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Expat entrepreneurs venture into emerging economies

The 2016 HSBC Expat Explorer survey shows that expat entrepreneurs choose to move abroad for both lifestyle and business reasons.

Emerging markets

The destinations where expats are most likely to move to start a new business are likely to be found in emerging markets. While on average just 5% of expats globally move abroad to start a new business, these proportions are much higher in places such as Kenya (13%) Brazil, India, Indonesia and Peru (all 11%).

Over four in ten (43%) expat entrepreneurs say there is more support available to them in emerging markets, twice as many as those who say the same about developed markets (20%). In addition, more than half (55%) of expat business owners in emerging markets feel they are viewed more positively, compared with 43% who say the same in developed markets.

Motivations for moving

Expats who move abroad to start a business are also among the most likely to agree they are motivated by the search for a new challenge (51% compared with the global average of 37%). They are also more likely to want to improve their quality of life (49% compared with the global average of 32%).

5 1 %

51% of expats who move abroad to start a business are motivated by the search for a new challenge

Nearly half of the entrepreneurs we spoke to (44%) say the main reason for setting up business abroad is the opportunity for a new life and career.

Only a fifth (20%) of expats move specifically with profit in mind and a similar proportion (19%) are moving because it is easier to start a business from a regulatory point of view.

Better integration

This focus on experience over earnings seems to help entrepreneurs embrace expat life, with 34% of them settling in within six months, compared with 32% of expats globally.

Expat entrepreneurs are also able to broaden their networks and make friends relatively quickly, which plays a part in helping them to settle more quickly in their new home. More than half (57%) of expat entrepreneurs say they find it easy to form new friendships compared with the global average of 52%. This group are more likely than the global average to say they are integrating well with the local people and culture (67% compared with 61%).

6 7 %

67% of expat entrepreneurs say they are integrating well

The 2016 Expat Explorer survey is a global survey completed by 26,871 expats across the world. The research was conducted online by YouGov in March and April 2016. League tables are calculated using responses to 27 of the questions asked in the research. A minimum sample of 100 expat respondents including at least 30 expat parents is required for a country to be included in the league tables.

About HSBC Expat

We provide wealth management, banking and currency management services in a stable, central location. So if you move to a new country, your finances won't have to.

Expat Explorer collects key findings from countries around the world.

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