Hong Kong consists of a large number of islands and a part of the Chinese mainland. Due to its location in the South China Sea and excellent harbour, Hong Kong has become immensely popular as an international trade, industrial and financial centre. Its low tax rate, strong infrastructure and minimal government regulation have enabled Hong Kong to position itself as the gateway financial centre of the Pacific and Far East.
The BVI is located in the Caribbean territory of the United Kingdom. Since the adoption of the International Business Companies Act in 1984, BVI is the world’s preeminent offshore jurisdiction and has become one of the most commonly used corporate centres with over 600,000 International Business Companies incorporated under it. BVI has maintained its leadership position in the international offshore incorporation market due to its political stability, legislation’s flexibility, commitment to privacy and a well-developed professional and commercial infrastructure.
Belize is an independent country located on the Caribbean Sea in central America. Following its independence in 1981, Belize has enjoyed a history of peace and stability. Unlike other offshore jurisdictions, Belize relies heavily on tourism, marine products and agricultural produce. These industries contribute significantly to Belize’s foreign exchange earnings. In recent years, there is greater accessibility to the world markets, leading to a rapid expansion of both the tourism and international financial industries.
Seychelles comprises a group of islands in the Indian Ocean, to the north of Madagascar. It is well known for its excellent tax-free jurisdiction and offers good asset protection. With easy access to international banks and sophisticated banking facilities, opening bank accounts and handling bank related matters are less of a hassle. Seychelles also offers maximum confidentiality and is suitable for high-profile trading. With these features, Seychelles is fast becoming one of the most attractive offshore financial centres.
International Business Company in Antigua and Barbuda - politically stable jurisdiction for offshore companies and international banking. Antigua and Barbuda IBC is tax exempted company with high level of confidentiality and no tax treaties with EU countries. A common use of Antigua and Barbuda IBC is holding of shares, personal investments, international import and export, shipping and professional services.
Incorporations of offshore companies in Antigua are governed by the International Business Corporations Act, passed in 1982, with recent amendments.
Legal forms of companies are regulated in particular by the Czech Commercial Code. Under Czech law it is possible to set up six different forms of business companies, i.e. a general partnership, limited partnership, limited liability company, joint-stock company, European Company, and European Economic Interest Grouping. Establishment of the companies in Czech Republic is governed by the Civil Code (Act No. 89/2012) and the Act on Business Corporations (Act No. 90/2012). A limited liability company (s.r.o.) is the most popular legal form of corporation in the Czech Republic.
Cyprus is strategically located at the intersection of the routes between Western Europe, Russia and the Middle East. It is the third largest Mediterranean island and one of the most popular tourist destinations. As a full member of the European Union (EU), Cyprus enjoys one of the lowest EU tax rate of 12.5%. Due to its highly developed infrastructure, open market economy and support of various government incentive schemes, Cyprus is a popular choice amongst foreign investors. Cyprus is also ranked as the world's 24th freest economy of freedom enjoyed in business, trade, financial, investment and labour markets.
The Offshore Companies Act 1990 (OCA) provides for the establishment of offshore companies and the registration of foreign offshore companies in Labuan. In addition, a foreign company incorporated under the laws of another country may also apply to be registered as being continued in Labuan. Every offshore company may be a company limited by shares or by guarantee. The abovementioned companies may participate in the offshore activities and enjoy the attractive tax treatment provided under the Labuan Offshore Business Activity Tax Act 1990. Amendments to modernize the OCA are being planned in 2006. Carry on business in the Malaysian currency except for defraying its administrative and statutory expenses; carry on business of shipping or petroleum operations in Malaysia or carry on business as a trust company. The Offshore Companies Act was amended recently to allow Malaysians to own offshore companies, as well as to permit foreign-owned offshore companies to invest in Malaysia subject to certain conditions.
Compared to other EU countries, the Netherlands has a flexible and liberal legal framework for the organization of enterprises by non-resident companies or individuals. There are no special restrictions on foreign-owned companies that wish to start a business in the Netherlands. A private limited liability company - 'Besloten Vennootschap' (BV) - and a public limited liability company - 'Naamloze Vennootschap' (NV) - are examples of limited liability companies with legal personality.
The Netherlands Limited Liability Company Besloten Vennootschap (BV) is advantageously used by holding and financial companies for tax exemption purposes and structuring international financial transactions.