Fact Sheet: The U.S. Role in the Hong Kong Economy

Consul General Kurt W. Tong
Consul General Kurt W. Tong

Hong Kong and Macau

For Immediate Release
November 16, 2018



  • The United States was Hong Kong’s second-largest market for goods in 2017, and its second-largest market for services exports in 2016, accounting for 14.2% of Hong Kong’s services exports.
  • 43% of Hong Kong’s total trade consists of re-exports going between the United States and China.
    • With trade and logistics accounting for more than 20% of the value added to Hong Kong’s economy, trade with the United States significantly benefits the SAR.


  • In 2017, the stock of direct investment from the United States into Hong Kong increased roughly 18%, to an impressive USD 81.2 billion.
  • More U.S companies have established regional headquarters or offices in Hong Kong than have companies from any other country.
    • And U.S. companies (1,351) ranked third, behind only Mainland China (1,591) and Japan (1,393) as a source country of non-Hong Kong companies overall, including small firms and distributors.
  • U.S. firms accounted for nearly 20 percent of all foreign firms with regional operations in Hong Kong in 2017.


  • The Hong Kong government estimates that 101,000 people in Hong Kong are employed by U.S. firms.
  • U.S. firms are an attractive employer in Hong Kong
    • One 2016 survey showing the top 75 places to work in Hong Kong included 13 U.S. firms.
    • One of these, Disney, employs 7,000 full-time and part-time workers just as cast members.


  • According to InvestHK’s 2016 Startup Profiling Survey, Americans account for more than 20% of all non-Hong Kong entrepreneurs in Hong Kong, more than any other country, including Mainland China.
  • U.S. venture capital invested heavily in all three of Hong Kong’s publicly recognized “unicorn” start-ups: GoGoVan, WeLab, and SenseTime.
    • Leaders from all three of these companies studied in the United States.


  • There are numerous collaborations and exchange programs between top U.S. universities and Hong Kong institutions, including in areas Hong Kong is looking to develop into key economic drivers.
    • In 2017, MIT opened its first-ever innovation node in Hong Kong. It has also established a consortium for R&D collaboration with HKUST.
    • The University of Chicago Booth School moved its EMBA program from Singapore to Hong Kong in 2013, then undertook a USD 75 million renovation of the Victoria Road Detention Center to develop a modern academic complex.
  • 7,547 Hong Kong students studied in the United States in 2017, while 1,632 U.S. students studied in Hong Kong, bringing economic and educational benefits to both sides.


  • Tourism accounted for nearly five percent of value added for Hong Kong’s GDP in 2017. During that year, there were 1,215,629 visits to Hong Kong from American residents.
    • Visits by American residents in 2018 are on track to exceed the 2017 figure.
  • U.S. visitors will likely spend more than USD 490 million on the Hong Kong economy by year-end.