Why Hong Kong firms and HNWI are considering Cyprus as their new base?

16 Jun 2020 By Artemios Michael Mallas

Cyprus , located between three continents – Africa, Europe, Asia – is a proud member of the Eurozone and home to around 1 million people. Since 2014, Cyprus has been experiencing a strong and rapid growth and is fast becoming an appealing destination.

With the recent turmoil in Hong Kong, many firms and HNWI are seeking refuge to a jurisdiction that provides safety, convenience and potential for growth.

With foreign investors increasingly choosing Cyprus – the economic climate, real estate prospects, investment funds, shipping, construction, tourism, filming and energy sectors – are sectors which have experienced consistent growth. The competitive, modern and transparent legal, financial and regulatory framework that Cyprus possesses allows the island to be a credible and highly reputable financial center for Hong Kong firms and HWNI to set up base.

As an ex-British colony, Cyprus shares similarities with Hong Kong, as both jurisdictions have retained the common law legal system which is based on the British legal system.

Why Choose Cyprus?

Enjoy the right quality of life

When considering where to redomicile or set up your business, it is always vital to consider the quality of life you aim to have for you, your family and your employees. Choosing Cyprus ensures you and your team work in a Mediterranean island that provides you with a very high standard of living that includes:

  • One of the EU’s best all-year climates and one of the best worldwide,
  • Over 65 Blue Flag status beaches for all tastes (highest % per capita) sports, entertainment etc,
  • High level public & private healthcare services,
  • Short distances – can travel from one side of the island to another in 2 ½ hours
  • Considered one of the world’s safest countries with one of the lowest crime rates in E.U.,
  • Reasonable cost of living with great choice fresh products always available – both local and international
  • Real Estate available to cater to all needs – city centre, skyscraper, beach, countryside etc
  • High Level of Education – many private schools and private institutions offering a high level of education in English

Accessing Talent

  • Benefit from the local impressive skilled workforce Cyprus has to offer, direct access to a great pool of talent from other EU countries
  • Benefit from programmes allowing international professionals to easily relocate
  • Work visas for non-EU nationals are available to enable companies to hire from non- EU countries whenever the required skill-set is not available locally
  • Almost half of workforce have a tertiary degree – one of highest in the EU,
  • Rapid growing education system – one of the highest enrolments in domestic universities with many UK universities partnering up with Cyprus universities,
  • High number of Cypriots educated abroad – more Cypriots earn degrees from foreign universities than any other EU country

Setting up with lower costs

  • Launching and running your business in Cyprus reduces your overall set-up costs compared to other EU countries resulting in more budget being allocated for growth and development of your business.
  • Lower labour costs than other E.U. countries
  • Lower office rentals costs than most E.U. countries
  • Low business support costs and high quality – services like I.T., accounting, legal etc.

Benefiting through tax incentives

Cyprus has one of the lowest tax burdens in Europe and a highly competitive set of tax incentives for businesses and individuals. It is great to note that people who decide to move their personal tax residency to Cyprus, will automatically be considered as non-domiciled in Cyprus for a maximum of 17 years.

  • different set of rules for ‘tax residents’ and ‘non-tax residents’
  • corporate tax is only 12,5 %, which is one of the lowest in the E.U.
  • very low tonnage tax for ship-owning and shipping companies,
  • 2,5 % on income from Intellectual Property
  • no corporate tax for ‘non tax resident’ companies
  • no Cyprus tax on disposal or trading of securities
  • no Cyprus tax on income from dividends on a company level, for a period of four years
  • no Cyprus withholding tax on dividends paid to shareholders outside of Cyprus
  • no Cyprus tax on dividend income for non-domiciled but tax-resident individuals
  • no Cyprus tax on interest income on account of non-residents with banks in Cyprus
  • no Cyprus tax for International Trusts
  • full tax group relief
  • offshore entities from other countries are allowed as shareholders
Non-Tax Residents
  • Non-tax resident Cyprus Companies are not liable for corporate tax in Cyprus, provided that each director/s do not reside in Cyprus, and the companies do not conduct any business with natural or legal persons residing in Cyprus, but,
  • Where a non-tax resident Cyprus Company conducts business in Cyprus, the profit from this business will be taxed in Cyprus.

Communicating, Commuting and Access

With English being a predominant language spoken between businesses, when setting up your business you can benefit from the island’s high percentage of English-speaking citizens. Cyprus is also centrally located between 3 continents (Asia, Europe, Africa) making it easy to commute back home or for business purposes:

  • 73% of Cypriots speak English – official language due to British Colonization
  • English widely accepted for business transactions, government services, contracts, banking and other day-to-day functions you’ll be undertaking
  • Daily flights in & out of Cyprus through Larnaca & Paphos international airports to multiple destinations making your global commuting easier
  • Full access to European Markets with free movement of goods, services, capital
  • Access to 40+ EU trade agreements with countries outside the E.U.
  • UK-Cyprus trade relations existed before the E.U. and will continue strongly after Brexit as Cyprus belongs to the Commonwealth and has sovereign British Bases on the island

Panayiotis Z. Toulouras LLC provides legal services to clients worldwide. Our law firm, with the assistance of our vast network of associates, provides strategic legal advice for:

  • the incorporation of a Cyprus company
  • setting up a branch in Cyprus
  • re-domiciliation of a Hong Kong company to Cyprus
  • opening of bank accounts
  • business visa applications and other visas
  • work permits
  • employment contracts
  • purchase/rental of property for commercial purposes
  • purchase/rental of property for residential purposes
  • applications for permanent & temporary residency
  • applications for naturalization
  • Cyprus international trust creation
  • I.P. registration