Charlotte, my counterpart in Hong Kong, was in London for a couple of days last week. It was interesting to learn about the differences between what she does and what I do.
First up: the commute. Her seven minute bus journey initially looks favourable to my hour-long, two train shuffle from Surrey to London. However, Charlotte doesn’t clear her inbox and read two newspapers before arriving in the office. So, although I have a longer commute, I make it work for me. We’ll call it a score draw on that one.
Next on the list is the price of coffee. “How much?!” I exclaimed when told a cup of this wonderful, life enhancing nectar would set me back about £4.50 over on the island. Hong Kong living would require me to part with around £15 on a good day, possibly nearing £30 on a bad one. Cripes! Definitely one up for these Isles.
Time zones. We’ve all got them. Some are conveniently situated between the US and Asia, others aren’t. Hong Kong’s is very awkward for global calls. When I sit on a call at 1400, happily shooting the breeze and eager to discuss the minutiae with colleagues in the US and Asia, poor old Charlotte’s sitting at home at 2300 wanting to go to bed. So far, so good for the UK.
Moving on from the day-to-day practicalities, let’s look at the market place. Over in the UK the global social media networks dominate, there’s Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Everyone knows them, and when something new pops up, it’s easily picked up. Over in Hong Kong, as well as the global players, they also have Chinese equivalents. A lot of them. There are facebook equivalents, there are Twitter equivalents. And it’s all changing. And it’s all different on mainland China, which Charlotte needs to cover too! It sounds like she’s got a lot to do, but in my book that’s a good thing. It sounds busy and it sounds exciting. The more tools and channels and networks the better, I say. Others may disagree. So Hong Kong’s finally scored a goal.
Finally, Hong Kong is the gateway to the biggest emerging market of them all: China. A market growing at a rapid rate. Companies springing up from within and moving in from abroad constantly. A market growing and changing so fast no one can say they’ve cornered. From a marketing point of view, that’s massively exciting. Lots of companies to meet, people to pitch, networks to build. That’s a massive goal for Hong Kong.
It looks like a draw where HK scores the interesting goals and London’s just plodding comfortably, but hang on a second, London’s not exactly lacking for opportunity.
Despite anaemic growth and a mature market, there are tech start ups, lots of pitches, loads of ideas and creativity. Many companies use London as their hub for Europe. I get to liaise with partners across Europe, speaking with people in France, Italy, Norway or many other nations on any given day. I say London wins with a late goal in extra time. Not sure Charlotte will agree.
This piece was orignally posted on the Asian Insight blog.