Thanks to its large amount of expats passing through the city, either for permanent resettlement or for a matter of days, Hong Kong enjoys a larger than average amount of networking privileges. Networking is part of the lifestyle here and is something that soon becomes second nature. If you are feeling a little daunted at making professional or personal contacts in the big city, let’s take a closer look at how to get acquainted.
Join an organization
InterNations is particularly well-established, as is MeetUp. Both have extremely active social groups that meet regularly, to enjoy dinner or drinks as well as hosting large business networking events. MeetUp is particularly useful if you want to meet others based on your hobbies or interests, but it might be harder to find groups that specialise solely in making business contacts. InterNations on the other hand is invaluable for many, as their social events attract people of different nationalities and professions from all over Hong Kong.
For something a little more focused on the business side of things, the Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce regularly holds events which are invaluable to those working in Hong Kong’s fast-paced business environment. Their seminars offer the perfect opportunity to meet with the heads of various fields, as well as gaining an insight into their profession. Not to mention, the social events that crop up monthly which are a great opportunity for meeting like-minded people in the same field.
The Rotary International organisation is another worthwhile club to invest your time in, especially if you are going to be around Hong Kong for the long term. Their focus is on charitable works, which provide an excellent launching pad for meeting other people as well as boosting personal development. They meet on a weekly basis and you can pop along to find out more about the organisations before joining.
Some etiquette to bear in mind
- Always have a stock of business cards. It is quite affordable to have them made for you and it is an essential part of networking, especially in the business field.
- Try to avoid meaningless small talk. Although it may not be the best idea to shoot straight into asking your new acquaintance about their job, you can certainly cut to the chase by avoiding superficial questions like ‘where do you live in Hong Kong?’
- Keep the chain going by always keeping in touch. It does not have to be on a weekly basis, but sending a follow-up email after meeting someone and then another a couple of weeks later is a great way to be remembered and to build contacts without being pushy.
- Try to maintain contact with people you consider to be on a different playing field, as you might be surprised how much they may be able to help you in the future. Even if their professional position is unrelated to yours or you consider them to be small fry (don’t!), maintaining a courteous correspondence may prove extremely valuable in the future. Failing that, it always pays to be nice and you may end up making more friends in the process.
Some places to find events
If you want to dip your toe in the waters of networking in Hong Kong, then try looking for events at EventBrite. It might also be a wise idea to look at co-working spaces, as they often have some excellent resources for people looking to network in Hong Kong. CoCoon, Hive and Fill In The Blank are the most popular. Check their notice board online and in the offices to find social and professional events that you can join in on. Facebook is also a great place to start, with many expat groups advertising their meetings online. These range from foodie meetups to start-up business meetups, so you can be sure there is something to tick your box. Last but certainly not least, check out The Expat’s Classifieds and Forum section to see what’s happening in your neighbourhood.