Ever since the Qianhai area of Shenzhen was approved in 2012 it has been positioned as a hub for innovation. One of the key focuses has been strengthening business links between the PRC, Macao, and Hong Kong and there are many benefits available for HK and Macao residents who choose to pursue their business goals in Qianhai that we've written about numerous times.
Recently, at the end of 2021, the Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong Youth DreamWorks has hit the news as a compelling place for younger HK and Macao entrepreneurs to open businesses and staff to work. Let's explore this area and its benefits...
What is the Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong Youth DreamWorks?
The Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong Youth DreamWorks is a startup incubator in Qianhai which has low barriers for entry for HK and Macao entrepreneurs to encourage them to live and work in the special Qianhai zone of Shenzhen, just 10km from Hong Kong and 48 from Macao.
Throughout 2021 there were various initiatives to spur the influx of younger HK and Macao residents, such as the Qianhai Hong Kong and Macao Youth Recruitment Program which created regular recruitment slots in Qianhai companies for them. The companies on board with the initiative need somewhere to be based, so hubs like Dreamworks are popular.
DreamWorks hosts all kinds of startups from animation companies, to haute couture designers.
According to Hou Jing, the commissioner of the Hong Kong Service Office of the Qianhai Administration, as of October 2021, the Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong Youth DreamWorks has accumulated more than 500 incubation teams, including 226 Hong Kong teams.
“We hope to create a full-chain, full-scale, full-format, and full-factor entrepreneurial ecological chain with a smooth docking policy and efficient use of resources, so as to increase the success rate of Hong Kong and Macao youths in entrepreneurship here.” Hou Jing said.
You can explore the Qianhai DreamWorks official Chinese website here (in Mandarin) and also the HK version (in English).
What benefits are on offer to attract HK and Macao talent to the Qianhai DreamWorks?
Young workers and entrepreneurs in Hong Kong, for example, suffer from fairly low salaries, perhaps around HK$18,000 per month and difficulty finding affordable and spacious housing. While jobs may be found in Hong Kong, the financial pressures create a lot of hardship for younger people, therefore Qianhai is an intriguing option for many.
Not only can salaries be double that of Hong Kong, but finding affordable accommodation is far easier and the cost of living generally lower than that of home.
Hong Kong and Macao permanent residents who apply to live and incubate their startups in the Qianhai DreamWorks can receive the following benefits (source):
- Where an enterprise is stationed in the business startup park sponsored by the Qianhai Administration, subsidies for rent and property management fees (guiding price for the rent and property management fees issued by the park) shall be granted at the proportion of 80%, 50% and 20% respectively for the first year, the second year, and the third year. Subsidies shall not be granted to the same enterprise for over three years.
- Enterprises and public institutions in Qianhai that provide internship positions for youths from Hong Kong and Macao participating in internship programs* may obtain subsidies of 1,000 yuan per person per month for every young college student from Hong Kong and Macao. The internship period for a young college student from Hong Kong and Macao shall be no shorter than one month and no longer than six months.
*“Internship Program for Youths from Hong Kong in Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area” (Sponsored by the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office, the People's Government of Guangdong Province and the Home Affairs Bureau of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region) or the “Internship Program for Youths from Macao in Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area” (Sponsored by the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office, the People's Government of Guangdong Province and the Talents Development Committee of Macao)
- Where a young graduate from Hong Kong or Macao meets the conditions, a lump-sum subsidy of 10,000 yuan, 20,000 yuan, 30,000 yuan, and 50,000 yuan shall be respectively granted to an entity employing a junior college graduate (including associate bachelor), bachelor, master, and doctor.
- An enterprise that has been stationed in the business startup park sponsored by the Qianhai Administration for more than 6 months may be granted a lump-sum subsidy of 50,000 yuan.
- Qualified teams in Qianhai Shenzhen Hong Kong youth dream workshop can give priority to applying for Qianhai talent security room and dream workshop + youth entrepreneurship apartment, at reduced rental fees of only around 50% of the market price.
These benefits can be obtained by Hong Kong and Macao residents holding no less than 30% share ownership in the startup being incubated at the DreamWorks.
In addition, you will also enjoy:
- Free WiFi
- Ability to use Hong Kong telecoms providers as normal
- Top-class facilities to help support your growing business, including shuttle buses between Shenzhen Bay Port (Shenzhen side) and Qianhai, intelligent security systems, centralised broadcast and telecommunications sytems, furnished office space with smart design, and a residence with unmatched service, catering and convenience stores
- Professional support for entrepreneurs, including accounting consultations, legal services, training, financing and marketing platforms
- Corporate and individual income tax of 15% (lower than the usual PRC tax)
- ...and more incentives that keep being introduced over time
Are HK people attracted to working there?
There are numerous reports of young HK and Macao entrepreneurs and staff who are satisfied with working in QianHai, such as this one from the Shenzhen Daily:
Lee Hang-yin, a Shenzhen University graduate and now a Qianhai-based incubator employee, said the plan has strengthened her confidence in career development in the area.
“I believe Qianhai will become an even better place for the development of Hong Kong people. The working experience here is satisfying. I moved into a low-rent talent apartment and obtain monthly subsidies from local and provincial governments. I will recommend more peers to come,” she said.
Another young HK entrepreneur shared her satisfaction, again citing the subsidies as a good reason to consider Qianhai:
For Hong Kong youth Xiaoxin, Shenzhen's booming Internet industry is the biggest reason that attracts her to work in Shenzhen.
"This is in line with my personal career plan." She said that young people from Hong Kong who come to work in Shenzhen can also enjoy a series of benefits and subsidies such as talent housing.
"The integration of young people from Hong Kong and Macao into the Greater Bay Area is the future trend." Xiaoxin believes that with the support of policies, more young people from Hong Kong and Macao will come to Qianhai to seek entrepreneurial opportunities in the future.
Why Hong Kong and Macao entrepreneurs and young staff looking for a break should take note...
The Mainland government uses Qianhai as a kind of pilot zone to strengthen ties between the PRC, Hong Kong, and Macao. As such, generous subsidies are available to encourage you to open your business there if you're from one of the two smaller territories. The same goes for aspiring young HK and Macao people. You might be able to hire some top talent from these areas who are excited to earn more and have more benefits than would if they were to stay across the border.