South China

A Closer Look at China’s Free Trade Zones – Part I

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China Free Trade ZonesBy Steven Elsinga

When the Shanghai Free Trade Zone (FTZ) was first introduced in 2013, it was presented as a testing ground for new reforms. Where proven successful, these would be expanded across the entire country. In this way, we have seen the easing of restrictions on foreign currency exchange and foreign participation in China’s e-commerce sector – both originally FTZ pilot schemes – implemented nationwide.

Other key aspects include the negative list, which states exhaustively in which sectors foreign investment is restricted; and the faster company registration process. Both concepts are gradually being implemented across the rest of China.

Many major cities are now conducting trial programs where company registration can be completed online or only require a visit to one location, or where the business license now also covers tax registration and the enterprise code. The Foreign Investment Law, of which the first draft was made available for public comment in January 2015, would take the concept of a negative list for foreign investment nationwide. As of yet, there is however no news on the progress of the Foreign Investment Law. Continue reading…

The Shanghai and Guangdong Free Trade Zones: A Comparison

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CB 2014 09_Revisiting the Shanghai Free Trade ZoneBy Elizabeth Leclaire and Rainy Yao

Closely mirroring the structural and legislative policies of the Shanghai Free Trade Zone (FTZ), the Guangdong Free Trade Zone  was launched in April of this year, along with two other FTZs in Tianjin and Fujian. With Shanghai as the nation’s de facto financial center and Guangdong as one of the world’s major manufacturing and trading centers, both the Shanghai FTZ and Guangdong FTZ have caught the attention of foreign investors seeking to enter a more liberalized Chinese market. While the Shanghai FTZ and Guangdong FTZ are regulated by similar policies, important distinctions exist between the two zones, and foreign investors must be careful to select the location best suited for business needs. Continue reading…

Offshore Status of Hong Kong Companies

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By Stephen O’Regan 
International Business Advisory, Dezan Shira & Associates

Hong Kong is often seen as a favorable business location, due to its low tax rates, easier access to the Asian market, as well as a relatively stress-free establishment procedure. The region’s stable political environment and excellent finance and banking services also provide investors with a better business environment. Moreover, there are no exchange controls in Hong Kong. A Hong Kong company may do business anywhere in the world and there is no requirement for the Directors and Shareholders to be residents in Hong Kong. The last benefit leads us to the consideration of the region’s stance on the offshore status of Hong Kong companies. There is no offshore status regulation in Hong Kong per se. Continue reading…

The New Free Trade Zones Explained, Part IV: Fujian

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Fujian Free Trade ZoneBy Dezan Shira & Associates
Editor: Rainy Yao

Following the opening of the Shanghai Free Trade Zone (FTZ), China recently launched three new FTZs in Guangdong, Tianjin and Fujian, along with the release of the Negative List for Foreign Investment applicable to the four FTZs.

In this last part of the Free Trade Zone series, we concentrate on the Fujian FTZ, which mainly aims to strengthen the province’s cooperation and economic ties with Taiwan and further open up its financial sector for foreign investment. The beneficial policies that stimulate integration with Taiwan offer interesting opportunities for foreign investors that also have a presence there.

Continue reading…

Hong Kong’s Business Environment & Costs Compared with Singapore

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China-SG-HKOp/Ed by Chris Devonshire-Ellis

Part Seven in our series comparing ASEAN business costs with China

Singapore is the de facto financial and services hub for ASEAN, and as a city state with such a remit it is more pertinent to compare the dynamics of Singapore with Hong Kong rather than China as a whole. The two cities compete with each other – yet how do they stack up when compared? 

In fact, since Hong Kong’s return to mainland China in 1997, its positioning as a services hub has retrenched from Asia to being almost exclusively the gateway to mainland China, and a bridge between China and Taiwan. Singapore meanwhile has forged ahead with its ASEAN ties, and has become a regional hub for the bloc, meaning that today a clear distinction can be drawn between the markets they serve. Although a little simplistic, the general rule of thumb that Hong Kong services the mainland, and Singapore ASEAN, contains much truth, and particularly so when one realizes that Hong Kong is not included in the China-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement although negotiations are now underwayContinue reading…

Hong Kong Announces Enhancement Measures for Immigration Policy

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Dec mag imageBy Stephen O’Regan 
International Business Advisory
Dezan Shira & Associates

Hong Kong is now facing the same ageing population crises as Mainland China. It is estimated that by 2040, about one in three Hong Kong residents will be over the age of 65. In order to help alleviate concerns about this, the Immigration Department has recently announced that a set of new enhanced measures to its immigration policy will be implemented by the second quarter of 2015. Essentially, these new measures are expected to build up “human capital” in Hong Kong by supporting the local workforce with foreign professionals and talents.

The new measures include:

  • A relaxation and adjustment of the policies for migrants under the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme (QMAS) in order to attract more foreign talents with international work experience or third or fourth level education;
  • A relaxation and adjustment of the policies for migrants under the General Employment Policy (GEP)/Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals (ASMTP) in order to smooth and streamline the entry and stay of such foreign talents. Further, the measures clarify several issues relevant to foreign investment in this policy; and
  • An introduction of a pilot scheme directed at second generation overseas Chinese/Hong Kong citizens in order to entice them to return to Hong Kong and seek employment.

Continue reading…

The New Free Trade Zones Explained, Part I: Guangdong

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705px-China_Guangdong.svgBy Dezan Shira & Associates
Editor: Rainy Yao

On April 20, the policy frameworks for the Tianjin, Guangdong and Fujian Free Trade Zones (FTZs) were officially published by the State Council, along with an updated Negative List, which details prohibited or restricted industries for foreign investment in all of the four existing FTZs in China, including the expanded Shanghai FTZ. The three FTZs were approved in December last year by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

Following this, China announced the expansion of the Shanghai FTZ earlier this year to include Lujiazui, the city’s financial district. In Part 1 of this series, we provide details of the Guangdong FTZ and explore the new investment opportunities brought by the new Free Trade Zone.

Continue reading…

The Automation of China’s Labor Force

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Roboscribe_KUKA_RoboticsBy Kelsey Ryan

The robotics industry is on the cusp of revolutionizing the way business is conducted in China; and the world. With China expected to have the most industrial robots operating in production plants worldwide by 2017, foreign investors should take note. China currently holds the title of the world’s largest market in the sale of industrial robotics, but lacks robotic density. Continue reading…

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