China

Hong Kong goes forward with Islamic finance

Mushtak Parker writes in Arab News on 23 February that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government is finalizing new tax laws which would facilitate the introduction of Islamic finance on a par with equivalent conventional products, and there is a strong possibility that the Hong Kong Airport Authority (HKAA) will issue the debut quasi-sovereign Sukuk from the island enclave during 2009.

However, Hong Kong is concerned about the effect on Islamic finance of the credit crunch and the global financial crisis, since no economy, including those in the Middle East and GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries, have gone untouched. Thus it seems unavoidable that Islamic finance will slow its pace of development in the near term, "alongside growing downside risks in the global financial scene."

Sukuk from Hong Kong?

Deal Journal reported on 10 April about potential ambitions of Hong Kong based corporations to issue Sukuk. Those companies cited include the Airport Authority Hong Kong, which is wholly government-owned. The Chinese newspaper Mingpao is cited that the other firms are rail operator MTR Corp. and Hong Kong Mortgage Corp.

MTR denied it is planning an Islamic bond issue.

Source: http://blogs.wsj.com/deals/2008/04/10/hong-kong-considers-islamic-bonds/

Hong Kong and Dubai sign Islamic finance pact

Rita Raagas De Ramos reported in Asian Investor on 7 April about the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Hong Kong’s Securities & Futures Commission the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) calling for mutual cooperation on capacity building and human capital development in Islamic finance, as well as the promotion and development of their respective Islamic capital market segments; both parties will examine the possibility of establishing a framework for the mutual recognition of their regulatory regimes on Islamic funds to facilitate cross-border marketing and distribution of such funds.

The MOU for cooperation on Islamic finance and capacity building was signed by Hong Kong SFC CEO Martin Wheatley and the DFSA CEO David Knott.

Source: http://www.asianinvestor.net/article.aspx?CIaNID=73222

CIMB to latch on Islamic banking expertise in China expansion

Joyce Goh reported in The Edge Daily, Malaysia about plans of Bumiputra-Commerce Holdings Bhd (BCHB), parent company of CIMB Group, will use its 20% stake in Bank of Yingkou (BOYC) of China as a springboard to expand its business there, particularly latching on its Islamic finance expertise to carve a niche for itself in one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. China has a larger Muslim community than China. BOYC is looking to expand to Shenyang — the city in Liaoning province earmarked to be an Islamic finance hub of China. Just three months ago, BOYC received the approval from the Chinese government to transform itself from a local commercial bank into a regional bank, thereby giving it the green light to expand its services in the Liaoning province.

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