TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — With the national security law threatening Hong Kong’s status as a financial hub, Taiwan will need to address three major obstacles if it seeks to fill the same role as the Chinese city.
First, Taiwan’s financial sector does not enjoy as much freedom and internationalization as that of Hong Kong's and Singapore's, which have placed great emphasis on the development of the financial industry. A less open environment and tighter regulations on financial products and services will also prove hurdles in the government’s effort to attract professionals in the field from Hong Kong, said Wu Wei-tai (吳偉臺), head of the Financial Services Industry Group at PricewaterhouseCoopers Taiwan (PwC Taiwan).
Not only are there limited opportunities for Hong Kong’s financial talents but the wage gap and higher taxes are also key factors keeping them away, noted Wu Lin (吳麟), deputy CEO at KPMG Taiwan. The average salary at an international accountancy firm in Taiwan is but one-third of that in Hong Kong, CNA quoted a local accountant as saying.
While there are tax incentives in place for foreign employees regarded as having highly professional skills, high-caliber Hong Kong financial experts who plan to settle down in Taiwan may ultimately have to relinquish their right to preferential offers in exchange for citizenship, Wu added.
A UDN editorial reckoned that for Taiwan to replace Hong Kong as an Asian financial center, much work needs to be done to open up its market, strengthen regulations to earn the trust of foreign companies, provide a friendlier environment for investment, ensure an optimistic economic outlook, and bolster its potential as a springboard for making inroads into Chinese and Southeast Asian markets.