New mainland economic zone seeks to attract Hong Kong insurers

Amid efforts to bring in financial firms, zone’s administration slammed for lack of policies targeted at smaller companies

New mainland economic zone seeks to attract Hong Kong insurers

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

A new special economic zone an hour’s drive away from Hong Kong is seeking more tenants from the city, including insurance companies.

The Qianhai special economic zone currently has 164,900 registered companies, a 33% year-on-year increase. It offers tax incentives and more relaxed regulations to entice firms to move in. Financial firms make up the largest proportion of tenants, followed by logistics firms.

Witman Hung, principal liaison officer for the Hong Kong office at the Qianhai Authority, said in a media briefing that the authority would want more insurance companies from Hong Kong to operate in the zone, but it is waiting for the green light from the country’s insurance regulators.

According to Hung, 7,120 Hong Kong companies are now operating in Qianhai, with combined funds under management of RMB8.7 billion (US$1.3 billion).

However, some prospective tenants from Hong Kong have expressed apprehension about setting up shop there, according to a report by South China Morning Post.

Experts have aired criticism that Qianhai’s incentives benefit only the large financial firms and have less to offer for smaller companies.

“Qianhai and the Greater Bay Area [which consists of nine cities in Guangdong and the two special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau] offer a lot of growth opportunities but then many of its policies only benefit large international financial firms,” Christopher Cheung Wah-fung, a Hong Kong legislator for the financial services sector, as well as a stockbroker, told SCMP.


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