21 Mar MILAN & HK: far but not far
Since the Ancient Silk Road, Italy and China have been connected by trade roads and cultural exchange. After so many centuries, it looks like the mutual curiosity to better understand and discover each other has not ended yet.
Talking about business and innovation, an ideal modern road would surely link Hong Kong and Milan.
Both the two cities share a long history, a crowded subway, a Stock Exchange and high buildings raising their heads to the sky.
They also share a common reputation of nurturing a solid and stimulating business environment, especially focused on startup and innovation.
Hong Kong is known as the World Freest Economy and welcomes foreign investments and business headquarters. Tax regime is easy and entrepreneur friendly; there is no VAT, GST, or any other sales tax, no withholding tax,capital gains tax, or levies on dividends.
Doing business in Hong Kong is easy also because of the solid infrastructure facility that protects businesses to develop efficient operations and a transparent legal system.
Hong Kong is vibrant and exciting, a living contrast between Asian and Western cultures. Somehow, Hong Kong manages to balance traditional Chinese practices with a fast paced, modern lifestyle.
Most business people speak good English, and government signs are posted in Chinese and English; Cantonese is the spoken dialect of choice, compared with the more widely known Mandarin used on the Chinese mainland. In fact, some Hong Kong people can’t communicate with people from the Mainland owing to the vast differences in dialect and tone between Cantonese and the more formal Mandarin.
Chinese concepts like feng shuiare taken very seriously and compliance or otherwise with its principles are often believed to make or break a business. Other objects like Ba Gua mirrors are still regularly used to deflect evil spirits and the number 4 is not very popular, since it resembles the sound of the world “to die”,
Milan is Italy’s economic center, even if it is not the capital. As said before, Milan has its stock exchange; but it also boasts many corporate headquarters both from big companies such as Google and small/medium firms like travel agencies, events management and much more. Milan is also the city of fashion and design and it hosts the most important fashion exhibitions worldwide.
It is experiencing a growth, more than anywhere else in the Country. The district within a radius of 60 kilometers from the city produces 25% of Italian exports; so, Milan is at the center of a system of relationships that, in the digital transformation of the economy, of robotics, big data and the Internet of things, brings together manufacturing (29% of the GDP), hi-tech services, research, training and culture.
But what really makes those two cities so alike is the atmosphere, that unique feeling you get when coming into town and that seems to whisper in your ear: here, you’re exactly where everything of any significance happens.