Hong Kong, renowned for its dynamic financial sector, has reignited its investment immigration program, which was dormant for eight years. This revival comes with a fresh twist as a local lawmaker suggests including Bitcoin purchases on Hong Kong’s licensed exchanges as part of the program.
According to the report, the rebooted program has set the entry threshold at approximately US$3.84 million, clearly indicating Hong Kong’s determination to attract high-net-worth individuals. The government unveiled eight plans to entice family offices to bolster this initiative, including the “Capital Investor Entry Scheme.” While the details are pending release later this year, the entry threshold is expected to rise to NT$30 million, creating buzz among potential investors.
PricewaterhouseCoopers has been inundated with inquiries from clients eager to participate in the program, foreseeing considerable demand. The firm hopes to collaborate with the family office tax preferential system, potentially offering immigration packages to qualified family offices, making it easier for members and their immediate families to secure visas.
Despite the tax incentives, some legislators believe that political considerations have prompted wealthy businessmen to move their assets elsewhere, and even more generous discounts may not lure them back. Instead, they propose attracting family offices from the Middle East and other regions.
Notably, the revived program doesn’t permit investment in real estate, and mainlanders still need to be included in eligibility. Wang Zhiwei, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, highlighted the anticipation surrounding the program’s return, emphasizing that Hong Kong’s low tax rate and absence of inheritance tax continue to be attractive to prospective tax residents.
Investment immigrants must wait seven years to obtain permanent residency, a rule that Wang Zhiwei believes is unlikely to change.
Tax Benefits & Bitcoin Integration
Chiu Ta-kan, a lawmaker from the technology and innovation sector, has called for the clarification of asset categories. He suggests classifying Bitcoin traded on licensed virtual asset exchanges as financial products, opening a new avenue for investors. While some argue that property purchases should also be eligible, Chiu Ta-kan maintains a neutral stance.
Expanding asset classes is another avenue for attracting family offices, with tax concessions being a key factor. Wang Xiaoyan, a tax partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers Hong Kong, hopes to broaden the range of assets like bitcoin and income eligible for tax incentives, recognizing that family offices seek diverse investment opportunities.
Despite Hong Kong’s efforts, Zeng Peilin, chairman of the Tsang Group, stressed the need for more attractive measures to compete with jurisdictions like Singapore and Dubai. He emphasizes that political and global factors are pivotal in attracting wealthy investors.
Qiu Dagen, another prominent figure, suggests that the Middle East should be the primary target for family offices. He believes that the region’s political considerations make it a ripe market for Hong Kong to tap into.
While the government aims to attract 200 family offices by the end of 2025, there must be official data on the number of family offices in Hong Kong. Zeng Peilin argues that increasing investments in the city is more crucial than focusing on the number of family offices, with 10-year investments continuing to be an attractive proposition for potential investors.