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Small and medium enterprises (SMEs)

What are SMEs?

Manufacturing enterprises(1) which employ fewer than 100 persons(2) and non-manufacturing enterprises which employ fewer than 50 persons are regarded as SMEs in Hong Kong.


As at September 2022, there were over 350 000 SMEs in Hong Kong. They accounted for more than 98% of the total number of enterprises(3) and provided job opportunities to more than 1.2 million persons, about 45% of total employment (excluding civil service)(3).

Most of the SMEs were in the import/export trade and wholesale industries, followed by the professional and business services industry. They accounted for more than 43% of the SMEs in Hong Kong and represented more than 42% of the SME employment.

Distribution of SMEs (as at September 2022)


No. of SMEs(1) No. of persons engaged(2) in SMEs
Total(3) 358 177 1 207 457
Industry Manufacturing 7 584 44 960
Mining & Quarrying; Electricity & Gas Supply, and Waste Management; and Construction Sites(4) 1 667 16 868
Services Import/Export Trade and Wholesale 97 978 355 831
Retail(5) 50 870 142 116
Transportation, Storage, Postal and Courier Services(6) 8 651 47 328
Accommodation and Food Services(7) 14 713 117 140
Information and Communications 16 609 50 205
Financing and Insurance(8) 34 473 66 256
Real Estate 19 352 36 333
Professional and Business Services(9) 56 847 156 938
Social and Personal Services(10) 49 433 173 482



  1. Establishments with the same business registration number and engaged in the same industry/services group are combined into one business unit (enterprise) for the purpose of calculating the number of SMEs. An establishment is an economic unit which engages, under a single ownership or control, in one or predominantly one kind of economic activity at a single physical location (e.g. a branch/outlet of a company).
  2. Persons engaged include: (i) individual proprietors, partners and persons having family ties with any of the proprietors or partners and working in the enterprise without regular pay, who are actively engaged in the work of the enterprise for at least 1 hour on the survey reference date; (ii) full-time salaried personnel directly paid by the enterprise and working directors of limited companies, both permanent and temporary, who are either at work (whether or not in Hong Kong) or temporarily absent from work (viz. those on sick leave, maternity leave, annual vacation or casual leave, and on strike) on the survey reference date; and (iii) part-time employees and employees on night/irregular shifts working for at least 1 hour on the survey reference date.  
  3. Figures for the total number of enterprises and total employment (excluding civil service) refer to the sum of those industry/services groups covered by the Quarterly Survey of Employment and Vacancies and the Quarterly Employment Survey of Construction Sites as shown in the table only.  Industry/services groups not covered by the surveys are mainly agriculture, forestry and fishing; construction other than sites; and public administration.
  4. The number of persons engaged at construction sites refers to manual workers only.
  5. Excluding hawkers and retail pitches (other than market stalls).
  6. Excluding taxis, public light buses, part of goods vehicles, and inland freight water transport.
  7. Covering hotels, guesthouses, boarding houses and other enterprises providing short term accommodation.
  8. Excluding monetary authorities and self-employed insurance agents with no business registration.
  9. Excluding renting and leasing of recreational and sports goods.
  10. Excluding work activities within domestic households; activities of extraterritorial organisations and religious organisations; and independent artists.

Central Register of Establishments, Census and Statistics Department
Quarterly Survey of Employment and Vacancies, Census and Statistics Department
Quarterly Employment Survey of Construction Sites, Census and Statistics Department


Last Review Date : 28 October 2021