Market Insights: Hong Kong

In the latest in Croud’s series of Market Insights, we take a look at marketing in Hong Kong: exploring the use of digital marketing and sharing key dates for your diary. This insights report was collated with direction from our Hong Kongese Croudies on the network.

Languages spoken

Cantonese, Mandarin and English are the official languages in Hong Kong. However, the majority of the residents will speak Cantonese as their first language, with English being a popular language within the professional world. Additionally, following the 1997 Handover, the number of Mandarin speakers is also increasing in Hong Kong.

Important dates

People in Hong Kong usually work 40 hours per week, and the working week is usually Monday to Friday. Working hours are traditionally 9 am to 6 pm, with a one-hour lunch break taken between 12 pm and 2 pm. Some residents may even work 5.5. days per week, which means they’ll either work on alternate Saturdays or half-day every Saturday. Therefore, in Hong Kong, people are considered quite hardworking and are used to working for longer hours. Working overtime is normal and expected.

The following public holidays are also observed:


43% of the population in Hong Kong is religious, with the majority of these following the Chinese traditional religion. This is a mixture of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism, accentuated by local practices and beliefs. Other religions that are practised in a minority within Hong Kong include; Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism and Judaism. Hong Kong is commonly known for being one of the few places in China where religious freedom is both practised and protected by the law.

Business Culture


The business culture in Hong Kong takes some patience. Decisions are not made on a whim. In Hong Kong business culture, impatience and aggressiveness are often perceived as a negative characteristic. So don’t put too much pressure on your business partners.


When greeting a Hong Kongese professional, it’s customary to do so with a handshake and a slight bow. Hierarchy is respected and heavily influences business culture in Hong Kong. Therefore, when you are introduced to a group of professionals, you must greet the most senior member first. It’s also important that you address people with their title and surname. Additionally, physical contact is also rare and interactions are rather formal. Therefore you should try to avoid physical contact beyond the usual handshake.

Dress code

In Hong Kong, business professionals dress fairly conservatively, usually in black suits, shirts and ties. You should therefore try to stick to formal attire, even during business dinners. Colours also have a different meaning in Hong Kongese culture; red is considered a lucky colour while white is a traditional symbol of mourning. So it’s important to pay close attention to these when choosing a colour scheme for an event.


Business professionals in Hong Kong work to a strict schedule, so if you want to arrange a meeting, it’s always a good idea to make an appointment well in advance. You should also try to avoid scheduling meetings on Christmas, Easter or around the Chinese New year, which are all popular times for holidays in Hong Kong. It’s also very important that when you have arranged an appointment or meeting that you call or email your business contact the day before to confirm the appointment.

During the meeting, you must greet the most senior business professional first, and then work your way down the hierarchy. It’s also key to be well-prepared for the meeting and to support everything you present with facts and figures.

Business cards

Just like your wardrobe, your business cards must stick to a neutral theme. One side of your business card should be printed with Chinese, whilst the other side should be printed in English. It’s important to have well-designed business cards and to hand them out within a meeting.


In Hong Kong, public holidays are different from statutory holidays. There are 17 public holidays and 12 statutory holidays. Traditionally, statutory holidays are an entitlement that is primarily associated with blue-chip companies, while public holidays apply to banks, educational institutions and governmental departments.

Digital Marketing: Hong Kong

91% of the population in Hong Kong is online, and the most predominantly used search engines are:

  • Google – 85%
  • Yahoo – 12%

Most online searches and advertising is usually in Cantonese, whilst some of them are also in English.

Digital advertising

80% of the population in Hong Kong own a smartphone, with 62% of them avidly using social media platforms. For this reason, digital advertising is one of the main forms of digital marketing in Hong Kong. So far in 2019, the digital advertising market spend amounts to $1,153m USD, with the market’s largest segment being banner advertising, which holds a market volume of $502m USD. The most popular types of digital advertising are programmatic display and PPC advertising.


Additionally, China’s most popular messaging app WeChat, is at the centre of mobile marketing strategies across a range of brands in Hong Kong. And with currently 300 million monthly active users, TikTok has also emerged as a popular marketing platform for many.

Influencer marketing (Key Opinion Leaders)

Consumers in Hong Kong are traditionally wary of trying products from brands without consulting a friend or a third-party who have used the product first. For this reason, there is a high dependence on influencer marketing, which is commonly used to shape opinions and drive sales revenue for many brands.


According to findings from a recent survey by PwC, 68% of consumers surveyed admitted to purchasing products online at least once a week. Thanks to extensive mobile connectivity and established technology infrastructures, online retail has become a vital part of the retail sector in Hong Kong.

For this reason, businesses should focus their retail marketing efforts online and work towards campaigns that integrate the online and offline experience. Some of the ways that you can implement this, is through the use of technology, including Internet of Things scanners, tablet and mobile checkout and even self-service checkout.


In Hong Kong, 92% of the population are of Chinese ethnicity. Around 46% of the population is male and 54% female. Around 75% of the population are aged between 15-64 years, 14% are 64+ and 11% are under 15.

Interesting facts

  • Hong Kong has more Rolls Royce’s per person than any other city in the world.
  • Eating noodles on your birthday is considered by residents of Hong Kong to bring you good luck and blessed life.
  • Hong Kong has the highest average IQ in the world at 107.
  • High Kong has one of the world’s most efficient subway systems with a 99.9% on-time rate, and the entire system is managed via an AI-powered technology.
  • You can be married at McDonald’s in Hong Kong. It includes a balloon wedding dress, balloon rings, venue and of course food by McDonald’s. This costs about $2,000 USD.

To find out more about our Croudie Network and how it can help you expand globally, get in touch.

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