Hong Kong and Singapore Offer Incentives for Overseas Companies

Companies that are trying to capture new audiences in Asia are choosing Hong Kong and Singapore as locations for their regional headquarters.  Asia’s trade may be slowing, but it’s a temporary phenomenon because trade’s key drivers — including a growing young population of roughly 3 billion and a rising middle class — are rapidly expanding the region’s consumer base.  In 2015, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, listed Hong Kong second in the world, both in terms of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflow and outflow, second only to Mainland China and the USA respectively.  Hong kong is also one of the most popular start-up hubs in the world.  According to InvestHK’s latest survey, currently there are over 1600 local start-ups, this represents an increase of 50% from 2014 levels.

As a preferred location for innovation, Singapore has nurtured a robust intellectual property (IP) regime.  The country has placed a great deal of commitment into developing a strong domestic regulatory framework to protect IP rights. It is currently rated the best place in Asia and 7th in the world for IP rights protection in the IMD World Competitiveness Report 2011. Similarly, the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2011-2012 ranks the island as having the best IP protection in Asia, and the second best in the world.

Hong Kong and Singapore welcome businesses to leverage their cities as a strategic vantage base, from which to implement their growth strategies and to manage and integrate their operations for the region and beyond.  Eligible businesses with substantive plans to grow through conducting high value activities in Singapore and Hong Kong may apply to qualify for various government incentives programmes.  Successful applicants would be required to satisfy rigorous requirements with respect to the scale and qualitative aspects of the activities to be conducted.

The Hong Kong Government invests heavily in providing world-class infrastructure to support R&D activities in Hong Kong. Infrastructure developments include the Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks, the Cyberport and five R&D Centres which work closely with the industry to develop new technologies with substantial market potential.

Technology companies can apply for various funding programmes under the Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF). They can enjoy a cash rebate equivalent to 30 percent of their expenditure on R&D projects funded by the ITF and on applied R&D projects funded entirely by companies and conducted by local designated research institutions under the Research and Development Cash Rebate Scheme.

In Singapore a slew of financial incentives are offered to investors ready to expand their businesses, covering areas from equipment and technology, to business development, R&D and intellectual property, headquarters management, and industry development.

To learn more about setting up your company, and the incentives that are available in Hong Kong and Singapore, contact Martin Kuzma at martin@harbordassociates.com

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