18 September 2013

Government of the Virgin Islands opens Hong Kong Office

Press Release



The British Virgin Islands (BVI) has taken another significant step forward in its global positioning with the launch of an office in Hong Kong to represent the jurisdiction in mainland China and the Asia Pacific Region.

Close to 100 Hong Kong professionals gathered at the British Consulate on September 5 for an evening reception to mark the official launch of ‘BVI House Asia’. The event, hosted by the British Consul General to Hong Kong and Macau Ms. Caroline Wilson, was attended by representatives from several governments, including Hong Kong, the United States, European Union, Switzerland and Ireland, together with leading financial services practitioners and other notable guests.

In her welcoming remarks about the relationship between the United Kingdom (UK) and the BVI, a British Overseas Territory, Ms. Wilson quoted British Prime Minister David Cameron, who said that the Overseas Territories (OTs) are an integral part of Britain’s life and history.

Ms. Wilson said that the UK Government has a strong partnership with its OTs and was keen in supporting them in pursuing trade and investment opportunities to strengthen their economies. The BVI’s solidifying and seeking to grow its presence in the Asia Pacific market through Hong Kong was an example of initiatives supported by Britain.

Premier and Minister of Finance, Investment and Tourism, Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE, in his response, said that establishing an office in Hong Kong would allow the BVI to deepen its footprint in the Asia region and to get a better understanding of the market where approximately 40 percent of its business comes from. He said it would also help in building closer relationships to enable the BVI to be more responsive to the needs of clients in that market.

BVI House Asia will also serve as a central hub to facilitate a smooth interface between the industry in Asia and the BVI, while at the same time raising the jurisdiction's profile by speaking for the BVI Government; responding to enquiries of a social, political or economic nature from the region; and promoting investment into the jurisdiction.

The new office will also provide time sensitive access for certain information services to users of BVI Business Companies; and work towards deepening the relationship with Mainland China not only in financial areas but in educational and cultural areas as well.

In addition, through the BVI Financial Services Commission (BVI FSC), BVI House Asia will help strengthen ties with regional Government Authorities and serve as a point of contact for the financial regulated community.

During his remarks, Premier thanked Ms. Wilson for hosting the event on the BVI’s behalf and introduced the attendees to members of his delegation, which included Member for the House of Assembly Honourable Alvin Christopher, Deputy Chairman of the BVI FSC Mr. Colin O’Neal, Permanent Secretary in the Premier’s Office Mrs. Rosalie Adams and Chairman of the BVI Tourist Board Mr. Russell Harrigan.

The Premier also gave special thanks to the interim director of the office, Mrs. Lorna Smith, OBE, for all her work in getting the office established.

Reception attendees were treated to a taste of the BVI with the special BVI Painkiller, a popular drink made with the BVI’s own Pusser’s Rum.

The Premier also invited the guests to attend the open house today, September 6, at the offices located on the 51st floor at Central Plaza, a building that stands prominently in the middle of Hong Kong, and is also the location for the Hong Kong Convention Centre.

The office is currently staffed with the interim director and a chief operating officer, Ms. Heather Tang, a native of Hong Kong. The BVI FSC will also be providing staff and other resources for BVI House Asia in the coming months. Tourism officials are also expected to join the team by fall 2014.

The Government of the Virgin Islands continues to diversify and bolster the Territory’s financial services product offerings.