HONG KONG -- The British Virgin Islands (BVI) has taken another significant step forward in its global positioning with the launch of an office in Hong Kong to represent the jurisdiction in mainland China and the Asia Pacific region.
Close to 100 Hong Kong professionals gathered at the British Consulate on September 5 for an evening reception to mark the official launch of “BVI House Asia”. The event, hosted by the British Consul General to Hong Kong and Macau Caroline Wilson, was attended by representatives from several governments, including Hong Kong, the United States, European Union, Switzerland and Ireland, together with leading financial services practitioners and other notable guests.
In her welcoming remarks about the relationship between the United Kingdom and the BVI, a British Overseas Territory, Wilson quoted British Prime Minister David Cameron, who said that the Overseas Territories (OTs) are an integral part of Britain’s life and history.
Wilson said that the UK government has a strong partnership with its OTs and was keen to support them in pursuing trade and investment opportunities to strengthen their economies. The BVI’s solidifying and seeking to grow its presence in the Asia Pacific market through Hong Kong was an example of initiatives supported by Britain.
BVI premier and minister of finance, investment and tourism, Dr Orlando Smith, in his response, said that establishing an office in Hong Kong would allow the BVI to deepen its footprint in the Asia region and to get a better understanding of the market where approximately 40 percent of its business comes from. He said it would also help in building closer relationships to enable the BVI to be more responsive to the needs of clients in that market.
BVI House Asia will also serve as a central hub to facilitate a smooth interface between the industry in Asia and the BVI, while at the same time raising the jurisdiction's profile by speaking for the BVI government; responding to enquiries of a social, political or economic nature from the region; and promoting investment into the jurisdiction.
The new office will also provide time sensitive access for certain information services to users of BVI business companies; and work towards deepening the relationship with Mainland China not only in financial areas but in educational and cultural areas as well.
In addition, through the BVI Financial Services Commission (BVI FSC), BVI House Asia will help strengthen ties with regional government authorities and serve as a point of contact for the regulated financial community.
The office is currently staffed with the interim director and a chief operating officer, Heather Tang, a native of Hong Kong. The BVI FSC will also be providing staff and other resources for BVI House Asia in the coming months. Tourism officials are also expected to join the team by fall 2014.