How Hong Kong citizens can apply for visas and passports to live and work in the UK

  • Boris Johnson has announced that the UK will allow around 3 million Hong Kong residents to live and work in the UK
  • Under the scheme, Hong Kong citizens with British visa rights will be allowed to apply for a five year visa before becoming eligible for full British citizenship.
  • The move came after Beijing introduced a controversial security law in Hong Kong which has already seen hundreds of protesters arrested.
  • Here are the full details on how the visa application system for Hong Kong residents might look and what we know so far.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Boris Johnson has confirmed that the UK will allow around 3 million Hong Kong residents to apply for residency in the UK.

The move comes after China passed a controversial national security law in Hong Kong which critics say allow Beijing to clamp down on freedoms on the semi-autonomous island.

Speaking on Wednesday, the UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab, who called the national security law a "grave and deeply disturbing step," set out details of the UK's residency offer to millions of Hong Kong citizens.

Which Hong Kong residents will be able to apply for a British visa?

The new immigration offer will allow a group of Hong Kongers called British National (Overseas) Citizens (BNOs) to apply for UK residency. Dominic Raab said there are about 3 million eligible BNOs, 300,000 of whom already hold British passports.

Applicants will be able to apply for a five-year visa, which allows them to live, work and study in the UK.  At the end of those five years, those people will be able to apply in the UK for indefinite leave to remain in the UK, and one year after that they will be able to apply for British citizenship.

How much will a visa application cost?

Dominic Raab said on Wednesday that Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, would set out further details of the immigration scheme "in due course," so it remains unclear exactly what immigration route will be available to BNOs.

John Vassilou, a lawyer specialising in immigration and nationality at law firm McGill & Co, said on the Free Movement website that he believed the visa route would be similar to the UK Ancestry visa.

If the visa route for British Overseas Nationals in Hong Kong did mirror the UK Ancestry visa, it would cost £516 (4,990 Hong Kong dollars) and requires people to submit applications 3 months before they travel at the earliest.

Will Hong Kong residents have to pay the NHS surcharge?

While the UK Ancestry visa is significantly cheaper than many others, it also requires applicants to pay the health surcharge, an annual fee levied on many visa applications which permits people to access NHS services.

In all likelihood, Hong Kong residents will have to pay this charge, which currently applies to all visa applicants from outside the European Economic Area.

The health surcharge will cost £624 a year for adults from October 2020, which would amount to a total of £3120 over the initial five-year period for which eligible Hong Kong citizens able to apply for residency. Rates are discounted for children.

However, the annual health surcharge has risen steeply in recent years. It was £200 in 2018, before rising to the current £400 before it rises again later this year, meaning fees could have risen further if Hong Kong residents apply in future years.

At current rates, Vassilou said, a family of four applying to come to the UK could expect to pay — up front — £10,940 on the health surcharge, as well as £2,064 on visa fees.

How much would indefinite leave to remain cost?

Applying for indefinite leave to remain — which Hong Kong residents would be eligible to apply for after five years — costs a further £2,389 per person.

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Taiwan slams Hong Kong national security law, opens office to help city's residents

  • The Taiwan-Hong Kong office opened in Taipei on Wednesday, one day after China's national security law for Hong Kong was implemented.
  • The office will provide special consultation and assistance services for Hong Kong people in the areas of study, employment, investment, entrepreneurship, immigration, and residency, said Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council.

Taiwan has opened an office to help handle the applications of people from Hong Kong who want to resettle in the island.

It comes as China this week passed a new national security law in Hong Kong that's sparked concerns about the erosion of freedoms and rights in the special administrative region.

The Taiwan-Hong Kong Office for Exchanges and Services in Taipei was opened on Wednesday. It was the same day Hong Kong marked the 23rd anniversary of its transfer of sovereignty from Britain to China on July 1, 1997.

Late Tuesday night, China implemented the controversial Hong Kong national security law. The Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said it "strongly condemns" the legislation.

"The Hong Kong national security law reflects a complete negation of the commitment made by the Chinese Communist Party at the handover of Hong Kong that its way of life would 'remain unchanged for 50 years,'" Taiwan's foreign affairs ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

"The law will seriously undermine Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy, significantly restrict freedom of expression and judicial independence, decimate the rule of law, erode core values such as freedom, human rights and rule of law, and cause tremendous social upheaval, while also affecting peace, stability and prosperity in the region," it said.

'One country, two systems'

Hong Kong, a former British colony, is ruled under the "one country, two systems" principle which was to last for 50 years, or until 2047. It was part of the agreement signed by the U.K. and China when the territory was handed over in 1997.

Some world leaders, including U.K Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, as well as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have openly spoken out against the law. They argue it undermines the freedoms and autonomy promised to the Chinese territory when it was handed over.

Taiwan's president Tsai Ing-wen pledged assistance to Hong Kongers in May, after Beijing proposed the law.

In June, Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council introduced the Hong Kong Humanitarian Aid Project, which would be responsible for operating the Taiwan-Hong Kong office.

The office will provide special consultation and assistance to Hong Kong people in the areas of study, employment, investment, entrepreneurship, immigration, and residency, said the council. It will also assist multinational enterprises and international corporations relocating from Hong Kong to Taiwan.

"The Office will also pragmatically handle affairs related to humanitarian assistance and care for Hong Kong citizens based on national security considerations," it added.

Support from Taiwan

About 200 Hong Kongers have already fled to Taiwan since pro-democracy protests erupted in the Chinese special administrative territory last year, Reuters reported, citing rights groups.

Taiwan's Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr. Joseph Wu, said in a podcast with Australian think tank Lowy Institute that the island stands with Hong Kong on the side of democracy.

"For those people who come to Taiwan for political reasons, or who are afraid of political persecution back in China or in Hong Kong, we will try to provide assistance to them in a very low-key way," Wu said last month before the national security law was passed.

However, he added: "We don't want complications for their lives or for Taiwan's relations with China."

The point underscored the complexity of Taipei's own relationship with Beijing. China claims self-ruled Taiwan as part of its territory, but the Chinese Communist Party has never governed Taiwan.

Hong Kong is an international financial center and the implementation of China's national security law is viewed with caution by some businesses amid concerns over greater oversight of the city.

Before the law was passed, more than 80% of the U.S. companies in Hong Kong surveyed by the American Chamber of Commerce said they were concerned about China's plan to impose the new national security law in the city.

In May, some rich Chinese were already looking to park their assets in other wealth hubs such as Singapore, Switzerland and London, Reuters reported, citing bankers and industry sources.

A top government agency in Taiwan, the Mainland Affairs Council, said in its press release Taipei "hopes to attract Hong Kong capital and talent to strengthen and expand Taiwan's economic development." 

Taiwan may be next

Taiwan is broadly sympathetic to Hong Kong, as the island faces an increasingly aggressive China.

The relationship between China and Taiwan is complex.

The Nationalist Party or KMT — a major political party in Taiwan now — had governed China for decades before losing to the Chinese Communist Party in a civil war. In 1949, the KMT fled to Taiwan (now officially called the Republic of China) where it was the ruling party for more than 50 years.

The Chinese Communist Party, which currently governs China, has never governed Taiwan. It claims the self-ruled island is part of the mainland that must be reunited with China. 

A Pew Research Center survey published in May showed Taiwanese – particularly the younger ones – do not identify with mainland China.

Despite the political differences, people and businesses on the island maintain close economic and social ties with the mainland, and Beijing has been trying to win over Taiwan.

The Chinese government has also been trying to sell Hong Kong's "one country, two systems" framework to Taipei for years.

However, the Taiwanese are even more wary of Beijing after last year's protests in Hong Kong calling for greater democracy. That helped Tsai from the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party secure her second term during January's presidential election.  

Beijing views Tsai as a separatist and has cut off official communications with Taiwan since 2016, when she won the first time.

Recently, China has been conducting a number of military drills near Taiwan, "disturbing" the island, Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang said last week.

"If the Chinese government can take away Hong Kong, and to bring down Hong Kong's freedom and human rights, I think Taiwan is going to be the next," said Wu, Taiwan's minister of foreign affairs, said in Lowy Institute's podcast.

While Hong Kong was a former British colony that returned to Chinese rule, Taiwan is not under China's jurisdiction, according to Wu.

"And therefore, we are calling upon the international society to look at Taiwan as an outpost of democracy in fighting against the expansion of authoritarianism. We are a frontline state and we cannot allow Taiwan to be taken over by China," he said in the podcast.

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China Warns U.S., U.K. to Stop Criticism of New Hong Kong Law

China on Thursday warned of strong countermeasures if the U.S., Australia and the U.K. continued taking actions in response to Beijing’s tough national security law in Hong Kong, saying foreign pressure would “never succeed.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said China “deplores and firmly opposes” the U.S. House of Representatives’ unanimous passing of a bill on Wednesday that would level sanctions on banks that do business with Chinese officials involved in clamping down on Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters. Hundreds more were arrested Wednesday during demonstrations against the law, which came into effect on Tuesday.

“The U.S. attempt to obstruct this law is doomed to fail,” Zhao said at a regular briefing in Beijing. “We urge the U.S. side to grasp the situation, abide by the basic norms of international law and international relations, stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs and advancing or implementing this negative bill. Otherwise we will take strong countermeasures and they have to bear all the consequences.”

China’s move to impose the security law risks reshaping the financial hub’s character 23 years after Beijing took control of the former British colony. The law’s vague language generated confusion about what activities were allowed, adding uncertainty for some businesses that have operations in Hong Kong in part because of its independent British-inspired legal system.

For more on Hong Kong unrest:
  • China-Sanctions Bill on Hong Kong Law Passed by U.S. House
  • Hong Kong Faces Arrests, Confusion, Despair After China Shock
  • Xi’s Hong Kong Power Play Puts China Ever More at Odds With West
  • U.K. to Give Hong Kong Nationals Way Out After China Crackdown
  • What Are the New Laws China Has Passed for Hong Kong?: QuickTake

The U.K. has offered to upgrade the status of British National (Overseas) passport holders in Hong Kong to offer a path to citizenship. Some 350,000 residents hold BNO passports and another 2.5 million of the city’s 7.5 million people are eligible for them.

“China strongly condemns that and reserves the right to make further reactions,” Zhao said, adding that all BNO passport holders were Chinese citizens. “All the consequences shall be borne by the U.K. side.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Wednesday that the new law flouted the 1984 treaty between the U.K. and China, which laid out the “one country, two systems” principle that underpins Hong Kong’s autonomy. When the U.K. first made the proposal earlier this year, China accused it of meddling in internal affairs.

“Before Hong Kong’s return to China, the British side clearly promised that they would not grant residence permits to the BNO holders,” Zhao said. Now the U.K. “obstinately changed its policy and introduced a new route for residence permits and citizenship for regular people in grave violation of its own promise, international law and basic norms governing international relations.”

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Thursday that his cabinet was “very actively” considering offering citizens safe haven, but didn’t provide further details. Zhao urged Australia to “stop moving further down the wrong path.”

Chinese officials on Wednesday described the law as a “sword of Damocles” hanging over the heads of its most strident critics. Its provisions, sketched out in 35 pages, went beyond what was expected by democracy advocates and even pro-Beijing politicians, raising fears among Hong Kong’s residents over what impact it will have on free speech and political activities, including the ability to protest.

Despite the opposition, Zhao defended the legislation, calling it “a burglar proof door for Hong Kong.”

“We’re sure it will help getting Hong Kong back on the track where it is properly named the Pearl of the Orient,” he said. “We have every confidence in this.”

— With assistance by Colum Murphy, and Karen Leigh

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Tech Tycoons Flood Hong Kong With $20 Billion of Stock Listings

China’s tycoons are flooding Hong Kong’s exchange with a $20 billion worth of new listings.

While the city’s rich are preparing for a worst-case scenario amid a controversial national-security law, major mainland billionaires are coming in. The latest to do so: William Ding of NetEase Inc. and Inc.’s Richard Liu, whose companies completed secondary listings there last month. They follow Jack Ma, whose Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. stock issuance in November was the city’s largest since 2010.

Together, the three moguls’ firms have raised $20 billion from share sales in the former British colony, and that may be just the start of a new wave of listings by mainlanders.

“Chinese billionaires’ tech companies are helping the capital market in Hong Kong for a pivotal change and secure its Asia financial hub status,” said Edward Au, managing director of the southern region at Deloitte China. “The city’s stock exchange is also trying to make it a more appealing destination for new-economy companies.”

The national-security law that was approved on Tuesday is threatening to erode Hong Kong’s judicial independence from the mainland, a key part of the city’s appeal to international companies and investors. The U.S. has already started to make it harder to export sensitive American technology to Hong Kong.

While Chinese billionaires have myriad reasons for pursuing listings there — including a less welcoming political environment in the U.S. — their choice of the city over alternatives on the mainland may help ease concerns that the former British colony risks losing its status as a financial center.

Chinese tech tycoons with companies trading in the city now have a combined net worth of $182 billion, more than the 10 richest people in Hong Kong, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. For them, Hong Kong is becoming increasingly appealing as Chinese companies listed in the U.S. face growing scrutiny and potential delistings following an accounting scandal at Luckin Coffee Inc. and mounting tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

Read more:

China Inc. Leaving U.S. Market at Fastest Pace Since 2015

Hong Kong’s Rush to Attract China Listings Comes With a Risk

China Fund Beating 99% of Peers Owns One Hong Kong Stock

Mr. China’s Hong Kong Call Is No Idle Boost: Gopalan & Brooker

China Traders Are Buying Hong Kong Stocks Like Never Before and NetEase have raised a combined $7 billion with their secondary listings last month — almost two-thirds of the total for Hong Kong in the first half of the year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Deloitte expects that as many as six Chinese companies currently traded in the U.S. will choose the city for a second listing by year-end. Robin Li’s Baidu Inc. is among those weighing that option.

The city eased listing rules in 2018 to attract companies such as smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp. and Meituan Dianping, China’s largest on-demand food delivery service. The move could eventually reshape the composition of the benchmark Hang Seng Index, according to Deloitte’s Au. In May, the index manager announced new criteria to allow companies such as Alibaba to be included in the gauge.

“The influx of these companies will greatly increase the representation of new-economy companies in Hong Kong, adding vibrancy and diversity to the market,” said Louis Lau, partner at KPMG China’s capital markets advisory group. “The continued listing of mega-sized Chinese firms also reinforces Hong Kong’s position as Asia’s financial hub.”

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Hong Kong Faces Arrests, Confusion, Despair After China Shock

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Hong Kong woke up to a new reality on Wednesday, after China began enforcing a sweeping security law that could reshape the financial hub’s character 23 years after it took control of the former British colony.

The law’s tough provisions went beyond what many investors, democracy advocates and even pro-Beijing politicians feared, prompting warnings that it would cast a chilling effect over free speech and political activities related to Hong Kong. Leaders in Beijing and Hong Kong did nothing to allay those worries during briefings to explain the 35-page law unveiled as it came into effect late Tuesday, even as thousands hit the streets in defiance.

“The law is a ‘sword of Damocles’ hanging above extremely few criminals who are severely endangering national security,” Zhang Xiaoming, the deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, told reporters Wednesday in Beijing. “The law will deter foreign forces who try to interfere with Hong Kong affairs. The law is a turning point to put Hong Kong back on its track.”

The law’s vague language generated confusion about what activities were allowed, adding uncertainty for some businesses that flocked to Hong Kong in part because of its independent British-inspired legal system. While some investors said the measure would bring stability following sometimes-violent protests last year, others expected to see a flight of capital and talent. Markets were closed for a public holiday.

For more on Hong Kong unrest:
  • Xi’s Hong Kong Power Play Puts China Ever More at Odds With West
  • ‘Stay Out of Politics’: What Hong Kong’s Law Means for Business
  • U.K. to Give Hong Kong Nationals Way Out After China Crackdown
  • Taiwan Courts Hong Kong Bankers Spooked by China’s Security Law
  • Hong Kong’s Future Will Now Be Made in China: Fickling & Gopalan

The Trump administration vowed additional “strong actions” if Beijing didn’t reverse course, potentially inflicting more damage on a city facing its deepest recession on record with unemployment at a 15-year high. The U.K. accused Beijing of going back on its promise in a 1984 treaty to preserve Hong Kong’s “high degree of autonomy” and on Wednesday opened a path for 40% of the city’s residents to obtain citizenship.

“The feeling is that, all of a sudden, the ‘one country, two systems’ arrangement has disappeared and Hong Kong is truly just another part of China,” said Charles Mok, a member of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council who represents the information technology industry. “It’s ironic that passing this national security law may make the international community feel that Hong Kong is less secure.”

First Arrests

Police on Wednesday quickly boasted of their first seven arrests under the law — including a protester with a Hong Kong independence flag — out of 180 people taken into custody. They used tear gas, water cannons and pepper spray balls to quell protests that erupted downtown, where demonstrators carrying umbrellas and American flags clashed with officers.

Prominent activists, including former student leaders Joshua Wong, joined the protests even while cutting ties with political groups Tuesday in an apparent attempt to avoid implicating each other. Pro-democracy lawmakers have expressed concern the law will be used to bar them from seeking office in a legislative election in September.


We are on street to against national security law. We shall never surrender. Now is not the time to give up.9:52 AM · Jul 1, 2020


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“We don’t know if there will be any more opportunities for us to go on the streets for the same cause,” said a 31-year-old freelancer who gave his name as Law. “Maybe we won’t be able to protest ever again for the rest of our lives.”

The legislation passed by lawmakers in China and signed by President Xi Jinping allows for potential life sentences for crimes including subversion of state power and collusion with foreign forces. It extends to actions committed by anyone, whether or not they are Hong Kong residents, anywhere in the world and appears to cover even non-violent tactics employed by protesters in a wave of unrest that gripped the former British colony last year.

Police Make First Arrest Under Security Law: Hong Kong Update

For instance, Zhang said that those who travel overseas to seek sanctions against China could be prosecuted under the collusion provision. He also said people who spread “malicious rumors,” such as allegations that riot police killed passengers during a controversial sweep of train station in August, could be liable under provisions against “provoking hatred” against the government.

In a speech to mark the anniversary, Chief Executive Carrie Lam called it the “most important development” in relations between Hong Kong and China’s central government since the city’s handover. In a 70-minute press briefing, she and members of her team provided little clarity on what would be considered an offense under the law.

“I want to emphasize, the maximum penalty of principle offenders of the four crimes is life imprisonment, so don’t challenge the law,” said John Lee, Hong Kong’s security secretary. “Please do not try to test our bottom line.”

Highlights from Hong Kong’s national security law:
  • All four crimes carry maximum sentences of life.
  • Applies to actions after the law’s implementation.
  • Covers Hong Kong residents or companies and non-residents anywhere.
  • Terrorism charges include “serious disruption” of transportation networks.
  • Collusion provision includes advocates of foreign sanctions.
  • Subversion includes overthrowing Hong Kong government organs and attacking its offices.
  • Violators are barred from seeking or holding public office for an unspecified period.
  • Gives Beijing power to prosecute “complex” cases relating to foreign influence or other “serious circumstances.”
  • Allows closed trials in cases involving state secrets or other subjects “not fit for open trial.”
  • Allows justice minister to opt out of jury trials in some cases.
  • Grants immunity to Chinese agents performing duties in Hong Kong.
  • Calls for stronger “management” of news agencies and foreign NGOs.

President Donald Trump warned last month that if Beijing didn’t back down the U.S. would start rolling back Hong Kong’s preferential trade status, while the U.K. and Taiwan have offered new paths to residency for the city’s inhabitants.

“We made clear Mr. Speaker that if China continued down this path we would introduce a new route for those with British National Overseas status to enter the U.K., granting them limited leave to remain, with the ability to live and work in the U.K. and thereafter to apply for citizenship,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Parliament on Wednesday. “And that is precisely what we will do now.”

On Monday, the Trump administration made it harder to export sensitive American technology to Hong Kong, and lawmakers are considering easing the rules for residents to enter the U.S. as refugees.

“There is broad, bipartisan concern about the behavior of the government in Beijing,” U.S. Senator Pat Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican who is sponsoring legislation that could target banks that deal with officials responsible for eroding Hong Kong’s autonomy, told Bloomberg Television.

China didn’t publish the full draft law before its passage or allow a public debate, which is required under the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini-constitution. The process also bypassed Hong Kong’s elected Legislative Council, and Lam said earlier she hadn’t seen a draft of the law.

“Laws that would have fundamental differences to our way of life have been passed thousands of miles away by people we know nothing about, with contents of this legislation which we know nothing about,” pro-democracy lawmaker Dennis Kwok said at an evening briefing Tuesday. “That’s no way to treat a civilized, educated international city such as Hong Kong, but this is it. The way they’ve done it is the most ruthless, undignified assault on the freedom, human rights and the rule of law of Hong Kong.”

— With assistance by Natalie Lung, Iain Marlow, Shawna Kwan, Peter Martin, Sharon Chen, Jing Li, and Lucille Liu

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U.S. Hong Kong Sanctions Threaten $1.1 Trillion in China Funding

China’s largest banks have $1.1 trillion in dollar funding at stake and face potentially steep fines from U.S. legislation that targets penalizing lenders doing businesses with Chinese officials involved in Hong Kong’s controversial security law, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.

The bipartisan measure, which was passed by the U.S. Senate and still needs to go through the House and be signed by the U.S. President, bars financial institution from providing accounts to sanctioned officials, many of whom may be assumed to use the services of China’s biggest banks, Francis Chan, a senior analyst at BI in Hong Kong, said in a June 30 note. Banks in violation risk being cut off from accessing the U.S. financial system, he said.

Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., China Construction Bank Corp., Bank of China Ltd. and Agricultural Bank of China Ltd., the nation’s four largest state-backed lenders, had a combined 7.5 trillion yuan ($1.1 trillion) equivalent of U.S. dollar liabilities at the end of 2019, of which 47% were deposits, according to their annual reports. The rest came from the interbank borrowing and issuing securities to global investors.

The legislation would apply penalties against financial institutions only if a bank knowingly does business with an official under sanction. The bill is intended to keep the penalties from capturing a broad swath of U.S. companies, an administration official familiar with the discussions said earlier. Banks will be informed of what entities are on the sanctions list before penalties are imposed, the person said.

Global banks could also be at risk since Chinese officials, their relatives and associates may also be their customers, Chan said. Standard Chartered Plc paid more than $600 million in fines in 2019 for breaching sanctions against Burma, Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria. BNP Paribas SA was fined $8.9 billion by the U.S. in 2014, the largest ever on an individual bank, for transactions with Sudan and other blacklisted nations.

The Trump administration overnight escalated pressure on China over its crackdown on Hong Kong by making it harder to export sensitive technology to the city as Beijing is poised on Tuesday to pass the security law. The Commerce Department said it’s suspending regulations allowing special treatment to Hong Kong over things including export license exceptions.

— With assistance by Charlie Zhu, and Jun Luo

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World News

China to Impose Visa Ban on Americans Interfering in Hong Kong

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China will impose a visa ban on U.S. citizens who interfere with sweeping national security legislation planned for Hong Kong, a move that comes shortly after the Trump administration imposed them on some officials in Beijing.

“As a response to the U.S.’s wrongful decision to impose visa bans on Chinese officials, China decides to impose visa bans on Americans who behave badly in Hong Kong affairs,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters at a regular briefing in Beijing on Monday, without naming any specific targets.

“Who will be the targets? Relevant people would know clearly themselves,” Zhao added.

The U.S. State Department on Friday imposed visa bans on unspecified Chinese Communist Party officials accused of infringing the freedom of Hong Kong citizens, in what a senior official described as the opening salvo in a campaign to force Beijing to back off from new restrictions on the city.

The tit-for-tat bans come amid months of worsening tensions between the U.S. and China across fronts including their ongoing trade war and the handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

U.S. Puts Visa Bans on China Officials in Salvo on Hong Kong

The security legislation — which would bar subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces in Hong Kong — has fueled resurgent pro-democracy protests in the former British colony. It has raised fears about the city’s future autonomy from China and whether basic freedoms will remain protected.

Chinese lawmakers are meeting in Beijing to discuss the legislation, and Hong Kong’s Now TV News reported that a vote could come Tuesday morning — the day before the anniversary of the 1997 handover to China.

U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said Friday that he was halting travel to the U.S. by current and former officials from China’s ruling Communist Party who are believed to be “responsible for, or complicit in, undermining Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy.”

The bans are largely symbolic as officials from both countries are unlikely to visit the other, especially now that the coronavirus pandemic has shut down most international flights. The U.S. has imposed strict limits on travelers from China, and most foreigners are not allowed to enter China.

— With assistance by Karen Leigh, and Jing Li

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World News

Hong Kong Heads Into Busiest Week for IPOs in Months

Hong Kong is heading into the busiest week for initial public offerings in four months with six companies launching listings worth $1.7 billion combined on Monday.

That makes this the busiest week since the one beginning February 24, when 12 companies announced IPOs, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The pick-up in activity comes after the second listings in the city of Chinese tech giants Inc. and NetEase Inc. earlier this month raised about $7 billion and galvanized the IPO market back into action.

E-cigarette device maker Smoore International Holdings Ltd. started taking orders for an IPO that could raise as much as $919 million, making it the largest listing in the financial hub after JD and NetEase. Other companies book building this week include the property management arm of Zhenro Properties Group, the project management unit of Greentown China, poultry meat producer Shandong Fengxiang Co., Ocumension Therapeutics and Adtiger Corp Ltd.

Hong Kong has had a slow start to the year in terms of IPOs as the coronavirus-induced market slump earlier this year prompted many issuers to hold off their floats. But the successful listings of JD and NetEase opened up the market again and prospective issuers are no longer limited to mostly biotech companies, which had proved almost immune to the earlier market volatility.


Season 1, Episode 2, The Bar Is Now at Your Desk

The WeWork Story, Part 2Forward 15 secondsBack 15 seconds00:00:00

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The WeWork Story, Part 2:

WeWork sold office space, but also it sold something else: fun. Beer flowed freely, members partied at the office, and your work was your life. But getting these offices off the ground was utter chaos, especially for the burgeoning company’s young, inexperienced workers. In this episode, reporter Ellen Huet takes a look at WeWork’s early days, when the company was growing so fast that some buildings opened without doors or functioning bathrooms.

In a sign that the health-care fervor is not dying down, surgical instruments maker Kangji Medical Holdings Ltd. jumped 94% on its Monday debut, the best opening performance for a health-care IPO in Hong Kong this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

READ MORE: Tigermed Files for H.K. Listing as Health Care Shines


  • Shenzhen Hepalink Pharmaceutical Group
    • Hong Kong exchange
    • Size up to $585m
    • Books close June 30, trading July 8
    • Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley

    Redsun Services Group

    • Hong Kong exchange
    • Size up to $55.5m
    • Books close June 30, trading July 7
    • ABC International
    • Hong Kong exchange
    • Size up to $142m
    • Pricing July 3, listing July 10
    • CCB International, Guosen Securities
    • Hong Kong exchange
    • Size up to $919m
    • Pricing July 3, trading July 10
    • CLSA
    • Hong Kong exchange
    • Size up to $152m
    • Pricing July 3, trading July 10
    • CCB International, BNP Paribas
    • Hong Kong exchange
    • Pre-marketing from June 19
    • Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank
    • Hong Kong exchange
    • Size up to $185m
    • Pricing July 3, trading July 10
    • Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs

    Shandong Fengxiang

    • Hong Kong exchange
    • Size up to $234m
    • Pricing July 7, trading July 16
    • Hong Kong exchange
    • Size about $2b
    • Pre-marketing from June 24
    • CCBI, Haitong, ABC International, CLSA
    • Nasdaq
    • Size up to $209m
    • Pricing June 30
    • JPMorgan, Bank of America
    • Thailand stock exchange
    • Size $481m
    • Subscription period from June 23-June 25
    • Finansa
    • Korea stock exchange
    • Size $793m
    • Listing around July 2
    • NH Investment & Securities, Citi, Morgan Stanley

    More ECM situations we are following:

    • 21Vianet Group Inc., a data center operator backed by Blackstone Group Inc., is considering a second listing in Hong Kong, people familiar with the matter said, joining a growing number of U.S.-listed Chinese firms in looking to sell shares in the city
    • E-cigarette device maker Smoore International Holdings Ltd. offers 574.4m shares at HK$9.60-HK$12.40 apiece in its Hong Kong initial public offering, according to a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange
    • Poultry meat producer Shandong Fengxiang Co. offers 355 million H shares at HK$3.33-HK$5.10 apiece in its Hong Kong initial public offering, according to the terms for the deal obtained by Bloomberg News
    • Zhenro Services Group Ltd., the property management arm of developer Zhenro Properties Group Ltd., is offering 250 million shares at HK$3.60-HK$4.70 each, according to its prospectus.
    • Greentown Management Holdings, the project management arm of developer Greentown China, is offering 477.6m shares at HK$2.20-HK$3 apiece, according to the terms of the offering obtained by Bloomberg
    • Ocumension Therapeutics is offering 105.9m shares at HK$13.16-HK$14.66 each, according to terms of the deal obtained by Bloomberg
    • Luckin Coffee Inc.’s board will require Chairman Charles Zhengyao Lu to resign, adding to the fallout from an accounting scandal that has battered the onetime market darling.

    See also:

    • Asia ECM Weekly Agenda
    • IPO data
    • U.S. ECM Watch
    • EU ECM Watch
    • To receive the ECM Watch in your inbox daily, click the “subscribe” button at the top of this article.

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How China Is Tightening Its Grip on Hong Kong’s Economy

China is not only tightening its political grip on Hong Kong to rein in the restive city, it’s pushing harder to deepen its influence over the international finance hub’s business life.

From real estate to initial public offerings, debt issuance and telecommunications, mainland Chinese companies — many of which have government backing — are playing increasingly assertive roles in almost every corner of the city. It’s a shift that has been in progress since the handover in 1997.

While supporters of greater economic integration point to the growth-boosting impact of Chinese investment in Hong Kong, critics see it as yet another reflection of the city’s diminishing autonomy from the mainland. That concern has swelled in recent weeks after China said it would impose contentious national security legislation on Hong Kong, threatening the independence of a judicial system that has been a key draw for international companies and investors.

“Hong Kong is likely to develop into a Chinese offshore center,’’ said Alicia Garcia Herrero, chief Asia-Pacific economist at Natixis SA. “As a national offshore center, it may have some tax benefits, leeway in terms of issuing in dollar or attracting dollar investment. But it won’t be a global financial center, where most of the players are global players.’’ 

Take something as simple as offices. While the numbers of outposts for Japanese or U.S. companies has stayed broadly static over the past five years, the number of mainland Chinese companies with a foot on the ground has soared. Just in the past three months, CMB International Capital Corp., China Minsheng Banking Corp. and Orient Finance Holdings Ltd. have expanded their office space in the Central hub, according to people familiar with the matter.

As mainland Chinese companies are expanding, concern over the city’s future is growing among western companies. Over a quarter of companies questioned by the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong this month said they were considering moving elsewhere. Nearly 40% of respondents said they were considering relocating personally as China pushes forward with a contentious new national security law that is seen eroding Hong Kong’s legal framework.

It’s also the case that these new mainland China offices are having a growing impact. Among the industries that have ramped up their presence are China’s state-backed brokerage houses, asset management companies and banks.

They’re increasingly arranging and buying offshore debt deals for the nation’s firms — displacing international firms in the city from the lucrative deals.

Chinese firms made up 12 of the top 20 bookrunners for Chinese dollar bond deals so far last year, up from just three a decade earlier, Bloomberg-compiled data show. They were responsible for arranging 60% of the funds raised in these deals last year, overtaking their international peers for the first time in 2018, according to the data.

The buyers of the deals are also increasingly wealthy investors in China and the region as a whole. 

Asia’s Rich Brush Aside Risk to Buy Chinese Developer Debt

China’s offshore syndicated loan market is also become more and more dominated by the nation’s lenders, with Bank of China Ltd. catching second place last year after HSBC Holdings Plc.  The proportion of total loan volume for Chinese companies provided by China’s financial institutions jumped to 48.5% in 2019 from 28.5% four years earlier.

A similar picture can be spotted for initial public offerings. More money was raised in Hong Kong than in New York last year, though it was mainly from mainland Chinese firms, with the Asian unit of Anheuser-Busch InBev NV a notable outlier. 

And it’s been the Chinese banks that have expanded their market share in recent years, squeezing fees and putting pressure on their western rivals. Inc.’s mammoth share sale this month means that right now UBS Group AG will be the only western bank in the top 10. A far cry from just a few years ago where the West’s leading investment banks regularly topped the table.

Things are also changing in the demographic makeup of the city. Immigrants into Hong Kong from mainland China have outstripped their international counterparts and are a key reason for the city’s population growth. This year, of course, that has slowed by the virus outbreak.

While Hong Kong’s role as a Chinese fund-raising center is being strengthened, a status that’s likely to gain further momentum during the current standoff with the U.S., its share in the nation’s economic activity is far diminished. China has gradually been growing less reliant on Hong Kong as a source of growth as mainland cities such as Shenzhen have grown.

In 1997, Hong Kong generated 18% of China’s gross domestic product. Last year, it contributed under 3%.

When it comes world class shopping and dining few cities can compete. 

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