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thirtyniner

Mentor Group Gold
Dear All,

I'm a EU citizen and I have incorporated a company in Hong Kong 6 years ago. It is a legit business related with textiles (import & export to and from Europe/Midlle-East and Far-East), and more recently, also on Personal Protective Equipment. I hold both corporate and personal accounts.

The company has reached a time where it needs to expand to at least 1 more jurisdiction, so the eggs can be properly distributed. I have been reading a lot (whatever is available other then with the thousands Agent Companies online), and have compared Belize, Costa Rica, BVI, Panama, Bahamas and Cayman. I left asside the Eastern, European and African offshore jurisdictions, so my preference would go to Central America or Caribbean options (Can be the ones I mentioned or others). I would like to have your opinion based on the following requirements:

- Besides the current businesses, I would like to create an online business (selling consumer goods), mainly to American and European countries (The warehouse would be in Europe, and in the future, in the US);
- A possibility is also an affiliates business;
- I would like to invest in real state. Initially buy a house or a condo, where I can spend 3/4 weeks a year and rent in during the remaining period (This is the reason why I haven't previously sellected Nevis or Dominica);
- Obtain a passport from that jurisdiction (linked to the previous item off course);
- Company yearly maintenance costs should be bellow 2k;
- Capital requirement bellow 50k;
- Coporate tax, dividends tax: 0%
- Return for low risk investment around 4%/year (I used to have this in HK);
- Company opening can be made online or presencially, although it would be good the first one as travelling is limited now due to COVID-19;
- Reliable jurisdiction and stable government (this is what we all want, right?)

Besides what I have mentioned above, one of the reasons to look for an alternative is the escalation of China dominance over HK.

I can also consider to open a subsidiary company other then a total independent one. What do you suggest? What would be the pros and cons?

Considering bearer shares are no longer available in the majority of the jurisdictions, what would be the alternative other then the nominee director and shareholder?

Thank you so much.
 
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thirtyniner

Mentor Group Gold
So to have goods in Europe you need an EU VAT number. I think the most convenient is Estonia with the eID and cheap to maintain.
Thank you, but please ignore the warehouse thing, as I have that sorted in another way. Please look into the requirements for real-state, tax, online business and reliability.

Thank you!
 

GiGoGo

I make things happen
Silver Member

thirtyniner

Mentor Group Gold
I understand your concerns, but how does affects your business?
I don't know it, but after being in China more then 30 times, I could expect some rules to be broken from the Chinese side. Not properly from disclosure theme, but rather on assets or devaluation itself.
 

GiGoGo

I make things happen
Silver Member
Rules have been broken, yes. But China is one of the few economies in the world this year that is not going to enter in recession
 

thirtyniner

Mentor Group Gold
Rules have been broken, yes. But China is one of the few economies in the world this year that is not going to enter in recession
The point is no about Chinese Economy. That is lively and well, as it will be 10/20/30 years from now. The point is that Chinese is not properly an example respecting rights, and I can guess difficult times for foreigners living in HK if and when China turns it into "1 system, 1 country".
 

Sols

Mentor Group Gold
You can pretty much forget citizenship when it comes to BVI, Cayman Islands, and other British territories. I'll leave it to Wikipedia and other online resources to explain why but let's just say it's very complicated, difficult, and not all that attractive.

If I'm not mistaken, Bahamas doesn't permit dual citizenship so you'd have to relinquish your original if you were to obtain Bahamian.

Belize is not a very nice place to live and its reputation has tanked completely in the last few years.

Of the ones mentioned, Panama and Costa Rica are probably the best choices. They tick most but not all of your boxes. If you're not used to how things work in Latin America, you will be nostalgic for the bureaucratic efficiency of banks and government in Hong Kong, but those two are still probably your best bet.

The hardest part about Panama is going to be opening a bank account. Expect that process to take months, regardless of whether you do it in Panama or abroad. I'd recommend both so have redundancy. This part is a bit easier in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica is less established than Panama and it's harder to find information in English. It tends to be cheaper, though.

AFAIK, the paths to citizenship in Panama and Costa Rica are quite simple and, especially in Panama, they don't check too closely how much time you spend in the country as long as you contribute meaningfully to the country in some way (having a local business with local employees).

Paraguay is popular and might be worth looking into but I never found it attractive. You might also want to take a look at Uruguay.
 

thirtyniner

Mentor Group Gold
You can pretty much forget citizenship when it comes to BVI, Cayman Islands, and other British territories. I'll leave it to Wikipedia and other online resources to explain why but let's just say it's very complicated, difficult, and not all that attractive.

If I'm not mistaken, Bahamas doesn't permit dual citizenship so you'd have to relinquish your original if you were to obtain Bahamian.

Belize is not a very nice place to live and its reputation has tanked completely in the last few years.

Of the ones mentioned, Panama and Costa Rica are probably the best choices. They tick most but not all of your boxes. If you're not used to how things work in Latin America, you will be nostalgic for the bureaucratic efficiency of banks and government in Hong Kong, but those two are still probably your best bet.

The hardest part about Panama is going to be opening a bank account. Expect that process to take months, regardless of whether you do it in Panama or abroad. I'd recommend both so have redundancy. This part is a bit easier in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica is less established than Panama and it's harder to find information in English. It tends to be cheaper, though.

AFAIK, the paths to citizenship in Panama and Costa Rica are quite simple and, especially in Panama, they don't check too closely how much time you spend in the country as long as you contribute meaningfully to the country in some way (having a local business with local employees).

Paraguay is popular and might be worth looking into but I never found it attractive. You might also want to take a look at Uruguay.
Thank you so much! This was the kind of feedback I was looking for.

By parts:

Costa Rica
- Let's say I'm very familiar with Spanish language, so it is quite easy for me to engage in a conversation in the language;
- Would this be an atractive market for Real State?
- I believe the cost of leaving is way lower then in Panama, or am I wrong?
- I have mentioned the above countries, but can consider others in Central America and Caribean;
- This seems to be a nice option considering the climate, as well as the fact that it is one of the safest countries in Central America.

Panama
- I have never been there, but from what I have read, it is the Hong Kong of Latin America, though less organized (Latin Style);
- I always also had the idea it is quite expensive. Would it be reliable to hire an office person overthere? What about the costing?
- Would this be an atractive market for Real State?

Uruguay and Paraguay
- I like both locations, specially Uruguay (it is like Argentina but without socialists/comunists);
- The only con I see is the weather and sea temperature, reason why I would prefer a Central America or Caribean Country;
- Either way, I'll also study both locations.
 

Sols

Mentor Group Gold
Can't really comment on the real estate part. A lot goes into that equation. I know foreigners who are buying there, usually a bit outside the cities. Like any modern city, the costs are high in central Panama City and San José.

As for costs and costs of living, Costa Rica is generally cheaper than Panama. However, if you look outside the main city centers the cost difference is less significant.

Salaries are lower in Costa Rica even for workers in city centers than comparable workers in Panama. Talent pool is comparable between the two, slightly broader in Panama. Depends on what industry you're in and what type of labour you need.

If you trade internationally, one upside of Panama is that they use USD as their official currency (alongside PAB which is pegged 1:1 with USD). If you live in Costa Rica, you need to consider the cost of converting foreign currencies to CRC for some day to day costs.

When it comes to hiring people, I haven't heard of any problems with reliability in either and as far as I know, labour protection laws are reasonable. Although workers tend to expect higher pay when employed by a foreign/international company.
 

thirtyniner

Mentor Group Gold
Thanks for your feedback! Do you recommend any special lecture on Panama and Costa Rica? The one available for free by googling is quite mainstream and basic. I would like to have more insight information.
 

JustAnotherNomad

Entrepreneur
I haven’t been to either country, but I believe especially downtown San Jose isn’t safe. They rob you at gun point at a red light and it’s not safe to walk around after dark.
 

thirtyniner

Mentor Group Gold
I haven’t been to either country, but I believe especially downtown San Jose isn’t safe. They rob you at gun point at a red light and it’s not safe to walk around after dark.
I would never imagine Costa Rica to be like that. It is ranked as one of the safest countries in Central/South America (ok, I know the standard is not high )
 

JustAnotherNomad

Entrepreneur
I certainly don’t think all of Costa Rica is like that. But downtown San Jose, yes, according to a friend of mine who spends a lot of time there.
 

Sols

Mentor Group Gold
Thanks for your feedback! Do you recommend any special lecture on Panama and Costa Rica? The one available for free by googling is quite mainstream and basic. I would like to have more insight information.
Can't think of any. Speak with people who live or have been there. Go there in person, once travel is easier again.

I haven’t been to either country, but I believe especially downtown San Jose isn’t safe. They rob you at gun point at a red light and it’s not safe to walk around after dark.
This is correct. Costa Rica may be the safest country in the region but unfortunately that's not a difficult rating to obtain. There are areas of San José you would be wise to avoid even in daytime. This is something you learn to live with, but the culture shock can be too much for some people. Try to blend in as a local or at least as an experienced expats. People showing off wealth and obvious tourists wandering near the sketchy bus terminals and warehouse areas are the main targets of scams and robberies.
 

thirtyniner

Mentor Group Gold
I would like to have other opinions, and eventually, suggestion of other jurisdictions.

I'm rephrasing the requirement list to make it easier and have better feedback from Forum experts:

"Dear All,

I'm a EU citizen and I have incorporated a company in Hong Kong 6 years ago. It is a legit business related with textiles (import & export to and from Europe/Midlle-East and Far-East), and more recently, also on Personal Protective Equipment. I hold both corporate and personal accounts.

The company has reached a time where it needs to expand to at least 1 more jurisdiction, so the eggs can be properly distributed. I can consider any jurisdiction to cover as most possibilities as poissible. My aim is privacy and tax avoidance.

I would like to raise a new company from the ground, with a different business area: Affiliate marketing, business intermediation and eventually crypto investment.

In terms of banking, I can consider both standard and digital onces, as long as my assets are safe.

The jurisdiction shall have 0% tax and capital requirement bellow 20k USD

The jurisdiction must allow to purchase passport with local investment (local companies, real state, etc). My resident country allows up to 7 passports.

Company opening can be made online or presencially, although it would be good the first one as travelling is limited now due to COVID-19;

Reliable jurisdiction and stable government (this is what we all want, right?)

Thank you so much."
 
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