Hong kong


Hong Kong country guide

Learn about cross-border ecommerce, shipping, and importing.

If you are looking to grow your ecommerce business into Hong Kong 🇭🇰 Attribution for Twitter Emojis: ©️ Twitter, Inc., you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about selling goods into Hong Kong.

Ease of importing goods score: B 

Ease of doing business 2/5

  • The Chinese and Hong Kong governments have imposed procedures that compromise the ability for foreign businesses to operate freely and with legal certainty in Hong Kong.
  • In 2021, the Department of State and several other legal departments issued a business advisory to U.S. businesses regarding potential risks to their endeavors in Hong Kong.
  • Hong Kong’s economy remains severely hindered due to the ongoing COVID-19 controls.

Landed cost fairness 5/5

  • Hong Kong is a free port and does not levy any customs tariff on imports or exports, which is favorable for landed cost.
  • Hong Kong charges an excise and consumption tax on particular goods.

Flexibility of legal regulations 4/5

  • Hong Kong’s government has taken measures to protect against smuggling by enforcing licensing controls on prohibited articles through inspection of imported cargoes.
  • Correct packing, documentation, marking, and labeling are imperative for smooth customs clearance in Hong Kong.

Availability and accessibility of shipping 5/5

  • Hong Kong’s Eastern Asian location allows for many carrier options and services because of the high-traffic Asian trade route.

Accessibility and variety of payment methods 5/5

  • Hong Kong accepts a variety of popular payment methods; the most popular method is debit or debit card.

Market opportunity 5/5

  • Hong Kong’s open trade and investment climate makes it a preferable market for imports.
  • Hong Kong’s high percentage of internet and ecommerce users gives sellers the potential for high ecommerce success.

Although Hong Kong received a “B” in overall “ease of importing goods,” the “Ease of doing business” rating may be alarming. Considering the political instability due to Hong Kong’s relationship and proximity to China, the U.S. Department of State has an advisory to not travel to Hong Kong. Additionally, there could potentially be transit and clearance delays for packages because of COVID shutdowns, low staffing, and arbitrary enforcement of local laws. However, Hong Kong is a free port, and importing shipments is typically easy.

Key stats for Hong Kong 

Population7.65 million (2023)
GDP441 billion USD (2022)
GDP per capita52,130 USD (2022)
Internet penetration93% of the population use the internet (2022)
Ecommerce users72.6% of the population shop online (2022)
Leading product categoriesTravel, health and beauty, consumer electronics, clothes and apparel, groceries, and household goods
Preferred online payment method(s)Debit and credit cards, digital wallets, bank transfers, and cash
LanguagesChinese and English
CurrencyHong Kong dollar/HKD/HK$

Landed cost for Hong Kong 

The landed cost for a cross-border transaction includes all duties, taxes, and fees associated with the purchase. This includes:

  • Product price
  • Shipping
  • Duties
  • Taxes
  • Fees (currency conversion, carrier, broker, customs, or government fees)

Hong Kong’s de minimis, tax, and duty

Further explanation of de minimis, tax, and duty provided below

Duty and tax de minimis

  • Duty and tax de minimis: 0 HKD

De minimis value

Hong Kong is a free port, so taxes, duties, and fees will not be charged on most imports.

Import tax

  • N/A

Hong Kong does not levy a tax on imports.

Import duty

  • N/A

Hong Kong does not charge duty on imports.

Any other import fees

The Hong Kong Government charges excise duties on liquors, tobacco, hydrocarbon oil, and methyl alcohol. The duties are applied according to their alcoholic strength or charged at specific rates per unit quantity. These are the only four items Hong Kong charges excise duty on.

Landed cost examples

Below is a sample landed cost breakdown for Hong Kong, as a free port, calculated using Zonos Quoter:

Landed cost for a shipment to Hong Kong:

Hong Kong landed cost quote

Trade agreements

Hong Kong has at least eight trade agreements. Hong Kong, as a free port, engages in trade agreements with other countries and expect similar treatment in return. Hong Kong is also a member of several prominent Asian trade agreements:

  • Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
  • Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) with mainland China

Hong Kong is a member of the World Trade Organization

As a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Hong Kong must abide by the most-favored-nation (MFN) clause, which requires a country to provide any concessions, privileges, or immunities granted to one nation in a trade agreement to all other WTO member countries. However, Hong Kong is one of the four countries that have a free port. Since Hong Kong does not charge duty on imports, Hong Kong is in compliance with the WTO requirement to provide fair rates to other WTO member countries.

Customs resources 

Hong Kong’s Customs authority

Hong Kong Customs

Customs refund in Hong Kong

Customs refund in Hong Kong

Note: Talk to your carrier about customs refunds.

Shipping and compliance 

Top courier services:

  • DHL Express
  • FedEx
  • UPS
  • DPEX
  • Direct Link
  • TNT
  • Aramex
  • Hong Kong Post
  • SF Express

Depending on the courier, additional shipping fees may include:

  • Tracking
  • Insurance
  • Fuel surcharge
  • Remote delivery charge
  • Signature fee
  • Overweight or oversized fee
  • Special handling fee
  • Dangerous goods fee
  • And/or more

Documentation and paperwork

Always needed:

Sometimes needed:

  • Import license or removal permits are required for Hong Kong’s four dutiable commodities.
  • Copy of detention notice is required for container shipments transported by sea.

Prohibited, restricted, and controlled imports into Hong Kong

Government agencies regulate imports.

Prohibited vs. restricted. vs. controlled items

Restricted items are different from prohibited items. Prohibited items are not allowed to be imported into a country at all. Restricted items are not allowed to be imported into a country unless the importer has approval or a special license. Controlled goods have military or national security significance.

Prohibited items:

  • Actinolite
  • Amosite
  • Anthophyllite
  • Asbestos
  • Controlled Chemicals (i.e. acetic anhydride, ephedrine, and pseudoephedrine)
  • Crocidolite
  • Dangerous drugs
  • Electronic cigarettes (unless previously approved)
  • Food containing banned coloring matter, artificial sweeteners, aflatoxins, preservatives, anti-oxidants, or certain metals
  • Halons and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) (i.e. ozone-depleting substances)
  • Ivory and ivory products
  • Personal drugs
  • Pesticides
  • Radioactives
  • Sand (more than 100 kgs)
  • Smokeless tobacco and snuff
  • Transshipment of strategic commodities (i.e. carbon fiber prepreg, firewall, firebox, etc.)
  • Tremolit

Restricted items:

  • Dutiable commodities
  • Strategic commodities (certain electronic equipment, scientific instruments, etc.)
  • Reserved commodities (rice, frozen or fresh meat, and frozen or fresh poultry)
  • Agricultural pesticides
  • Optical disc mastering & replication equipment
  • Left-hand drive vehicles, outboard engines exceeding 150 hp/111.9 kilowatts
  • Radioactive substances and irradiating apparatus
  • Pharmaceutical products and medicines
  • Rough diamonds
  • Endangered species or products derived from them
  • Dangerous drugs
  • Controlled chemicals
  • Hazardous chemicals
  • Radio transmitting apparatus
  • Dangerous drugs, pharmaceutical products, and medicines
  • Controlled chemicals, such as substances that are precursors or chemicals for the manufacture of dangerous drugs or psychotropic substances
  • Live animals and animal products
  • Plants and plant pests
  • Pesticides
  • Strategic commodities, such as certain kinds of computer and telecommunication equipment, articles for military use, etc.
  • Explosives, fireworks, firearms and ammunition, and weapons
  • Soil and sand require authorization issued by the Agriculture, Fisheries, and Conservation Department (AFCD) prior to shipment arrival except when it is imported from China

See more details concerning prohibited and restricted items here.

Tips for exporting from Hong Kong 

There are rules and procedures that Hong Konganese exporters need to be aware of prior to exportation.

Frequently asked questions 

The most popular stores are as follows: Alibaba’s Tmall, We Chat, Taobao, Amazon, JD, Alibaba, and eBay.

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