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This year, the Hong Kong government is keen to promote Hong Kong’s international status as a hub for family offices, or “family offices”, with the launch of “eight initiatives”. Among them, the New Capital Investment Entry Scheme, as one of the eight policy initiatives of the Developer Office, aims to attract asset owners to settle down and develop in Hong Kong, and to explore diverse investment opportunities in Hong Kong through the allocation and management of wealth.


In his annual policy address last October, Hong Kong Chief Executive Lee Ka-chiu proposed an improved investment immigration program for wealthy individuals and their families, offering fast-track residency to those who invest at least HK $30 million ($3.8 million) in local stocks or other assets.


On December 19, Hong Kong announced the details of the New Capital Investor Entry Scheme, including the application eligibility criteria, permitted investment assets, investment management requirements, application for right of abode requirements, and the “exemption before levy” arrangement for the stamp duty on home purchases by foreigners.


Ms Chan Wing-man, Deputy Secretary for the Treasury (Financial Services) of Hong Kong, pointed out that the applicant can apply for an extension of three years after the expiry of the three years, and can apply for another three years after the expiry of the three years, that is, a total of “2+3+3”, if the applicant has resided in Hong Kong continuously for not less than seven years, he or she can apply to become a permanent resident and dispose of assets freely in the future. You can also enjoy the “exemption before tax” arrangement.


After a lapse of eight years, Hong Kong’s Capital Investor Entrant Scheme has officially restarted


It is understood that Hong Kong launched the Investment Immigration Scheme as early as 2003, when foreigners who purchased HK $6.5 million of Hong Kong property could apply for investment immigration, and applicants could also buy stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit, and so on.


With the investment immigration scheme seen as one of the drivers of high property prices in Hong Kong, the government raised the investment immigration threshold from HK $6.5m to HK $10m in 2010, excluding property from the investment asset class under the Capital Investor Entrant Scheme. As of the end of 2010, a total of 8,924 applications had been approved with a total asset value of HK $63.3 billion, of which HK $41.8 billion was invested in designated financial assets. Equivalent to about two-thirds of the migrant money poured into capital markets.


The 2015 Hong Kong Policy Address announced the suspension of the Capital Investor Entrant Scheme, marking a pause on the 11-year-old investor immigration policy. At that time, the old scheme required an investment quota of not less than HK $10 million to be invested in the permitted investment asset classes, except for certificates of deposit investments.


After eight years, the Capital Investor Entrant Scheme in Hong Kong has been officially restarted, and the SAR Government has officially launched the new scheme and accepted applications on March 1, 2024.


Financial Secretary Hui Zhengyu pointed out that the authorities have not set a target for the number of applicants, referring to the average of 4,000 applications per year under the last similar scheme, if the current investment of HK $30 million, it should bring 120 billion new funds to Hong Kong. Compared with investment immigration schemes in other regions, Hong Kong’s scheme has attractive thresholds and a rich investment portfolio. The new scheme will help strengthen Hong Kong’s strengths in the development of asset and wealth management, finance and related professional sectors, and bring more business opportunities and quality employment opportunities to various links of the industry service chain.


“The Hong Kong Scheme will not collide with the Ko Tseung Scheme because of the ‘different customer sources’, the New Capital Investor Entrant Scheme attracts high net worth individuals, while Ko Tseung attracts professionals with individual skills. The new plan will attract people from as many different places as possible, including Southeast Asia and places visited before.” Xu Zhengyu said.


In addition, from our perspective, the Capital Investment Entrant Scheme has three major benefits:

  1. No work/self-employment requirement: At present, most of the visa schemes for Hong Kong residents in the Mainland require the applicant to have a job in Hong Kong, usually a local employer or a self-employed business. But under the Capital Investment Program, there are no requirements.
  2. No academic qualifications: Unlike other existing visa schemes, there are no specific requirements for applicants’ academic qualifications or work experience under the Capital Investor Scheme.
  3. No age limit: The only age requirement for this program is that the applicant must be at least 18 years old, and there is no upper age limit.


Further promote the implementation of family office in Hong Kong


Industry insiders said Hong Kong’s investment immigration program could attract more companies to compete with Singapore.


“The upcoming Capital Investor Entrant Scheme is very important to attract wealthy clients to set up family offices in Hong Kong. We’ve seen a lot of clients express interest in moving to Hong Kong through this program because it’s so easy to do.” A Hong Kong office practitioner said.


In 2023, to develop Hong Kong into a leading family office hub in the world, it began to struggle to catch up. Hong Kong seems determined to “go head-to-head” with Singapore in a number of initiatives.


The Hong Kong Government has conducted in-depth research on the domestic offices returning to Hong Kong from Singapore this year, systematically studied the various problems encountered by these domestic offices in Singapore, and optimized the domestic office policies in Hong Kong in multiple dimensions.


With the continuous introduction of favorable policies for family office in Hong Kong, the advantages of setting up family office in Hong Kong are becoming more and more obvious. In the race to attract mainland entrepreneurs, Hong Kong has unique advantages, such as a more familiar language, culture and lifestyle, a more convenient geographical location and close proximity to the Greater Bay Area, which has developed rapidly in recent years.


In the future, the competition between Singapore and Hong Kong for the “family office capital” will become increasingly fierce.