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Women’s Entrepreneurship Potential Not Fully Tapped in Hong Kong: Inaugural Mastercard Women’s Entrepreneurial Index

October 8, 2016 Statistics & Trends No Comments Email Email

Females in Hong Kong are lagging behind their counterparts in developed economies in Asia Pacific when it comes to women’s entrepreneurship, despite the strong and favorable supporting factors in the local environment that enable them to prosper, according to Mastercard’s inaugural Women’s Entrepreneurial Index.

The Mastercard Index measures female entrepreneurs’ ability to capitalize on opportunities granted through various supporting conditions within their local environments, and is the weighted sum of two components: “Level of Women’s Advancement and Entrepreneurial Factors” (geared towards measuring the degree of bias against women as workforce participants, political and business leaders, as well as the financial strength and entrepreneurial inclination of women) and “Supporting Conditions”  (gauge the degree of access women have to basic and advanced knowledge assets, access to basic financial services, women’s perception of safety levels and cultural perception of women’s household financial influence). These are in turn derived from 10 indicators, measured on a scale 0 (worst) to 100 (best).

Summary table with component breakdowns (Hong Kong)

Overall Index (Rank) Component Index Score
Hong Kong 46.4 (8) Level of Advancement and Entrepreneurial Factors 18.5 Female Workforce Participation Rate 51.1
Women in Parliament as & of all Parliament members 18.6
% of Women business leaders as a % of Women Employees 33.7
% of females who obtained funds by saving or borrowing to start, operate, or expand business, age 15+ 6.5
% of females inclined to start their own business within the next 5 years 44.4
Supporting Conditions 27.9 Gross Enrollment Rate of Females in Tertiary Education 71.3
Gross Enrollment Rate of Females in Secondary Education 97.8
% of females with a Debit Card (age 15+) 67.8
Financial Influence of Women at home 51.1
Perceived Threat of Violent and Financial Crime to females 60.2

Hong Kong ranked 8th in terms of overall women’s entrepreneurship, with an index score of 46.4, falling behind many other developed economies, including New Zealand, Australia and Singapore, and even a number of emerging markets in the region, such as Thailand and the Philippines.  Despite the city’s fairly high access to advanced education (71.3 and 97.8 percent gross female enrollment rate in tertiary and secondary education respectively) and financial services (67.8 percent of local women possess a debit card), local female participation in the workforce (51.1 percent) and parliament (18.6 percent) remain stunted.

Women in the city showed limited enthusiasm towards entrepreneurship, as only 44.4 percent of women were inclined to start their own business within the next five years. This suggests that local females are less able to utilize existing opportunities and enabling conditions available in their local environment to fully harness their business abilities and potential. This is also evident in their lack of financial capacity to fund their own businesses through saving or borrowing (6.5 percent), ranked 14th, despite the city’s established financial infrastructure and access to credit, eclipsed by markets with much less favorable conditions, such as the Philippines (81.8 percent) and Thailand (69.3 percent), ranked first and second respectively.

While the entrepreneurship potential of local women are not fully tapped, they are making positive inroads as corporate leaders, with 33.7 percent of business leaders being female, placing the city nearly at par with women in the leading entrepreneurial markets of New Zealand (39.9 percent) and Australia (36.2 percent), ranked first and second respectively.

In Greater China, Taiwan led with a healthy overall score of 48.6, beating China marginally which had an overall index score of 47.7, while Hong Kong delivered the lowest score at 46.4. Moreover, Taiwan also beat Hong Kong in terms of female workforce participation at 52.3 percent, ranking 8th, though still considerably lower than China (66.4 percent) and other regional markets such as Vietnam (73.8 percent) and Thailand (63.7 percent).

Hiang Choong, Division President of Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan at Mastercard said, “Mastercard recognizes the importance of fostering women entrepreneurship and is constantly striving to eradicate the traditional gender roles entrenched in our society, culture and practices that hamper women’s growth in business. We encourage women in Hong Kong to build up their confidence and inner drive in order to realize their entrepreneurial dreams, especially in an environment where supporting conditions are considerably favorable.”

Mastercard Women’s Entrepreneurial Index – Asia Pacific

Rank Country/Region Overall Index Score
1 New Zealand 53.9
2 Australia 51.7
3 Thailand 50.9
4 Philippines 50.6
5 Singapore 50.1
6 Taiwan 48.6
7 China 47.7
8 Hong Kong 46.4
9 Korea 46.2
10 Indonesia 44.7
11 Vietnam 43.9
12 Japan 40.6
13 Malaysia 38.8
14 India 33.3
15 Sri Lanka 32.7
16 Bangladesh 27.0


The Index measures female entrepreneurs’ ability to capitalize on opportunities granted through various supporting conditions within their local environments and is the weighted sum of two components which are derived from five indicators each: “Level of Women’s Advancement and Entrepreneurial Factors” (Workforce Participation Rate, Participation in Parliament, Business Leaders, Obtained Funds by Saving or Borrowing to Start, Operate, or Expand Business, Inclined to Start Own Business within the Next Five Years) and “Supporting Conditions” (Secondary Education, Tertiary Education, Own a Debit Card, Financial Influence at Home, Perceived Safety from Threat of Violent and Financial Crime). The overall Index score and five indicator Index scores range from 0 (worst) to 100 (best).

Mastercard and its Suite of Research Properties

The Mastercard Index suite in Asia Pacific includes the long-running Mastercard Index of Consumer Confidence, as well as the Mastercard Index of Women’s Advancement, Mastercard Index of Financial Literacy, and the Mastercard Index of Global Destination Cities. In addition to the indices, Mastercard’s research properties also include a range of consumer surveys including  Online Shopping, Ethical Spending and a series on Consumer Purchasing Priorities (covering Travel,Dining & Entertainment, Education, Money Management, Luxury and General Shopping).

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