New survey from GoDaddy finds Hong Kong Millennials igniting entrepreneurial growth

Fueled by technology that has made entrepreneurship easier than ever, a strong desire for autonomy, and start-up role models such as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, the two book-end generations of global workers – Millennials and Baby Boomers – are driving a surge in the number of professionals looking to create their own business or be self-employed, according to a new global survey commissioned by GoDaddy.
The research found that a staggering two-thirds (68 percent) of Hong Kong people plan to either start a small business or be self-employed within the next 10 years.

“We’re entering a bright time for entrepreneurs in Hong Kong. With more people choosing to become entrepreneurs supported by increased cultural acceptance and increased ease of technology use, more Millennials and Baby-Boomers in Hong Kong are looking to start their own small businesses than ever before,” said GoDaddy’s Vice President of Asia, Roger Chen.

Conducted by Morar Consulting and Vrge Analytics, the research surveyed 510 professionals, including 201 current small business owners or self-employed individuals in Hong Kong.

Technology Empowers, Creates Growth

Workers say technology empowers. 84 percent of those surveyed said that technology made starting a business easier, and 60 percent said websites and social media are the most attractive channels to customers. As more people have become comfortable with new technology (cloud, social media, mobile) this decade, they are applying it to their entrepreneur ambitions. With these new technologies, people are looking at a much rosier future. 80 percent of small business owners expect their businesses to grow by at least 25 percent in 3-5 years.

Hong Kong people are also properly embracing new technologies that have come into their life when compared to the rest of the world. 44 percent said new technologies have given them flexibility to help create a work-life balance and 30 percent said new technologies have led to the career they have today.

Respondents are also aware that technology can put pressure on their jobs, leading to a potential reduction of hours and layoffs. Two-thirds of Hong Kong respondents (65 percent) were either laid off or had theirs hours reduced because of new technology. In comparison, 40 percent of global small business owners and future entrepreneurs responded as being impacted.

Generations of Challengers
When it comes to entrepreneurship, age is not a limit in Hong Kong. In fact, Baby-Boomers aren’t planning to stop working in their golden years – 87 percent plan to start their own venture or become self-employed in the next 10 years, while the Millennials are enjoying the best of both worlds – 44 percent of them expect to have a full-time job while working on the side. Nonetheless, 36 percent of Hong Kong people think that having work experience is the most valuable means to become an entrepreneur.

Indeed, Millennials are taking the plunge and starting new ventures at a pace never seen before. Compared to the rest of the world, Hong Kong entrepreneurship starts early on when people are students, 42 percent started their own businesses during that period of their lives, comparing to a global standard of 24 percent.

At the end of the day, entrepreneurs demonstrate a no-fear attitude. 48 percent of entrepreneurs would try again if their current venture failed. They say having a great idea (77 percent) is more important than grit and determination (59 percent).

On Hong Kong entrepreneurs’ wishlists

Amongst the kinds of businesses that Hong Kong people want to own in the long-run, the top ones are retail products that people like (26 percent), services that consumers find valuable (17 percent), experiential services (16 percent) and professional services (16 percent); with half of them targeting a global audience (50%).

What’s more – Hong Kong business owners are expecting more to be done by the government. 70 percent of the respondents think the Hong Kong government should do more to promote entrepreneurship and small businesses in Hong Kong. On the same note, half of Hong Kong people (55 percent) think that the government should change the laws and regulations for companies that run on a sharing economy model.

Getting a head-start

In Hong Kong, the feverish social media scene has inspired business owners to adopt new sales channels. Here in the SAR, where land is scarce, going digital is a natural choice. When setting up their own businesses, top channels people look to merchandise their products through social media, setting up their brand’s official website and obtaining a domain name (61 percent).

GoDaddy also identifies three key takeaways that are vital for entrepreneurs and small businesses owners to stay ahead of the competition:

  1. Brush up your digital skills: Hong Kong business owners lag behind in digital skills with 30 percent opting to ‘do it themselves’ when it comes to managing their online businesses, comparing to a global standard of 56 percent.
  2. Set up an official website for the business: Half of the Hong Kong respondents look to own a business that has a global reach of customers and audiences. While it is quintessential to promote and advertise products and services through social media channels, an official website will provide a secure and credible platform to drive sales and create brand awareness.
  3. Embrace how new technologies have made a positive impact towards your professional lives: 38 percent of Hong Kong respondents feel that new technologies have negatively affected their lives by doing things like causing stress, impacting the industry they work in and eventually leading to redundancy. It is now time to rethink and reposition the status of technology and how we should enhance productivity, instead of treating it as a hindrance in the workplace.

The full “Entrepreneur Era” Survey can be downloaded HERE.

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