Latest: Flag Theory Updates, Business in Asia, Vanuatu’s Citizenship by Investment, Eastern Europe Incorporations and more…

From the Founder – Edmund:

Go East Young Man

Hello from Hong Kong,

Hong Kong is the epitome of east meets west. HK and Singapore are probably the two most interesting starting points for new fintech companies in Asia. Most international banks have a presence here, there is very strong rule of law, and you’d be amazed at the network of connectors in these cities.

But Hong Kong and Singapore are relatively small domestically – with 7 and 6 million people respectively. Therefore a growing needs to eventually look beyond towards large emerging markets. These markets in SE Asia and North Asia are sometimes not ideal in terms of shareholder laws (see as an example: Where only 50% foreign ownership is allowed in ID or TH for certain industries, the IP can be held offshore and local nominees can be utilized.

Regionally, having the IP held in SG or HK is very common, and it’s much easier to attract investment. This is why we usually advise clients (even if they operate through a local entity in Thailand) to hold the IP and ultimate ownership through a HK or SG company.

I’ve been in Hong Kong for most of 2017 – and it feels weird being in one place, last year I had over 50 flights. I think there is great value in settling in a place, as long as all your options aren’t tied to one jurisdiction.

Things really seem to be picking up the pace in Asia and it seems like the shift of power from east to west is happening slowly but surely. It’s very tough to time macro trends as they happen over a period of years – sometimes decades. See this interview I did with Jim Rogers in Singapore for more on this topic.

Last newsletter I talked about Fintech and what’s happening in China. Lots of countries in Asia Pacific are starting to wake up. We’ve been writing about SE Asian emerging markets for many years – and while we’ve seen sustained growth – we’ve just now started to see things really start to pick up.

I know a friend starting a bank in East Timor. In Cambodia, Venture Capital is just starting to pickup (I noted how in 2011 there was little to no competition for this). Fintech and to some extent eCommerce are booming and attracting investment. We’ve written at length about starting a company in Thailand (SiamStartup). Our thesis that Asia may be the best place in the world to start a business, is starting to come true.

From Flag Theory:

Japan has relaxed permanent residency requirements for Highly Skilled Foreign Professionals. To be considered as a highly skilled foreign professional, a foreign citizen working in Japan has to reach 70 points on Ministry's Immigration Scorecard. Scores are mainly based on professional qualifications, education level and annual salary. Effective since March 2017, Highly Skilled Foreign Professionals may apply for a permanent residency after 3 years of residence. Those scoring over 80 points may apply after just a year. The new measures include investing in Japanese business and holding degrees of highly-qualified institutions, as new ways to get additional points on the immigration scorecard. You can consult how the scorecard system works and self-evaluate at the Immigration Bureau of Japan website.

Changing the subject, Balkans and Eastern Europe countries are becoming increasingly interesting for planting several flags. Good quality of life, affordable cost of living, easy and fast incorporation, liberal immigration policies and low taxes are some of their benefits. Here are some options:

  • Macedonia: One stop shop system to incorporate in 4 hours, corporate and personal income taxes at 10% and no CFC rules.
  • Hungary: Residency through incorporation,  9% corporate tax and 15% personal income tax
  • Georgia: Residency through incorporation, 0% tax on reinvested profits, 15% on profits distribution, foreign-source personal income tax-free and no CFC regulations.
  • Estonia: Incorporation in 20 minutes through the E-Residency card, no tax on retained profits and 20% on dividend distribution.
  • Bulgaria: Corporate and personal income taxed at 10%, residency through incorporation and no CFC rules.
  • Many others (Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Serbia, Montenegro,  Croatia, Armenia...)

You can compare these and other jurisdictions at, which we have recently updated with the latest tax rates and policies.

We are going to launch a new version of soon. Any suggestion to improve it? Email us at [email protected].

Updates to our service:

We now have a partnership with master agents in Vanuatu - which has one of the most compelling citizenship programs in the world.

Vanuatu is a brand new citizenship by investment program that is currently being relaunched. The benefits are that the process is very quick, and application can be processed in less than one month.

New and updated articles:

Get in touch:

Got a question, want to talk? E-mail us at [email protected].

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