Hong Kong Banks Shut Down US Accounts Rather Than Deal with FATCA

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By Benedict Lynn

Due to its geographical proximity to the mainland, modern and (until now) friendly banking system and transparent legal regime, Hong Kong has long served as a popular gateway into China for foreign businesses. Americans in particular have favored the former British colony, which retains its widespread use of the English language and Western business ideals, as a launching pad for their operations into mainland China.

However, since the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) came into effect in early July, many Hong Kong based banks have been refusing to open new accounts for, and even shutting down the existing accounts of, American individuals and corporations.

Dezan Shira & Associates have been advising several of our American clients who have found themselves in this frustrating and potentially catastrophic situation. In this article, we examine the effects of FATCA on American businesses and taxpayers operating out of Hong Kong, as well as the implications for Hong Kong’s future as a means of penetrating the Chinese market.  Continue reading…

China Announces Official 2015 National Holiday Schedule

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China’s General Office of the State Council released the “Circular on the Arrangement of Certain Holidays in 2015 (guobanfamingdian [2014] No.28)” on December 16 and announced the official national holiday schedule for 2015 as follows:

New Year

  • January 1  – 3  (3 days in total)
  • January 4 (Sunday) is an official working day.

Spring Festival

  • February 18 - 24 (7 days in total)
  • February 2 (Saturday)  and February 15 (Sunday) are official working days.

Continue reading…

Devonshire-Ellis: China-ASEAN Trade Routes Key for 2015 Development

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Chris Devonshire-Ellis has highlighted the various China-ASEAN trade routes as specific areas of high growth for 2015 at the Dezan Shira & Associates annual meetings currently taking place in Shanghai.

The firm, which specializes in foreign direct investment tax-law, compliance and strategic investment issues on behalf of global mid-cap manufacturers, has 12 China offices, as well as a significant presence in India, Singapore and Vietnam, and Alliance members in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand. Continue reading…

Using Serviced Offices to Support Your China Growth Strategy

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外侧间By Matthew Zito

For companies newly looking to set up a presence in China or expand their existing China operations, the prospect of costs incurred when entering an unknown market can be daunting, appearing as a sort of “make or break” venture. One lesser-known option available to foreign investors in this position is the use of serviced offices (also known as “executive suites”).

Especially prevalent in fast-paced Asian markets like China, Hong Kong and Singapore, serviced offices are rentable office spaces that come fully furnished and equipped with technology and service amenities. For example, a premium serviced office in Shanghai might provide tenants with secretarial services, state-of-the-art IT infrastructure and conference space.

The benefits of such an arrangement for a China growth strategy are manifold, especially for start-up operations. Most significant among these are the cost savings achievable through the use of serviced offices rather than a traditionally leased space. Continue reading…

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