PUBLISHED 19 May 2016

Hong Kong: less optimistic about business growth and work longer than Singapore


Hong Kong and Singapore are recognized as regional hubs and rising stars in APAC.  The Compass Index recently compared business trends between these two countries and our findings suggest that businesses in Singapore are more optimistic and employees enjoy a better work life balance than in Hong Kong.
Based on clients survey, the Compass Index measured business trends in nine different countries in APAC. The respondents come from a cross section of start-ups, small medium business and multi-national companies.
Optimism in Business growth
The Index shows that 43 percent of businesses in Singapore are strongly confident in the growth of their business this year, compared to 30 percent of businesses in Hong Kong. Singapore is also leading in the recently published Global Financial Centres Index that placed it behind London and New York in regards to business environment, financial sector development and infrastructure.
Both governments have stepped up their efforts to support start-ups and small medium businesses in their countries. In March, the Hong Kong government announced that its 2016-2017 Budget will see measures to support SMEs including tax cuts to injecting HKD 5 billion into the Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF). While the Singapore government has implemented special tax schemes to support newly incorporated companies, in addition to providing a startup cluster ‘Block 71’ and research resources. Recently, the government launched SG-Innovate where it serves as one stop office to boost Singapore’s position as a financial technology hub.
Singaporean businesses are also more decisive in hiring than Hong Kong. The Index shows that 61 percent of businesses in Singapore plan to hire more personnel, compared to 44 percent of businesses than Hong Kong this year.
“Singapore and Hong Kong are the gates to Asia. They both offer unique selling points for businesses i.e. for businesses that want to tap the Chinese market, Hong Kong might be the better place; while for businesses that want to focus on Southeast Asian countries, Singapore would be the natural option.” Said Andrew Chung, CEO of Compass Offices.
Work Life Balance
While more than 50 percent of people in Hong Kong and Singapore work between eight to nine hours on an average day, our Index indicates that 8 percent of Hong Kongers work more than 11 hours, compared to six percent of Singaporeans.
However, there are more Singaporeans that do not bring work home. 27 percent of Singaporeans have never brought work home, compared to less than 20 percent in Hong Kong.
Last year a survey carried out by Community Business, a non-profit organization that is focusing on good business practices in Asia, suggests that more than 60 per cent out of 1,000 employees across Hong Kong feel that their work life balance is getting worse.
“Businesses in Hong Kong and Singapore are seen as the frontrunners in the region. So it is important for them to embrace the concept that work life balance is no longer a nice to have policy. But rather, it is a pertinent way to encourage hard work and employees’ loyalty, and to stay on top of competition.” closed Mr. Chung.

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