – 8 months.
Mike: 6 – 8.
Steve: 4 – 6 months, I’m sorry.
Mike: 4 -6 months.
Steve: If you’re not a resident in Hong Kong, you live somewhere else like, you do, when you want to make an application it’s going to take 4 – 6 months. If you presently reside in Hong Kong and you’re actually working for another employer and you want to stop working for another employer and start up for yourself, you still need to pass in investment visa probability test. Thus an existing residents that application dealt with different section of immigration department. It applies the same criteria but it’s a different team that handles the work. And because you’re an existing residents, that thing will finalize your application 6-8 weeks not 4 -6 months.
Mike: Okay, got it.
Steve: Make sense?
Mike: Yes. Thank you so much. So yeah, to kinda recap. Even if, so if you are working for a company in Hong Kong and you’re a resident of Hong Kong, when you wanna start your own business, apply for an investment visa, it’s a little bit shorter a month, two month and a half, still have to the money in your control.
Mike: Either a company account or personal accounts.
Mike: But if you’re doing it offshore or like me on China or others in Southeast Asia or West or as a visitor, so then if I came on 90 days stay and i’m staying in a hotel.
Steve: You can apply for guest status while you’re here but the immigration department dont allow the fact that you have a pending investment visa application to somehow advantages you in relation to 90 days of your stay. You have to leave before the 90 days are up and make a re-entrance some station if you want to comeback as a visitor before the immigration department approve your investment visa application.
Mike: Got it and really, really viable information, Steve. So again, I like to always ask on this talks. One kind of tip for newbie listener. I think a lot maybe don’t have the 500,000 Hong Kong Dollar but they are educated hustler entrepreneur. What kind of information would you give them?
Steve: Well, bear in mind that the visa class by definition called for active investment. So the fact that you may be a viable entrepreneur and you can you know, duck, dive and wave above by the best of it, that’s all well and good but you gotta understand that immigration department applies to the security of you that are mandate to make sure that they don’t approve foreigners who set up business here that have access to red label broker credit terms that you can find in Hong Kong and basically you know spend your way to disaster, trail of Hong Kong creditors on your way so even though you may have,maybe you made a license peripheral stuff to crack on with it, with very little capital using all year, argument and natural skills the immigration department don’t actually do not place a great deal creations on that. You still have to have a body of cash behind you to support yourself while doing this.
Mike: Got it. It kinda gives me a followup question. So if I answer investment visa issued, do I have more advantages on business?
Steve: Well, once you get investment visa, the immigration will approve you initially for 12 months to undertake the work you’re planning to do to promote that business as reflected in your business planning that you’ve told the immigration department is going to do on how you gonna spending your time in the context of that company and that company so you can get approval but just to do that business nothing else. Now, if opportunity put the things developed that perhaps you need to private half way through you often do something else because 1st activity is not working, that’s okay. Bear in mind that some point you even have to report that to the immigration but you won’t have to report that, the point where you privative but if, as they usually do this type of start up scenario, they grant you an approval subject to business reviews at the end of the first 12 months, so then the first 12 months immigration department will going to lift up the full and everything you’re doing in the business so if you privative in the meantime you have to explain to them. The more importantly they’re looking to see that through the lackluster performance that you have in fact been engaged in the activities that they can objectively conclude, willing to you to make a substantial contribution to the economy of Hong Kong. So you get the approval to performance, saying ok, we like your story, we believe you, see to it at 12 months mark, 80% of new business situations do not very well capitalized, tend to get approve subject to business reviews 12 months will lift up. If they do not subject to business reviews, if they really like your story from get go, then you will get what I call a freeing clear approval which means that the 12 months mark, the process to get your first extension is really just manage to get bags and you can expect that you’ll can go on to get 3 limits of stays and then you go and get numbers 1- 2, 2 -3 years pass which gives you a potential full 8 years in Hong Kong, to managing, directing, control that business. At the seventh or most people do taking constant history in temporary residents here, they want to application for permanent residency and up there absorbs same responsibility to have keep working in that business because this is a permanent residency and actually you can employ or engage your own business without further reference in the immigration department.
Mike: Got it. Wow! That’s a lot of information. So just to recap, after you get an investment visa, even if you passed, another 12 months later you’re gonna have to fly, go back,
Steve: There’s an 80% chance that they will subject your initial approval to business review.
Mike: Okay and then if you passed that usually, you have 2 years.
Steve: And if marginally, strike through that 12 months then you’d expect to business review, if you have created local jobs if you don’t have much cash in the tank. If you have been able to meet your revenue projection whatever it is, you know, just be in reasonable milestone in the first 12 months. If you have achieved that, you may find immigration department really extends you up to 2 years but then they can give you 12 months and that is subject to business approval again at the end first 12 months. But if you have a good story and slippy on the text phase and halfway supply of cash there’s no reason to expect that they respond and they will say no based in my experience.
Mike: Great! Okay. Lastly, there’s a lot of listeners that wanted to contact you. We’ll put your website upon the website too but what’s your…
Steve: Oh! We have a number of websites. We have a website which is called the HongKongVisahandbook.com and that’s basically our foundation content. It’s a DIY definitive guide to Hong Kong process. No singing, No Dancing completely free of charge, no registration required and textbook if you will, although it got videos, screencast, podcast, templates, the whole shooting match, all completely free of charge, hongkongvisahandbook.com. Tthen I do daily immigration content of the site blog called hongkongvisageeza.com and I post on that 4, 5 actually on my mind 7 times a week i don’t usually plan this so that feeds you sorts of updates of information, all completely free charge.
Mike: Great! Yes, it’s really great and we will linked that on golbalfromasia.com/episode4.
Steve: I have a, I’m gonna be Shenzhen, a week on Friday, you might put on your show notes at the boathouse. I think.
Mike: Oh, yeah.
Steve: I’m giving a talk. Oh! Not Friday, Thursday it is.
Steve:At the boathouse, yeah.
Steve: So perhaps if you put the link in your show, the people listening to me, I’ll talk about my favorite subject live.
Mike: Okay. You’re very passionate and you’re also good Internet Marketer. Your blog and your content and your handbooks, you also know a lot of listeners are Internet Marketers too. So we like the, you are also up in the game.
Steve: Our marketing was built in by design and our product is driven from marketing of inspector.
Mike: Great! That’s definitely the right way to do it. So alright. I guess if there is any last points right before we end here.
Steve: Right. I wanna, just so basically, carries anyone that is thinking about Hong Kong to understand that Hong Kong is very open. W are set and very welcoming and what might have been your early experience from the immigration agency if been to either Thailand or China, don’t expect that you’ll have that kind of experience in Hong Kong. We have very rule of law, incorruptible public service at the immigration department. We have a customer service mandate, very open, accessible and friendly but there’s a lot of stuffs that you can have access to because the immigration department play the role of gamekeeper and coucher at the same time at their website is designed to inform and not give you advice and the immigration department shows to inform and decide not to advice. So a lot of people look at Hong Kong immigration department website, they look at investment visa category and they say “Oh just get to put these document, fill this forms and i’m home and hopes.” It doesn’t work like that. There’s a 4 -6 months interrogative process where you have to show that you can make that substantial contribution to the economy of Hong Kong and if you can do it, clean and honest enough, you got the money, you got the will, you made a right entrepreneurial stuff, you have 95% chance of getting what you’re looking for and that’s how it works.
Mike: Great! Okay. Thank you so much. I’m sure we, I enjoyed you talk a lot. Thanks, thanks a lot.
To get more info about running a business via Hong Kong please visit our website at www.globalfromasia.com that’s www.globalfromasia.com. Also be sure to subscribe to our iTunes feed. Thanks for tuning in.
So I hope you give yourself a few days before your flight to pack. Some items may need you to print, apply online, and other items.
You’re like a lot of us and packing the night before the flight, after goodbye drinks with your hometown friends.
Well, if you’re reading this, you should be somewhat sober, let’s hope! Let’s dig into the list.
A Good Backpack
I’m not a fan of the roller bags. Having both of your hands free while traveling is a big help.
My friend Fred Perrotta has a product called Tortuga Backpack. I have been using it lately and it saves me money checking bags as it is the max size of a carry on, while also strapping to your back.
I’ve used the belt strap pocket to hold my passport for easy access during airplane check-in. And other times I need to grab my passport in last minute inquisitions.
I’ve also had it where I’ve had one backpack on my back, and another strapped to my chest. Nowadays the front pack is my baby, but that is another blog post 😉
The key is to have a bag that allows you to use both hands while traveling.
A VPN For Online Surfing
I had no idea what a VPN was when I first traveled to China. But once the internet filtering got worse and worse in 2009, I had no choice but to learn.
Newcomers to China will soon find they cannot load Facebook, Twitter, and Google products. There is also a long list of other websites not accessible in China. The reason why, I don’t want to get into today, but the main point is – you need to access these right!
I am a fan of Astrill VPN (you can signup via my affiliate link here). They have somehow kept up with the ever changing Chinese firewall, and only had a couple days where it is slow or not working. I recommend getting the Stealth upgrade. I’m not exactly sure but it works better, and also lets me sync my Dropbox (yes, they block Dropbox too).
Whether you use Astrill or another, just make sure you get the VPN before coming to China! Sure, you can always find a way to get it while inside the great Chinese firewall, but better to have the tools ready to go upon arrival.
Cheap Nokia Phone And A Smartphone
Back in America, I could get by with just 1 phone. Here in Asia, almost all the various countries the average is like 2.3 phones per person. Crazy right?
First, you can’t port your number over from one mobile service provider to another. Thus people want to keep their old number but switch from say China mobile to China Unicom.
Others want to separate work and personal.
For you, you might want to keep your USA number on. The phone may also have a lock on it from the cell phone carrier you use, such as Verizon.
Another reason is theft. You’re going to be meeting a lot of new people and out and about a lot when you first land in China. Having a “cheap Nokia” or other phone as your Chinese number just helps you keep things simple when traveling.
For example when in Philippines, I have a cheap old Nokia for voice calls using their Smart carrier. For my internet, I have a Globe plan with unlimited surfing, and that is on my Android LG G3 phone. When I go to a restaurant, and people are calling me to coordinate meeting, I only need to answer with my Nokia phone. I’m not as paranoid attracting pick pockets.
There are a lot of use cases for having a cheap unlocked Nokia phone, so pick one up. Best to get it when you arrive in Hong Kong or China, at an electronics market. The cost is about 10 bucks. You can then buy a pre-paid SIM card, activate it, and you’re ready to rock!
Get a T-Mobile Plan Before Leaving USA
T-Mobile has been awesome for the past few years. They have plans that don’t need a contract, which is amazing for in-frequent America visitors like me. Then a couple years ago they went above and beyond allowing international roaming on their phone plans!
The calls are not free overseas, but the internet and text messaging is free. The speed might be slow, as you get the slower band or a “not as good” carrier in the country you’re in, but who cares! It is free and unlimited.
This is another reason why having 2 phones comes in handy. You can keep your USA phone on and use it for internet and texting friends back in America. While at the same time you use the Chinese Nokia phone for calling people in China.
Install Wechat Mobile App
In China nowadays all you need on your mobile phone is an app called Wechat. It is a chat app and more.
The main point is that everyone in China is on it, and it is more important than business cards. At networking events, if people want to keep in touch they scan each other’s QR code in Wechat and add each other. What’s your Wechat? Heard all the time, so by being set up and ready to go from the get-go is a huge help.
You can even start to connect with potential people in China before you move. Going onto Chinese social networks and finding people you’d want to connect with. The best way to keep in touch is to get their Wechat username. It is a closed system so you will not be able to find people in Wechat direct in searching. Instead on English speaking expat websites in the city you are targeting to move to is a good start.
Less “Stuff” = More
One big thing when I moved overseas is that I realized how much stuff we all accumulate. Free t-shirts at events, new clothes for various dress codes. After a couple trips to Wal-Marts (ones in China are massive, and can be an adventure in themselves!) and you’ll have so much stuff it is hard to move!
Less is more. With today’s sharing economy, there will be more networks where you can rent “stuff” that you’d accumulate.
I recommend having standard “uniform” of clothes that you wear on a regular basis. Three to four sets of the same tops and bottoms, to make life so much easier.
Extreme you say? Well, you don’t have to have the exact same sets of clothes, but by not focusing on fashion you will be set free!
Wallets can get out of hand. Especially for those who travel across borders often. Moving to China, you will still keep your USD and credit cards I assume? The question is, do you mix that with your new China financials?
The best way I have sorted through this is to keep multiple wallets. That way I don’t mix up my cash and cards. I put them in a safe place in my apartment, and when I am preparing to travel I grab the wallets I will need during these trips.
SIM cards can go inside too, as well as any special travel documents you use on the road.
Before keeping multiple wallets, I would switch out the cash and cards and put them into a plastic bag or box. But then I would misplace that and dig through all sorts of places until I remembered where I put it. Having dedicated places for your important currency and cards keeps my mind at ease.
Photocopy of Your Passport
While in China, we need to keep our passports on us at all times. Sure, I know who does that?
Well, if you ever do get into an incident – the first thing the Chinese police will ask is for a copy of your passport. If you don’t have one on you, it can become an issue. Though I can say when I had my laptop bag stolen, I reported it to the police and they didn’t require me to have a passport. Some other friends I have talked to that had police officers drive them back to their apartments to get their passport.
Still, the best way is to keep a photocopy with you. This way the police or other government officials who require it in your day to day can see something.
Don’t like to hold paper on you? Sure, another idea is to have a digital copy on your mobile phone. Or synced on your Dropbox account, you can access it when someone asks.
Especially as a newcomer to China, you will be needing your identification a lot. From apartment contracts, banking, and job opportunities, they’ll always ask for it. Best to have a few ways to access your ID on demand.
Flying to China and don’t have a visa? Probably not possible, these days when you check into your flight the attendant will check your passport. Almost all passport holders need to have a visa to enter China, even us Americans.
There used to be easier ways to get a visa upon arrival, but nowadays it is best to apply while still in your home country. Are you coming as a tourist or to do business? I suggest playing it safe and paying a bit more for a business class visa.
Once you get it, like your passport, keep a photograph and scanned copy of this China visa. They’ll stick it to a page in your passport. Sometimes companies will want to see your visa when applying to things online. So it is much faster to have it already scanned and in digital form when sending in the documents. I still struggle to this day to scan things while on the road.
Bonus: APEC Card
This is a bonus one, but you will be on a whole new level compared to your other foreign friends in China. Holding an APEC card you can get the full guide here.
What is your blood type? Any allergies?
I want to call this one your “dog tag”. A dog tag comes from military days when soldiers had to hold metal tags as a necklace. It contained their personal information and blood type.
I’d also recommend keeping this card in English and Chinese. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Store it in your wallet or inside your passport and with your passport copy. Laminate it.
Here is the information I recommend
Date of Birth:
Emergency contact person: (name / phone / relationship)
Remember, in both English and Chinese.
Let’s put this in perspective. You land in China, you’re enjoying a nice meal. You get ill and pass out. You’re deep in Central China and no one else speaks English. They call an ambulance, and check for your identification on you. They see this laminated card in English and Chinese and know a lot about you, in their Chinese language. The medics are confident not to give you medicine you may be allergic to. You get a blood transfusion with the correct blood type. They contact your mom back in USA with the contact information on you.
Let’s try not to compare that to someone with no ID and all alone in a Chinese rural town.
Sure, you shouldn’t travel by yourself. You can also picture a time you get split up from your friends, lost on a subway, or drunk and wandered off on a pub crawl.
So let’s be smart and keep this kind of medical information on us to make life safer.
Insurance Back Home Covering You?
While on the topic of medical, it is also a good idea to make sure that you let your insurance provider know you’re traveling overseas. Or at least make sure you’re covered while on the road.
Most insurance policies should cover this. But by being proactive and aware of it you will feel much more confident traveling overseas. It also may remind you to have a copy of your insurance policy in electronic format (or print even better) for your travels.
Don’t have insurance? You can pay in cash in China, and of course they prefer that. Minor medical issues are not too expensive, though many of my friends can’t imagine going to a hospital in Mainland China. Hong Kong is much more Westernized. But so are the prices! So I would recommend having insurance if seeking medical attention in HK.
Here is a horror story for ya. It was my first time in Hong Kong, and maybe my second or third day. I put my Bank of America ATM card into a China Construction ATM and input my PIN. I received a popup that they “ate” my card and to contact my bank.
Horrified, I thought what can I do? It was during banking business hours, so I walked into the branch and waited to speak to a representative. She explained that they cannot access the ATM, and that they would mail the card back to my bank address in America.
I rushed back to my friend’s home where I was staying. Hopping onto the internet I contacted Bank of America via chat support. They explained that my card had recently expired and they would mail me a new one. To my USA address! I had couple more weeks in Asia, what could I do?
That is what good friends are for, I was lent money to cover me a couple days, and then had money sent to their bank by bank transfer. And credit cards helped as well for most of the trip.
I have heard other stories similar, and bankers tell me that it’s best to check up on your bank before traveling. They are getting more and more fraud protection in place. They may freeze your account, at least a temporary hold, if they see overseas activity.
So just spend the few minutes – let’s hope not hours on hold – with your bank’s customer service. You will feel more at ease that first trip to an ATM overseas.
Predicting the weather seems something even full-time Meteorologists have trouble doing. Hong Kong and South China is always hot, but there are times you’ll need a light jacket, or maybe medium level.
To best deal with the various weather outlooks, I suggest packing so that you can layer up your clothes. Having an undershirt, normal shirt, and then sweatshirt or hoodie helps a lot.
You might have your own style of fashion that is “high maintenance” and may skip over this section thinking I’m crazy. You’ll learn, :). I’ve seen a lot of long term travelers who started out with lugging around their full wardrobe. Yet over time have chosen travel light over carrying clothes.
What will the decision be for you?
So I’ll finish this section off with, stick with your current clothing style. But if you need a shipping container to move from one place to another, it may be hard to have a life of a traveler. It’s a process, so enjoy the journey.
Attending trade shows in China, you will see rows and rows of factories that make water bottles and tea containers. The first time I seen this I thought “who buys all these?”.
I’m now a happy customer of a wide assortment of water bottles and tea containers. Staying hydrated while traveling is key to staying healthy. Whether you travel to China or not.
The difference with China (and other parts of Asia) from the West is the fact you can’t drink the tap water. Restaurants will serve hot water or tea, never ice water. There aren’t any public water fountains on your trip. So you’re left with buying bottled water (or, juices and sodas which aren’t helpful for hydration) or carrying your own around.
Started out with friends donating them before I took the hint. Filling up from a larger water machine before leaving your apartment or a hotel to start your day will at least force you to consume that much liquid.
What seems like a simple item on this checklist is important. I also have it clipped onto my backpack so that I can keep my hands free. The clip also helps you to remember to take it when you trek from place to place throughout the day.
Items For Offline Blocks
While we are in 2015, there still isn’t widespread wifi in public transportation areas. We need to deal with it by preparing with things to keep our minds busy during those long flights and phases when we cannot access the internet.
Podcasts downloaded to your device (as mp3, not streaming)
Kindle, or a couple paper books
Google docs, offline mode enabled
Zen music to get you in the mode of the moment.
I’m sure you’ll think of your own tools and tricks to stay occupied when without internet. For me, I don’t like the fact that I don’t have internet control if I can be productive or not. I love to control my work productivity, internet or not.
Chinese Apps for Language & Travel Help
We live and die by the smartphone these days. It is the modern equipment of a road warrior and traveler. So leverage this power!
Here are some apps that help me get by in China:
At first I thought there was no way I could read Chinese. Slowly but surely now I’m up to over 500 characters and growing daily. While it may seem daunting and you’re just in China for a short term trip (so you think!) – you should still prepare and have a Chinese dictionary on your phone. I’m a partner in one choice, Written Chinese’s WCC dictionary is almost completely free and also has OCR functionality so you can scan and translate signs in China on demand.
Has its own dedicated section earlier in the article. Still, to re-iterate, there is no getting around using this app if you live in or do business with China. Download Wechat
Most Chinese factories and business owners who deal with international business will know it and have an account. Consider having a separate account for business and personal. Get Skype
An easy and low cost way to make international calls, when the Chinese internet sucks (as it often does). Full disclosure, my friend is a founder here, but I am not compensated to recommend this one. Check out Spaxtel here.
There are tons of other apps too, which you will hear about from friends and colleagues once you get into China.
**Tip** – I recommend downloading and installing these apps while still overseas. Especially if you are an Android user, as Google Play is banned here and it is a lot of hassle to get these apps downloaded inside of Chinese internet. Apple’s App store isn’t blocked, but it is much slower and may test your patience.
Bag Packed? Ready to Go!
So you ready to rock your China trip? Is your bag bursting at the seams? Most of the time many of us realize we have over packed and wished we traveled lighter.
Don’t stress if you forgot something, almost anything is in China! This is most likely where they made it!
Have I missed anything, I’d love to hear your feedback and suggestions in the comments below.
Download my China Packing List
Want to have the full list with you when on the road? I have a nice PDF list of items you can download and put on your computer. Bookmarking this page is also helpful – but as we all know – we may not have internet when we most need it!
If you need quick passport photos for your Shenzhen, China Visa you can stop by the photo booth in the Wanchai metro station located towards the Maxim’s cakes.
The photo machine takes various ID photos from passport photos to drivers license pictures. Choose photo version 1 to give to your China visa agent. No matter what size ID picture you choose they all cost. 50HKD. The machine had a scary warning that it didn’t make change but when we put 60HKD in bills we got 10HKD back as expected.
After you have shot two photos and picked the best choice you just need to wait 18 seconds for your photos to develop and be picked up on the outside of the machine. Other Hong Kong MTR stations may or may not have this machine email us if you find any other locations in Hong Kong for getting your passport photo taken.