This is an important question that I am really happy to answer. Experience suggests that the Hong Kong Immigration Department do tend to look favourably upon such business plans, but the applicant absolutely does not have it all his or her own way, as you will learn in my PodCast answer. (Please note the subject matter of the business in this question is just an ersatz surrogate. I have changed it to ‘fear of flying’ to protect the identity of the service nature and maintain the confidences of the person planning to establish this very unique enterprise.)
“I, an American citizen, have been planning on beginning a stress-management therapy business in Hong Kong for adults who suffer from a fear of flying.
The market is a whole lot bigger than you might imagine given that intrinsically Hong Kong is a small, far flung place that is typically accessed by commercial flights.
Consequently there is hardly anything in Hong Kong and the rest of Asia generally which offers this type of private therapy course, plus post-therapy support, for adults who simply can’t summon up the courage to get into an airplane.
Each intensive therapy course will run over a 3 day period, 12 hours per day. The objectives of the therapy are not just to allow participants to control and overcome their fears, but become incredibly self-confident in the process.
I personally have 8 years of first-hand experience in this very successful therapy. I have been through the same programme as a student, now a graduate, coach and course instructor.
I don’t hold any tertiary qualifications except for a Diploma at college.
My girlfriend, who is also a coach and course instructor on the programme, holds a bachelors degree.
The start-up costs are very low. I envision I can start employing 1 person full-time after 7 months and 2 people in part-time employment after 10 months.
The business is basically a franchise in many respects. The programme is already a worldwide business (the America’s, UK, Australia, South Africa, Europe, NZ, etc) so this will be the Asian branch.
In that case, is there a possibility the owner/inventor of the programme could help fund the start-up in HK or would that relegate myself to an ‘employee’ status in the eyes of the HK officials rather than a ‘Business Owner’?
With only US$6,000 in capital available to me at the moment, I believe my best route is to try to register the business over in mainland China first.
I have not looked into the hurdles one must pass to start a business over here (I’m in Guangzhou) but it may be easier than HK.
If I can do it, I have the prospect of having around US$25,000-US$40,000 come April-June next year.
With that money available, and the proof of income making already from the business in mainland China, that may be a better time to apply for the Investment Visa in HK?
I expect business to be operating full throttle after 14-18 months from start up in Hong Kong bringing in around US$40,000 a month from then on.
I also plan to keep studying Mandarin and Cantonese language classes so I can eventually teach the courses in native Chinese language which will increase my market.
Do I have a good chance of obtaining an Investment Visa?”
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