Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee announced his first policy address on 19 October 2022, following his appointment in July 2022. The policy sets out a plan for the next five years, and covers measures to improve governance systems, initiatives to attract foreign talents and investors, and aid for enterprises of emerging industries to thrive, ensuring Hong Kong maintains its leading international status.

Some highlights that entrepreneurs and business owners may want to note are:

Supporting enterprises

  • Increasing the cumulative funding ceiling (per enterprise) of the ‘Dedicated Fund on Branding, Upgrading and Domestic Sales’ and the SME Export Marketing Fund to HK$7 million and HK$1 million respectively
  • Further extend the reduction of water and sewage charges for non-domestic accounts until the end of July 2023, and further extend rental or fee concessions to eligible tenants of government premises, short-term tenancies, and waivers until the end of June 2023

Attracting quality talent and investors

  • A scheme will be launched to attract top talents and graduates from the world's top 100 universities to pursue careers in Hong Kong. A HK$30 billion co-investment fund has been allocated to attract enterprises looking to set up operations in Hong Kong, and to assist with investment

  • Overseas talents who have become permanent residents might be eligible to apply for a refund of the extra stamp duty paid for purchasing residential property locally

  • The plan looks to provide matched funding to research and development teams in universities, which have potential for an innovation and technology start-up. Further support to transform and commercialise the research and development may also be provided support will be offered to the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX) to explore revitalising the Growth Enterprise Market (GEM) to serve small and mid-sized issuers, in order to provide a more effective fundraising platform for start-ups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs)

  • A new division named the Office for Attracting Strategic Enterprises (OASES) will be led by the Financial Secretary to attract strategic enterprises to Hong Kong with targeted and attractive facilitation measures. In addition to the new division, mainland offices and overseas Economic and Trade Offices will set up dedicated teams to proactively reach out to target enterprises and talents to pursue development in the city

These highlights form part of the address which covers around 590 policy measures aiming to better serve the people of Hong Kong and the city’s development. If you have any questions about the policy address or would like to discuss your specific circumstances, please contact Kelvin, our sales team leader at +852 2159 9666 or by emailing kelvin_lau@bridges.hk.

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On 12 July 2022, the UK Government announced that the new Register of Overseas Entities (ROE) held by Companies House and created under the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act 2022 (the Act) would come into force on 1 August 2022, and requires overseas entities that own land or property in the UK to declare their beneficial owners and/or managing officers.

Who does it affect?

All legal entities which are overseas to the UK whom:

  • are purchasing freehold or leasehold property;

  • are entering into a new lease of property for a period of seven years or more, or;

  • have since 28 February 2022 sold, charged or leased property;

Where this is the case, the overseas entity must provide information about the beneficial owners of that entity to Companies House.

What are the risks of not registering?

  • If the registration requirements at Companies House are not complied with, your application for registration at HM Land Registry cannot proceed

  • If you make an application without the ID number from Companies House, the registration will be cancelled

  • Failure to comply is potentially a criminal offence both for the entity and its officers, (subject to mitigation and transitional provisions) punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment

  • Completion monies could become the proceeds of crime

How can we help?

Our sister company, Equiom, is supporting overseas entities that need to register with Companies House under the Act.

If you have any queries regarding the Register of Overseas Entities, and how Equiom can assist with your registration, or any of the other Mandatory Disclosures, please contact us at info@bridges.hk with your enquiry. You can also download our fact sheet to know more about the relevant service. 

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UK Economic Crime Fact Sheet

There are some significant amendments to the BVI Business Companies Act 2004 (Amended Act) which will come into force on 1 January 2023 with the following changes potentially impacting your BVI company going forward:


1. Struck-off companies and dissolution

In the current law, a struck-off company could be restored at any time by paying any unpaid annual fees and penalties due and/or rectifying any other default which caused the striking-off. However, if the company fails to take such remedial action within seven years of being struck off, it will be automatically dissolved by law. The Amended Act will abolish this period and struck-off companies will dissolve immediately.


2. Director names available to the public

The Amended Act will make the names of the directors of BVI companies available to registered users of the online VIRRGIN system but an extra add-on fee is expected for the search. Director names will only be available for searches that are run against a particular company name and not the names of individuals.

The BVI Financial Services Commission (FSC) will extract information from the registers they have on file and no action is required from clients, but entities whose register is not up to date should update theirs as soon as possible.


3. Filing annual financial return

In addition to their existing record-keeping obligations, unless exempted, BVI companies will now be required to provide specific financial information in an annual return to be filed within nine months of the calendar year end or at the end of the company’s financial year. Format details and content of the annual return will be confirmed in the coming months.

Exemptions apply for listed companies, companies regulated under BVI financial services legislation, and companies that pay tax in the BVI.

The amendments are being introduced to ensure the BVI keeps pace with international best practices and standards and all BVI companies should be ready to comply with the latest legislation.


4. Liquidations

At present, a person is eligible to be appointed as a voluntary liquidator of a solvent BVI company if they are not disqualified from acting on the grounds of being a person who is a bankrupt, a minor, a disqualified director or a person who is or was a director or in a senior management position with responsibilities including financial management of the company or an affiliated company within the previous two years.

A residency requirement has been introduced for persons being appointed to act as liquidators of BVI companies on a solvent basis. To qualify, an individual must have physically lived in the BVI for at least 180 days, either continuously or in aggregate, prior to their appointment.

These resident liquidators will be required to collect the corporate records kept and maintained by the company in liquidation and on completion of the liquidation to provide copies of all records collected by the liquidator to the Registered Agent of the Company.


If you own a BVI company, have or had dealt with one and would like us to help identify what actions can be taken now, please get in touch with us at info@bridges.hk or call us at +852 2159 9666.

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