June 30, 2013

Our Mini-Theme: Hong Kong, Gateway to China

This BLT mini-theme is the first major project undertaken by the International Business Law Committee in cooperation with the Hong Kong Law Society, and is the fruition of planning that began at the 2012 ABA Annual Meeting. In this group of articles, authors from the Law Society have addressed many of the issues that we thought relevant to American business lawyers. We have enjoyed cooperation and participation at the highest levels of the Law Society, and extend our thanks particularly to Jean Wong and Kenneth Choy for their efforts in soliciting articles and coordinating the submissions. Both of them, and their president, will be speakers at the August 2013 ABA Annual Meeting, Business Law Section, in San Francisco, California. At the Annual Meeting, our Committee will be presenting an eponymous CLE program that will cover many of the mini-theme topics in greater depth, as well as some topics like taxation that will present a more comprehensive view of uses for Hong Kong (HK) companies, scheduled for Friday, August 9, from 10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. There will also be a speaker from the Law Society on the panel set up by the Dispute Resolution Committee on "Cross-Border Deals: State of the Art of International Negotiation, Mediation and Arbitration," scheduled for Friday, August 9, from 2:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m. 

On that point of departure, it was back in an LL.M. seminar on comparative tax systems that I first looked at the benefits of using Hong Kong as a holding company jurisdiction. It was on our list of favored "low-tax" jurisdictions because of its territorial approach to taxation, as unless there were HK-source income there was no tax imposed, and even HK income enjoys a low effective rate. We did have a weather eye on the 1997 turn-over from British colonial rule, but the intervening years have shown those fears to have been overblown. If anything, the jurisdiction is more attractive today due to the favorable trade and tax agreements now in force between HK and the Peoples’ Republic of China. 

The articles presented in this mini-theme are: 

  1. Melissa Kaye Pang: “Hong Kong as a Base for Doing Business in Mainland China” – This article highlights many of the advantages of using Hong Kong as a gateway jurisdiction.
  2. Basil Hwang and Selina Wong: “Setting up a Company in Hong Kong” – The requirements and features of the various corporate entity types are presented.
  3. Alex Que and James Fairley: “IPOs in Hong Kong” – It may not be the first market that comes to the mind of a U.S. securities lawyer for an exchange listing, but perhaps it should.
  4. Julianne Doe: “Takeovers in Hong Kong” – Local features of the securities markets and corporate ownership models affect acquisitions customs and practices.
  5. Adelaide Yu: “A Brief Guide to Intellectual Property in Hong Kong” – "One country, two systems" makes for many complications and surprises for the unwary.
  6. Joseph Li: “New Developments in Limited Liability Partnership Law in Hong Kong” – This article discusses the pending LLP statute that is intended to provide an entity suitable for professional services firms.
  7. Alex Lau: “Hong Kong Immigration Requirements for Business Executives and Professionals” – One country, three systems (Macau is the third) for immigration laws. Here is what U.S. lawyers need to know about the HK system. 

The International Business Law Committee provides a nexus for foreign lawyers and U.S. members to connect, collaborate, and forge new working relationships. If you have an interest in international business transactions, we encourage you to join the Committee. The trip to your "My ABA" portal is a short one; your complimentary membership awaits you there. . . .

Additional Resources

For other materials on this topic, please refer to the following

Law Society of Hong Kong

For further information on the Law Society of Hong Kong, visit its International Section at http://www.hklawsoc.org.hk, or e-mail intldesk@hklawsoc.org.hk

ABA Annual Meeting (Business Law Section)

August 9-11, 2013
San Francisco, CA (Fairmont and InterContinental Mark Hopkins)

Program: Hong Kong – Gateway to Mainland China
Friday, August 09, 2013 – 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Sponsoring Committee: International Business Law
Co-chairs: Lawrence D. W. Graves and Thomas F. Morante 

Program: Cross-Border Deals – State of the Art of International Negotiation, Mediation and Arbitration
Friday, August 09, 2013 – 2:30 PM - 4:30 PM
Sponsoring Committee: Dispute Resolution
Chair - John Levitske