Screen shot 2015 06 08 at 22.27.26

Why a San Franciscan would launch a startup in Hong Kong

When people find out I am from San Francisco and that I have launched a startup in Hong Kong, their first question is "Why?" When San Francisco has startups and companies like Airbnb, Facebook, Google, Apple, Twitter within an hour drive, why of all places, would I choose Hong Kong? Who in their right mind would leave Silicon Valley for Hong Kong, especially when working on a startup?

I moved from San Francisco to Hong Kong in 2011 while still with a corporate job. I really liked my job and prior to my move, hadn't even thought of building a startup. As time wore on and I started to meet others in the startup sphere, a credible co-founder, and came across a legitimate problem I wanted to solve, I decided that I could fix it by building my own startup. I don't have anything against the California startup community, but this is based on my experiences in Hong Kong. Ultimately, why did my co-founder and I decide to stay in Hong Kong for it, and not move back to California where we're both from?

1. Supportive startup community

The people in the Hong Kong startup community are some of the most helpful and supportive people I've met. As a first-time entrepreneur, there is a lot to learn and other people in the startup space have definitely spent time to explain, teach, and connect us with people they know. The community may be smaller than Silicon Valley, but it is definitely tight-knit.

2. Diverse backgrounds

The people I have met in Hong Kong are definitely a diverse group. There are people from the U.S., France, London, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and from many other countries, who live or travel through Hong Kong. For me to build a platform that connects people with others for insider knowledge, who better to ask than people from all over the world?

3. Very open with sharing input

With all these people of diverse backgrounds, from location of origin to backgrounds and mindsets, what's most important is their openness. None of the supportive community or diverse backgrounds would help if people weren't open to sharing their input. I love that people share their thoughts on how I am doing, suggestions for improvement, and recommendations on resources.

4. Accessibility and number of events

There is at least one event every night, if not 5 related to startups or the industry I am seeking to learn about. There is no worry about a lack of events. The only difficulty is deciding on which events to attend.

5. Helpful organizations

From government organizations (e.g. InvestHK) to startup communities (e.g. StartupsHK, WHub) that have been so helpful for my journey, there is no lack of resources if you just seek them out.

San Francisco is still my home, but in my eyes, Hong Kong is the ideal city for me to build my people-centered startup, Sam the Local.
Sam the local

Why a San Franciscan would launch a startup in Hong Kong

Recommend to a friend

Next on your reading list