Hong Kong

Hong Kong's strong commitment to maintaining a high degree of autonomy has led to an open economy with low taxation, free trade, and a competitive business landscape. As a result, the region is a gateway for investors looking to enter the rapidly expanding markets of Asia. Additionally, its cosmopolitan atmosphere, high standard of living, and excellent infrastructure make it an attractive choice for family offices seeking a base of operations.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Evaluation categories

  • Tax regulations & incentives
  • Legal & regulatory structures
  • Economy & political climate
  • Services & Talent Access
  • Culture & lifestyle considerations
  • Resources

    FAQ

    2700+

    Family offices

    16.5%

    Corporate Income Tax Rate

    19

    Henley Passport Index 2023 Rankings
    hongkong family office region by simple
    Updated on May 28, 2024

    Introduction

    The fragrant harbour on the rise

     

    Hong Kong is a unique hub for family offices in Asia, blending East and Western culture with ancient monasteries and skyscraping buildings. The city’s official languages are Chinese and English, reflecting the residual influence of over 150 years of British rule. In 1997, Britain officially transferred authority over Hong Kong to China.

     

    Today, Hong Kong is a special administrative region (SAR) of China. However, it maintains legal and political systems that are distinct from those in the mainland. Under the principle of “One Country, Two Systems”, the region retains its independent immigration, monetary, fiscal and taxation systems. 

     

     

    Notable: Capital Investment Entrance Scheme

    The Hong Kong government introduced the Capital Investment Entrant Scheme (CIES) as a way to attract high-net-worth individuals and family offices to invest in the region. Under this scheme, successful applicants who invest a minimum of HK$30 million can bring their spouse and unmarried dependent children under 18 to stay in Hong Kong for up to two years. This stay can be extended for three years at a time. After seven years of continuous residence, the applicants can apply for permanent residency.

    People to know

    Feisal Alibhai
    Mediation & family dynamics
    Feisal Alibhai

    Hong Kong

    martin stadler
    Partner & Strategic Advisor, Simple
    Martin Stadler

    Zürich, Switzerland

    These are experts from our network who deeply understand specific topics or subject matter, but can also help navigate the local ecosystem with network, connections, insights, services, and more.

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    Evaluation categories

    1. Tax regulations & incentives

    Hong Kong offers a favourable tax regime for family offices, characterised by simplicity and low tax rates. The jurisdiction operates on a territorial basis of taxation, meaning that only income earned within Hong Kong is subject to tax. There are no capital gains taxes, VAT or sales tax, and estate duty, which makes it an attractive jurisdiction for investment and wealth management activities. Additionally, Hong Kong offers various tax incentives for specific industries and activities that can benefit family offices directly or indirectly, enhancing the territory's attractiveness as a premier global financial hub.

    The profits tax for corporations is 8.25% for the first HK$2 million of profits and 16.5% for profits above that amount. For unincorporated businesses like partnerships and sole proprietorships, the tax rates are 7.5% and 15%, respectively. The salaries tax rate is 15%, and the property tax rate is also 15%.

    Hong Kong does not impose sales tax or VAT, withholding tax, capital gains tax, tax on dividends, and estate tax. Moreover, its free port status and easy customs procedures make it easier for businesses and companies to operate.

    Hong Kong introduced tax regulations and incentives to encourage investment management and related activities within the city, particularly for Family-owned Investment Holding Vehicles (FIHVs) managed by Single Family Offices (SFOs). The aim is to establish Hong Kong as a leading hub for family offices globally.

    To qualify for these incentives, a FIHV must be managed by an eligible SFO and have a minimum asset threshold of HKD240 million, along with a substantial activities requirement. The SFO must also have a certain number of qualified full-time employees in Hong Kong and a minimum total operating expenditure of HK$2 million for carrying out investment activities.

    The tax concession applies to any years of assessment commencing on or after 1 April 2022, and no prior regulatory approval is needed for the application of profits tax concessions. However, a FIHV can elect for these concessions and apply for an advance ruling on eligibility.

    2. Legal & regulatory structures

    In Hong Kong, family offices are not required to have a specific license. Instead, the licensing process depends on the activities being carried out by the family office. If the services provided by a family office do not fall under regulated activities or if they fall under any of the available exemptions, the family office is not required to be licensed under the Securities and Futures Ordinance (SFO). For instance, a family office will not require a license if it is established as a separate legal entity wholly owned by a trustee or a company that holds the assets of the family and qualifies for the intra-group carve-out as a full discretionary investment manager. Similarly, if a family appoints a trustee to hold the assets of a family trust and the trustee operates a family office as an internal

    A Private Trust Company (PTC) can be established to serve as a trustee for a family’s assets. This arrangement enables the family to maintain control over the management of the trust while also obtaining advantages such as asset protection and estate planning.

    A Family-Owned Limited Partnership (FOLP) is a type of limited partnership created to manage the family’s wealth. It provides operational flexibility, and its structure can be tailored to meet the interests of various family members.

    An FOIE is a company incorporated in Hong Kong specifically for managing the family’s wealth. It provides limited liability protection and can be structured to facilitate the transfer of wealth to future generations.

    Setting up a Hong Kong limited company is a common choice for family offices. It offers limited liability protection, a simple and efficient corporate structure, and access to Hong Kong’s extensive network of tax treaties.

    A trust established in Hong Kong can be a useful tool for wealth preservation and succession planning. It allows the settlor to transfer assets to the trust for the benefit of beneficiaries while retaining some level of control over the assets.

    A foundation can be established in Hong Kong for charitable, philanthropic, or wealth management purposes. It provides a flexible and efficient way to manage family wealth and can be used for succession planning.

    3. Economic & political climate

    Hong Kong's economic and political climate is resilient and stable, underpinned by a strong rule of law and an independent judiciary. Despite facing challenges, including political tensions and global economic uncertainties, Hong Kong has demonstrated a remarkable ability to maintain its status as a leading financial centre. The government's proactive measures to support the economy, including various stimulus packages and policies to attract foreign investment, have helped sustain confidence among investors and family offices. The commitment to economic freedom and the strategic position as a gateway to China remain key drivers of Hong Kong's appeal.

    Hong Kong is a leading international financial centre with a highly developed financial infrastructure. The city has nearly 80 of the world’s 100 largest banks and 70 of the top 100 global money managers, respectively. These global entities can help family offices with the complexities of investing in China and optimise their investment strategies.

    Hong Kong’s location is strategic because it provides a gateway to access the massive Chinese market. Its proximity to the mainland’s booming economy offers various investment opportunities and business prospects. Family offices can take advantage of the many Chinese products available in Hong Kong, including stocks, bonds, real estate, and private equity. Moreover, they can invest in Chinese firms listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) or participate in diverse investment schemes that connect Hong Kong with mainland China, such as the Stock Connect and Bond Connect programs.

    Hong Kong has a well-established legal system based on English common law, providing certainty and transparency in legal matters. The regulatory environment is business-friendly, with clear rules and regulations that are favourable for wealth management. The city’s strong rule of law, coupled with its reputation as a global financial centre and its strategic location in Asia, make it a compelling choice for family offices seeking to manage and grow their wealth.

    4. Services & talent access

    Hong Kong has a highly skilled labour force, particularly in finance, law, accounting, and other professional services. The city has over 42,000 asset and wealth management practitioners, more than 45,000 certified public accountants, and over 13,000 practising solicitors and barristers (including registered foreign lawyers from 33 regions). Additionally, there are over 90 registered foreign law firms. Hong Kong's workforce is known for its international outlook, strong work ethic, and proficiency in English and Chinese languages.

    Newcomers to Hong Kong will find that language is rarely an issue, with most locals being either bilingual or trilingual. Many business professionals can speak English and Cantonese (Hong Kong’s most widely spoken language), and a lot of people may also speak Mandarin (Mainland China’s official language).

    Hong Kong is home to 22 degree-awarding higher education institutions. Currently four Hong Kong universities are featured in the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings top 100 list, demonstrating the high quality of our education system.

    With liberal immigration policies, a vibrant cosmopolitan lifestyle and abundant opportunities for career advancement, Hong Kong offers attractive prospects for professionals and experts from around the world. Various talent admission schemes are in place to attract talent and drive Hong Kong’s development as a high-value-added and diversified economy.

    5. Culture & lifestyle considerations

    Hong Kong is a global city that has attracted people from all corners of the globe. Many are drawn to Hong Kong thanks to its compact size, vibrant lifestyle, beautiful scenery and welcoming international community. The city’s business community is no different, allowing businesses of all types to thrive in the city’s cosmopolitan surroundings.

    The variety of food on offer in Hong Kong is one of the best in the world. With thousands of options, from street-side food stalls to Michelin-star restaurants, there’s something for everyone in Hong Kong. Options are not only plentiful but also diverse, with a wide array of cuisines available for Hong Kong’s international community.

    You wouldn’t know it by looking at the towering skyscrapers and bright lights of Hong Kong, but the city is home to beautiful beaches and endless hiking trails. One only has to make a short journey away from the city to discover a completely different side of Hong Kong filled with nature and wildlife. Although Hong Kong is one of the world’s largest metropolises, three-quarters of the 1,108 square kilometres of land is in the countryside.

    Those with children will be happy to know that Hong Kong has over 50 international schools offering different international curricula. From kindergarten all the way to university, an international level of education is available to those seeking to maintain the educational consistency of their home country.

    Service Providers

    qineticare

    Qineticare

    Hong Kong
    Health & Wellness Concierge

    Qineticare, the world's first Family Health Office (FHO), puts your family's health and well-being first. With the complexity of modern lifestyles, family dynamics, and fragmented healthcare systems, Qineticare takes a multi-dimensional approach to support you and your family to overcome life's challenges and preserve your legacy for future generations.

    osl crypto

    OSL

    Hong Kong
    Digital asset exchange platform

    OSL is Asia’s most comprehensive digital asset platform, providing Software-as-a-Service, brokerage, exchange and custody services for institutions and professional investors.

    RSM

    RSM Family Office Dashboard

    United States of America
    Consolidated Reporting

    RSM's family office dashboard provides families with a personal, holistic and integrated view with unparalleled access to their data. By leveraging cutting edge technology and dynamic industry-leading advisors, clients receive unrivaled insights and value. The dashboard keeps our clients equipped and informed by consolidating key issues, information and needs, including tax; complex partnership tiering and allocation; collection of liquid and illiquid financial assets; outsourced CFO capability; managed IT; cybersecurity and thought leadership.

    canopy, family office software, portfolio management software, consolidated reporting software

    Canopy Canopy

    United States of America
    Consolidated Reporting

    Canopy, is a private & anonymous wealth account aggregation, portfolio analytics and client reporting platform for High Net-Worth Individuals and their Wealth Managers.

    Family Offices

    Carret Private

    Carret Private Investments Limited, founded in 2016 in Hong Kong, is a leading wealth manager and multi-family office serving ultra-high-net-worth individuals, families, trusts, and charitable organisations.

    Key numbers

    At a glance

    Evaluate key statistics to compare Hong Kong with other regions

    Comparison Hong Kong

    Henley Passport Index 2023 Rankings

    19

    Corporate Income Tax Rate

    16.5%

    Family offices

    2700+

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    FAQ

    Q

    How many family offices are there in Hong Kong?

    A
    According to a market study commissioned by Invest Hong Kong, there are an estimated 2700+ family offices in the region.
    Q

    How many family offices does Hong Kong plan to attract?

    A
    John Lee Ka-chiu, Chief Executive of Hong Kong, has outlined plans to attract 200 new large family offices to set up in the city by 2025.
    Q

    Where does Hong Kong Rank in the Global Financial Centres Index?

    A
    Hong Kong ranked fourth in the Global Financial Centres Index, published on 21 March 2024.
    Q

    How large is Hong Kong's UHNW population?

    A
    According to Citibank and Forbes, there are an estimated 408,000 multimillionaires and approximately 70 billionaires in Hong Kong.
    Q

    What is Hong Kong's Capital Investment Entrant Scheme?

    A
    The Capital Investment Entrant Scheme will enable investors who invest HK$27 million or more in qualifying assets and place HK$3 million into a new CIES Investment Portfolio to apply to reside in (and pursue development in) Hong Kong.

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