Invest Hong Kong (InvestHK), the foreign direct investment promotion agency of the Special Administrative Region, recently welcomed the results of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s (UNCTAD) World Investment Report (WIR) 2016, in which Hong Kong continues to rank second in the world in global foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows.
According to the UNCTAD report, Hong Kong registered FDI inflows of US$175 billion in 2015, a year-on-year increase of 53.5% compared to US$114 billion in 2014. It places Hong Kong second only to the US (US$380 billion) and ahead of Mainland China (US$136 billion).
Globally, foreign direct investment also reached its highest level since 2008. The UNCTAD report added that global FDI recovery was strong in 2015 with FDI flows jumping by 38% to $1,762 billion, which could be attributable to a surge in cross-border mergers and acquisitions, especially in developed economies.
Among those companies that have setup shop in Hong Kong, two Israeli companies (J. Rotbart & Co. and Keshet International) are included in this year’s crop of newbies who have chosen to take advantage of the positioning of Hong Kong as the access point to Asia.
Rotbart & Co is operating in Hong Kong to provide bespoke bullion procurement and liquidation services to high-net-worth (HNW) clients around the world. The company offers global transportation and storage for bullion as well as bespoke solutions such as the assaying of metal, valuation and authentication of rare collectibles and coins.
2016 saw a renewed interest from investors in the gold market as the price has continued to increase since January – the commodity was among the best performing assets overall. With trust in traditional financial systems eroding fast, more HNW clients are now diversifying their portfolios to include tangible assets, such as gold, art and precious stones. Given Hong Kong’s reputation and strategic location, more European and American HNWs are looking to Hong Kong as one of the safest jurisdictions in the world to house their tangible assets.
Keshet International is Keshet Media Group’s global distribution and production arm. Headed by CEO Alon Shtruzman, it includes Keshet’s local production outposts in the UK, Asia and the US as well as its global distribution arm. Keshet International Asia Ltd was set up in Hong Kong in 2015 to handle all of its Asian activities. KI’s catalogue consists of over 70 tried and tested properties that appeal to audiences worldwide, spanning all genres. Highlights include the hit drama Prisoners of War, the original Israeli version of prime time Emmy winner Homeland; gripping espionage thriller False Flag; touching family drama The A Word; the high octane game show BOOM!; hit interactive talent show Rising Star and children’s talent show Master Class; reality dating format Girlfriends; and ‘buddy comedy’ Traffic Light, winner of an International Emmy Award.
This activity highlights Hong Kong’s role as a “super connector” and a conduit for doing business in Asia. Ranked the world’s most connected place by the GfK Connected Consumer Index based on usage of mobile devices and gadgets, Hong Kong is located within four hours’ flight time of all of Asia’s key markets and within five hours’ flight time of half the world’s population. Foreign companies use Hong Kong as a base to access opportunities in Mainland China and the region. Conversely, Mainland Chinese companies increasingly use Hong Kong as a platform to make global investment and acquisitions. Hong Kong further attracts companies from throughout the world with its political stability, the rule of law, free market principles, free flow of information and English as the language of business.
EDI represents the interests of Invest Hong Kong in Israel and stands ready to assist Israeli companies interested in exploring the benefits of locating there.
Sherwin Pomerantz is president of Atid-EDI Ltd., an economic development consulting firm with 26 years’ experience in assisting overseas companies and public entities in their export promotion and foreign direct investment attraction efforts.