Hong Kong’s hedge fund world is fast taking center stage on the financial scene. In December of 2007 at the 5th Annual Hedge Funds Conference, Secretary for Financial Services & the Treasury, Professor KC Chan said that he thinks Hong Kong is becoming the hedge fund hub of Asia. He quoted figures that showed that the hedge fund presence in Hong Kong has moved from about 160 funds in 2001 to about 1240 in the first half of 2007.
As he said, “Hong Kong got the largest number of new Asia Pacific hedge funds launched in 2006 as well as in the first half of 2007, ahead of Singapore, Japan and Australia. We have adopted various tax measures to promote the growth of the industry. Since 2006, offshore funds have been exempted from profits tax. This brings us in line with other major financial centres such as New York and London. More importantly, the measure helps attract new offshore funds to come to Hong Kong and encourages existing offshore funds to continue to invest in Hong Kong.”
As he continued, “We have also abolished estate duty since last year to encourage local and overseas investors to invest in Hong Kong. To further enhance our competitiveness, the Chief Executive announced in his Policy Address in October this year that our profits tax will be reduced from 17.5% to 16.5% in 2008-09. Given our already low and simple tax regime, these measures will further enhance our attractiveness to overseas fund managers.”