European real estate investment is top priority for Hong Kong HNWIs, says new survey

Investing in real estate is the number one priority of Hong-Kong investors seeking to move capital to Europe, followed by establishing investment funds and financial services, a survey by Invest Cyprus has found.

In selecting a new base outside of Hong Kong, investors said the most important factor was the cost of living and doing business (30 per cent), followed by the ease of doing business (25 per cent). Other factors included the taxation environment, human talent and socio-economic stability (10 per cent).

The survey of more than 150 private client lawyers, bankers, asset managers and other professionals who work with private clients and HNWIs was conducted during an online conference “Cyprus: An EU centre for global wealth management solutions”, with the findings boosting Cyprus’ credibility as a business hub for companies intending to invest in Europe and the Middle East.

Strategically positioned at the crossroads of Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and a member of the European Union, Cyprus meets the key demands of investors and businesses and offers a “cost-efficient package”, says George Campanellas, Chief Executive of Invest Cyprus, the national investment promotion agency of Cyprus, The island has one of the lowest set up and operating costs in the EU, and one of the lowest corporate tax rates in Europe.

“An important development is the recent political developments in Hong Kong, which have undoubtedly negatively affected the business and investment climate, says Campanellas, “Cyprus is clearly interested in cooperating with international fund management companies, and with companies of Asian interests, offering them solutions and access to European and international markets.

“The findings of the survey are an encouraging sign that Cyprus is able to generate significant foreign investment and that the economy will continue to thrive. Invest Cyprus acts as a one-stop shop supporting potential investors in developing their business case for investing into the country.”

Speaker Shadi Karam, Chairman of the Board of Directors at of Astrobank, told the conference that Cyprus was asserting itself as a major player in the banking sector. “Exploiting our reserves will allow us to make a quantum leap forward. We have to look around and amid the turbulence around us, it is imperative that we remain a safe platform that favours success and wealth creation, social justice and freedom of expression. All that will allow us to build sustainable prosperity,” he said.

Fiscal predictability is essential to investors, he added, while they also want to see the seeds of sustainable growth. “You want compatibility, where you find the most favourable environment and business returns. In the region, Cyprus scores very highly and comes ahead on all counts,” he says.
Current large investors in Cyprus include Melco Resorts & Entertainment, one of the world’s largest global gaming and entertainment groups, currently developing in Cyprus the City of Dreams Mediterranean,  Europe’s largest integrated casino resort.
 
During the conference, Invest Cyprus unveiled a raft of new opportunities for investment into the local real estate sector, including projects in hospitality and thematic tourism, higher education, healthcare, filming and technology, while speakers highlighted the rapid growth of the investment funds sector which has attracted new interest from across Asia.
While two thirds (63.6 per cent) of conference participants in the online survey said they were most interested in real estate, 36 per cent said that investment funds and financial services were among their main areas of interest for new business and investment activities. Other key areas were the tourism and hospitality sector (27.3 per cent), and education and ICT and innovation (9.1 per cent each) Many participants (38.5 per cent) agreed they would need support around immigration and employment when relocating to Cyprus and said they wanted to meet local business partners.

PwC Cyprus, Astrobank, Fiduserve Group, Tassos Papadopoulos & Associates, Scordis, Papapetrou & Co and Kinanis LLC, who were represented at the event, were ready to support cross-border planning for private clients and HNWIs in Hong Kong, the conference heard.