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Young grad advises HK friends to try Guangzhou

This May 23, 2021, photo shows a general view of Guangzhou, the Chinese mainland's southern Guangdong province. (NOEL CELIS / AFP)

Chayse Chan said she advises her Hong Kong friends to come to Guangzhou, Guangdong province, if they want to start a business. With startup capital of only 20,000 yuan (US$3,077), they can be bosses in the southern metropolis, about 40 minutes from Hong Kong via high-speed train.

The cost of running a company — office rental, apartments, wages, water and electricity — in Guangzhou is much lower than in Hong Kong

Chan, who was born in 1988, is now operating a cross-border e-commerce company in Guangzhou's Tianhe district that sells Spanish red wine. She said she hoped to bring the wine and culture to Guangzhou, as her brother is investing in wineries in Spain.

"The opening of the company was very smooth over the past year," she said.

Apart from choosing an office, the Guangzhou Tianhe Hong Kong and Macao Youth Association Headquarters has helped her apply for a business license, open a company bank account and recruit employees, she said.

Chan said orders started coming in the moment her company opened last year. The first customer was a Spaniard working and living in China.

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The cost of running a company — office rental, apartments, wages, water and electricity — in Guangzhou is much lower than in Hong Kong; plus, Guangzhou offers a lower threshold for university graduates from Hong Kong to start their business, Chan said.

Chan said she likes the life and culture of Guangzhou. Many shopping malls in the city are similar to those in Hong Kong, which makes her feel at home, and the residents are warm and friendly, she said.

"Tianhe Hong Kong and Macao Youth Association Headquarters also regularly holds cocktail parties and salons for people from Hong Kong, allowing us to chat and share," Chan said.

A graduate of Hong Kong Polytechnic University, where she majored in clothing, Chan now rents an apartment of more than 60 square meters for 3,000 yuan a month in Zhujiang New Town, a prime destination in Guangzhou.

"The environment of the apartment is very good, and I go running along the Pearl River banks every evening," she said.