Businesses in Singapore are more optimistic and employees enjoy a better work life balance than in Hong Kong, according to a new survey by serviced offices provider Compass Offices.
The latest Compass Index found that 43% of businesses in Singapore were “strongly confident” in the growth of their business this year, compared to just 30% of businesses in Hong Kong.
Singapore also ranked third in the recent Global Financial Centres Index, behind London and New York. Hong Kong followed closely in fourth place, just two points behind Singapore. The GFCI looks at business environment, financial sector development and infrastructure.
Singaporean businesses are also more likely to hire more staff compared to businesses in Hong Kong: 61% vs 44%. But new hires in Hong Kong can expect to work much longer days.
While most people in both cities work an eight to nine hour day on average, 8% of Hong Kongers work more than eleven hours, compared to 6% of Singaporeans. Hong Kongers are also more likely to take work home: one in four people takes home work every day, compared to one in five Singaporeans.
Gateways to the East
Andrew Chung, CEO of Compass Offices, says both cities have their advantages.
“Singapore and Hong Kong are the gates to Asia. They both offer unique selling points for businesses i.e. for businesses that want to tap the Chinese market, Hong Kong might be the better place; while for businesses that want to focus on Southeast Asian countries, Singapore would be the natural option,” Chung says.
Both cities have business focused governments trying to encourage increased commerce. Hong Kong plans tax cuts for SMEs and is investing HKD 5 billion into innovation. Singapore has introduced special tax schemes for startup and is styling itself as a fintech hub.
Around the region
Around the wider region the confidence picture is more mixed. Optimism is high in New Zealand according to the Auckland Chamber of Commerce, with 51% of respondents predicting improvement, up from 40% in February.
But while just over half (50.6%) of Australian businesses predict improvement next year, according to Roy Morgan, Dun & Bradstreet reckons business confidence is dropping. The April Dun and Bradstreet Business Expectations Survey revealed much gloomier sentiment, with:
“Another drop in expectations, with businesses maintaining gloomy forecasts for the three-month period to 30 September 2016.”