South China

Hong Kong Considers Easing Housing Market Restrictions

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HONG KONG – Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Chan Ka-keung, has said that Hong Kong will consider easing measures implemented to check real estate speculation if U.S. interest rates begin to rise, but will not make any significant changes to the city’s policy in the meantime.

Quantitative easing in the U.S. has led to record low interest rates both in the U.S. and Hong Kong, whose currency is pegged to the U.S. dollar. The low cost of borrowing has caused the Hong Kong property market to experience an unprecedented boom, and property prices have more than doubled in the past five years. Continue reading…

Hengqin New Area Announces Preferential Policies

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GUANGZHOU – On Mar 27, the Ministry of Finance and State Administration of Taxation jointly issued a Preferential Corporate Income Tax (CIT) Catalog for Hengqin New Area (hereinafter referred to as “Preferential Catalog”), which lists the industries that will be eligible for the preferential CIT rate of 15 percent.

Hengqin New Area, located in the Zhuhai Special Economic Zone in Guangdong Province, is situated next to Macau and only a stone’s throw away from Hong Kong. Given its geographic advantage, the Hengqin New Area is the first pilot zone of the “one country, two systems” policy and has already attracted over RMB226.3 billion (US$36.4 billion) total investment so far. It is equipped with high-quality development resources and advanced management mechanism, as well as provides the most preferential investment policies in South China. Continue reading…

Guangzhou Implements Commercial Registration Reform

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Jan. 15 – The Guangzhou Administration for Industry and Commerce (AIC) released the ”Circular on Fully Implementing the Commercial Registration in Guangzhou Municipality (hereinafter referred to as ‘Circular’)” on December 30, 2013. The Circular, which rolls out commercial registration reform across the city, began January 1, 2014. Detailed information can be found below. Continue reading…

Update: Shenzhen Residence Permit Interviews with Public Security Bureau

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Oct. 30 – China’s Public Security Bureau (PSB) requires a preliminary interview for any foreigner that wants to apply for a residence permit in Shenzhen (applicants under age of 18 years old or above 70 years old are exempted). Only applicants who have passed the interview will have their residence permit application put forward for further review.

According to the recent notice released by the Entry and Exit Division of the Shenzhen PSB, starting from November 1, 2013, the residence permit interview for foreigners will be handled by the Foreigner Administration Office (FAO) of the Shenzhen Municipal PSB instead of the district PSB at the registered location of foreigner’s employer. Continue reading…

The State of Domestic Coffee Production in China

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In a nation of avid tea drinkers, coffee continues to gain ground.

By Nathan Barlow

Oct. 22 – Coffee first made its initial appearance in China when a French missionary in the 1890s planted beans throughout Yunnan Province. Over the next hundred years, coffee would go largely unnoticed but, as is the case with many things in China, the market has changed quite a bit over the last 20 years.

This is the final section of our three-part series detailing various facets of China’s coffee industry, and this article focuses on domestic coffee production in China. Part one, introducing the China’s coffee industry, can be found here, while part two, detailing importing and exporting coffee beans in China, can be found here. Continue reading…

China Clarifies Recognition of Resident Enterprises Under Hong Kong DTA

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Oct. 15 – To enjoy the tax benefits of the double taxation avoidance agreement (DTA) signed between Hong Kong and Mainland China (“the Mainland”), eligible applicants must be tax residents of Hong Kong. Recently, China’s State Administration of Taxation (SAT) released the “Announcement Concerning Resident Status Recognition Procedures in Implementing the DTA between Hong Kong and China Mainland (SAT Announcement No. 53, hereinafter referred to ‘Announcement 53’)” to clarify the criteria for being recognized as a Hong Kong resident for tax purposes, which will enter into force on November 1, 2013. Continue reading…

China to Crack Down on Use of Hong Kong Shelf Companies?

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ChinaWhys scandal could impact upon use of shelf companies with no Hong Kong assets

Op-Ed Commentary: Chris Devonshire-Ellis

Sept. 3 – A result of part of the investigation into the ChinaWhys scandal and the continuing incarceration of the company’s directors in China could be a shift in attitude towards the use of shelf companies in Hong Kong to hold China assets. As part of the investigation into ChinaWhys, the Chinese PSB official interviewed on state TV about the case commented that the PSB had gone to the extent of looking at the overall ChinaWhys corporate structure. Describing the business as a Hong Kong “shell company,” he implied it held no material assets in Hong Kong, although it can reasonably be assumed the company held a bank account there. The implication then is that in China, the ChinaWhys business was operating either as a representative office (RO) or as a wholly foreign-owned enterprise (WFOE) as its primary place of business, and not Hong Kong. Continue reading…

Hong Kong Now Allowed to Sign Standalone Tax Information Exchange Agreements

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Aug. 2 – The Legislative Council of Hong Kong recently passed the Inland Revenue (Amendment) Bill 2013 (hereinafter referred to as the “Bill”) on July 10, which will enable Hong Kong to directly enter into tax information exchange agreements (TIEAs) with other jurisdictions. The Bill also enhances and makes more efficient the exchange of information related to all of Hong Kong’s comprehensive double taxation avoidance agreements (CDTAs) with other jurisdictions. Continue reading…

Asia Briefing Bookstore Catalogue 2013