Senior officials from the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), one of the world's leading and fastest growing onshore business and financial centres, successfully concluded panel discussions, face-to-face consultations and networking events with professionals from Chinese corporations in Xiamen, Shanghai, Beijing and Tianjin.
This follows news that the Bank of China has chosen to join the QFC's onshore regulated platform. The move reaffirms QFC's position as the region's financial centre of choice for financial services institutions looking to expand their business to Qatar and to the Middle East.
The Bank of China is one of the five biggest state-owned commercial banks in China and the fourth-largest bank in the world. As China's most internationalised and diversified bank, it provides a range of financial services to customers across the Chinese mainland as well as 55 countries and regions.
As well as the Bank of China, the QFC hosts a number of other Chinese entities including the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC). Following the QFC's 2016 and 2017 Asian roadshows, the QFC has seen a sharp rise in interest from Chinese and Asian businesses looking join its onshore platform.
Situated in the One Belt, One Road region, Qatar and China continue to strengthen economic and bilateral trade ties, with a 45%[i] increase in trade volume between Qatar and China recorded in the first quarter of 2018, compared to the same period in 2017. In addition, Qatar is the only country in the region to boast a currency-swap agreement with the Chinese central bank and the first to host a Renminbi clearing and settlement centre.
The 2018 China roadshows came as part of the QFC's efforts to highlight the strong and healthy economic and bilateral trade relationship between China and Qatar, and to help Chinese companies looking to expand their business to the Middle East.
Speeches and discussions included representatives from the Qatar Free Zones Authority, Bank of China and Clyde & Co.
Yousuf Mohamed Al-Jaida, Chief Executive Officer, QFC Authority
"China is a key region for Qatar and our bilateral relations continue to strengthen. Our China roadshows come following the recent announcement that the State of Qatar and Republic of China have signed an agreement to enhance co-operation within the private sector to attract more partnerships between both countries. Our roadshows in China provided the ideal opportunity for investors and businesses to discuss these opportunities and learn how the QFC can support them in setting up in Qatar."
Al-Jaida added: "We are also very pleased to welcome the Bank of China to our platform and very proud that they have chosen the QFC to help expand their regional operations. The Bank of China joining the QFC comes at a time where we are seeing more and more interest from Asian businesses. This is due to the QFC operating in line with international best practice and standards offering word class regulation, a fair and transparent tax regime and an English common law framework. The value of our unbeatable framework is recognised by regulated financial services institutions worldwide."
Abdulla Almisnad, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZA), who also presented at the Roadshows added: "Qatar free Zones will provide China a central hub to extend its new investments targeted for the growing markets of the Middle East, Africa and Asia. QFZA eyes prominent Chinese industries who can add value to our national economy and can harness the latest disruptive technologies in logistics, pharmaceuticals, aviation and other international businesses, and setup in Qatar to build the next generation business models."
Yao Liu, General Manager, Corporate Finance Director, Bank of China Limited (QFC Branch) added: "As a growing market, Qatar's flourishing opportunities offer the Bank of China the right environment for investment in Qatar and to help expand our presence to the wider region. By operating from within the QFC, the Bank of China will benefit from its unparalleled business environment and platform and allow us to serve our MENA clients. We are delighted to join the QFC and look forward to closely working with them."
Richard Bell, Managing Partner, Clyde & Co (Shanghai office) stated: "Qatar is a country with a bold vision – to transform itself into an advanced society capable of achieving sustainable development. Having practiced in the Middle East for nine years before moving to China, I have seen at first hand Qatar realising that vision by investing in energy, infrastructure, education, health and cultural projects as well as staging global events such as the World Athletic Championships and Football World Cup. For anyone investing in Qatar, the QFC, with its business friendly laws, world class facilities and access to top tier professional services, is an excellent place to set up and reap the rewards of doing business in this prosperous and ambitious country. My colleagues in Clyde & Co's Doha office have assisted many international companies in setting up in the QFC."
The QFC is an onshore jurisdiction, allowing companies to operate in and from Qatar within the QFC legal and tax environment. The QFC endeavours to promote Qatar as an attractive business destination. Companies that wish to establish a business in the QFC are guided throughout by a dedicated QFC relationship manager who assists in the process of obtaining a licence and offers support in matters related to operating a business in Qatar. QFC firms enjoy competitive benefits, such as working within a legal environment based on English common law, the right to trade in any currency, up to 100% foreign ownership, 100% repatriation of profits, 10% corporate tax on locally sourced profits, and an extensive double tax treaty agreement network with 60+ countries.
In addition, the independent Employment Standards Office of the QFC embodies a unique Administrative Employment Dispute Resolution Centre accredited by the International Labour Organization (ILO), providing conciliation and adjudication services free of charge to help resolve workplace conflicts. The ESO is fully aligned with the Qatar National Vision 2030 and aspires to promote international best practices in the field of human capital.
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