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InvestHK announces opening of ICBC Aviation Leasing in Hong Kong

Invest Hong Kong (InvestHK) has announced that one of its strategic clients, ICBC Financial Leasing Co Ltd (ICBC Leasing), officially opened its wholly owned subsidiary ICBC Aviation Leasing Company Limited (ICBC Aviation Leasing) today (28 March 2018), marking a significant milestone in Hong Kong’s bid to become the leading aviation finance hub in the region.

InvestHK announces opening of ICBC Aviation Leasing in Hong Kong

Chief Executive Mrs Carrie Lam (second left); the Deputy Director of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Ms Qiu Hong (first right); Chairman of ICBC Bank, Mr. Yi Huiman (second right) and CEO of ICBC Leasing, Mr Zhao Guicai (first left)

Chief Executive Mrs Carrie Lam (second left); the Deputy Director of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Ms Qiu Hong (first right); Chairman of ICBC Bank, Mr. Yi Huiman (second right) and CEO of ICBC Leasing, Mr Zhao Guicai (first left)

Acting Director-General of Investment Promotion, Mr Vincent Tang (left), presents a certificate to CEO of ICBC Leasing, Mr Zhao Guicai, at the opening ceremony.

The Chief Executive, Mrs Carrie Lam; Deputy Director of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Ms Qiu Hong; the Chairman of ICBC Bank, Mr Yi Huiman; and the CEO of ICBC Leasing, Mr Zhao Guicai officiated at the opening ceremony today.

The Acting Director-General of Investment Promotion, Mr Vincent Tang, said, “Helping global aircraft leasing companies to set up in Hong Kong is one of the prime tasks for InvestHK. In the case of ICBC Aviation Leasing, colleagues in our headquarters and Beijing office have been following the client’s needs closely. Today we are very glad to see that our work has paid off as the company is officially opening in Hong Kong.”

He said, “As the first bank-affiliated financial leasing company approved by the China Banking Regulatory Commission, ICBC Leasing is one of the biggest leasing companies on the Mainland in terms of asset value and market share, engaged in the aviation, maritime and equipment leasing businesses. On the front of aviation leasing, ICBC Leasing has a fleet that ranks among the top players in the world in terms of the number of aircraft and their value. We are very delighted to see ICBC Leasing set up a subsidiary to run its aircraft leasing business in Hong Kong.”

He added that the unique “one country, two systems” principle has enabled increasing connectivity between the financial markets of Hong Kong and the Mainland, making Hong Kong the bridgehead for Mainland markets and investors to connect with the world. At the same time, Hong Kong also offers a series of enduring business advantages including an ideal geographical location, a business-friendly environment, low tax and the free flow of capital and information. As the next two decades will be a golden time for the country’s aircraft leasing development, Hong Kong will be able to help the country develop its aircraft leasing industry with these advantages.

Mr Tang said that in order to create an environment more conducive to making aircraft leasing deals and high value-added aviation businesses, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government in July last year amended the Inland Revenue Ordinance to introduce a dedicated tax regime and provide profits tax concessions for qualifying companies engaged in qualifying aircraft leasing activities. ICBC Leasing sealed an aircraft leasing deal under the new tax regime at the end of last year. He said that the fact that the transaction was completed just months after the change of the tax law fully demonstrates the effectiveness of Hong Kong’s aircraft leasing platform.

Mr Yi said, “The aircraft leasing industry around the world is undergoing significant restructuring. One of the characteristics is the sustained momentum of the Asia-Pacific market and the growing cluster of Mainland China’s aircraft lessors. The HKSAR Government has the best timing now to achieve its goal in turning the city into an international aircraft leasing hub because Hong Kong has a series of advantages in terms of geographical location and its status as an international financial, maritime and trading hub, as well as being the international offshore Renminbi centre and a global asset management centre.”

He added that the establishment of ICBC Aviation Leasing in Hong Kong also realised the country’s policies in helping Hong Kong to lift its status as an international financial centre, supporting the Mainland’s high-end aviation manufacturing industry and promoting connectivity along the Belt and Road routes by leveraging Hong Kong’s financial centre strength.

To strengthen the development of aircraft leasing activities in Hong Kong, the Government amended the law to provide a dedicated tax regime for qualifying aircraft lessors and qualifying aircraft leasing managers operating in Hong Kong last year. In this dedicated tax regime, the profits tax rate is cut by half, namely from 16.5 per cent to 8.25 per cent, and only 20 per cent of the gross rentals derived from qualifying aircraft leasing activities will be chargeable for profits tax after deducting allowable expenses (excluding tax depreciation allowances on the aircraft concerned). The relevant Ordinance was enacted on July 7, 2017.

ICBC Aviation Leasing is tasked to integrate the Mainland and overseas aviation leasing business of ICBC Leasing and realise integrated and specialised operation. It will strive to grow into a world-class aircraft leasing company, as well as an important sales platform for Mainland-made aircraft, the preferred partner of Mainland airline companies in aircraft leasing, and a leading firm in global aviation finance. In December 2017, ICBC Aviation Leasing completed delivery of a new Boeing 787 aircraft to Korean Airlines, which was one of the first batch of aircraft leasing deals sealed under the new tax regime.

About ICBC Leasing

Founded in November 2007, ICBC Leasing is the first bank-affiliated financial leasing company approved by the Chinese Banking Regulatory Commission and is wholly owned by ICBC. Since its establishment, ICBC Leasing has been focusing on support for China’s aviation industry growth. As at the end of February 2018, ICBC Leasing had recorded aviation assets of over RMB100 billion, operated and managed more than 611 large commercial aircraft, and delivered 355 aircraft for operation. It ranks first in China and sixth in the world in terms of fleet value. For more information, please visit www.icbcleasing.com.

About InvestHK

InvestHK is the department of the HKSAR Government established in 2000 to attract foreign direct investment and support overseas and Mainland businesses to set up or expand in Hong Kong. It provides free advice and customised services for overseas and Mainland companies enrolled as its clients. For more information, please visit www.investhk.gov.hk.

For event photos, please visit www.flickr.com/photos/investhk/albums/72157667142101598.

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