Webinar: Empower Your Company’s HR and Payroll Management With AI and Cloud Technologies

Traditionally, when HR and payroll management comes to mind, we think of recruitment involving face-to-face interactions, attendance records through card readers and sign-in sheets, leave, and claims request managed with hard copies and lots of paperwork, etc.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has enforced considerable changes upon numerous companies. For example, employees are now able to work remotely from home or even abroad. It is almost impossible to administer HR and payroll through traditional means. With technologies like AI and cloud, companies are able to streamline remote recruitment, attendance, leave applications, performance assessment, training, as well as other HR and payroll processes.

At this webinar to be organized by the German Chamber of Commerce, Hong Kong, speakers from Neufast and CW CPA will give you more insights on how these technologies can empower your company’s HR and payroll management.

Date: Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Time: 11:00 am – 12:00 noon

Cost: Free for GCC members / HK$150 per person for non-members

Remarks:

  • The access link for the webinar will be sent to participants 1 day before the event. This session will be conducted via GoToWebinar.

Register now: https://gicgcchk.glueup.com/event/37112/register/

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CW signs an MOU with the Universidad Tecnológica de San Juan del Rio (Mexico) for launching a virtual internship program

Our firm signed an important collaboration agreement with the Universidad Tecnológica de San Juan del Rio (UTSJR) to improve the skills and abilities of students through professional practice in various aspects such as business development and information and technology in an international company with a focus on the Latin American region. 

This new project aims to promote direct contact, educational and research cooperation between students and the company. Furthermore, both parties will endeavor to cooperate in various fields of interest: joint education activities and exchange of information and publications.

In total, eight Mexican students were selected for the virtual internship program.  These students are from engineering, IT, and business background, eager to carry out professional work in an international environment.

For further details, please contact our Latin Department Assistant Manager, Victor Herrera, at victor.mendoza@cwhkcpa.com.

Written by Victor Herrera, Latin Department, CW CPA

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Podcast

CW Latin Department Launching a Podcast in Spanish

To offer morinformative and practical content to its Spanish-speaking clients on issues related to establishing, maintaining, or strengthening commercial and investment operations in mainland China and Hong Kongwe are pleased to share with you the opening of a new communication channel – a business podcast in Spanish, operated by our Latin American Representative, David Barriga.  

In the first episode of our podcast, we invited our special guest, Verónica Medina, Representative of Invest Hong Kong in South America (except Brazil), to share her interest and efforts in attracting investors from Latin America to Hong Kong. The interview with Verónica serves as a prelude to our upcoming series of episodes on practical aspects to establish a company in Hong Kong, key considerations to open a corporate bank account, costs, and actions needed to maintain a  Hong Kong company.  

Currently, our Latin Department has established accounts on various social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Linkedin, providing instant communications with our Latin American and Spanish followers. The inclusion of a Spanish podcast channel is a major milestone for our Latin Department to becoming a top-of-mind service provider and connector of knowledge, network, and social impacts to our communities.   

To those Spanish-speaking executives, managers, and business owners who are doing business with China: If you would like to keep you updated on the best practices for dealing with China businesses, please access our new podcast channel both on Spotify or iVoox.  

Spotify: 

https://open.spotify.com/episode/64LtB35kt2jW3JKSGHw4Fu?si=nFkpqLZrRiy2TpfJh1tdkw  

iVoox: 

https://go.ivoox.com/rf/68457104 

Written by David Barriga, Latin Department, CW CPA

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CW at German Chamber Spring Reception 2021

From 21 to 22 April 2021, the German Chamber of Commerce Southwest China held its 2021 spring reception in Shenzhen and Guangzhou. More than 110 members and friends gathered and spent two pleasant evenings. CW German Desk Business Advisor , Therese Feng, had the honour to attend it on 22 April 2021 in Guangzhou, together with Phenix Zheng, Manager (FDI Legal Counsel) from our China Consultancy Team.

Written by Therese Feng, German Desk, CW CPA

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E-commerce

Webinar: How to Develop Business Models through E-commerce

On 25 February 2021, CW organized its first webinar dedicated to the importance of E-Commerce, with the support of two Allinial Global member firms – LawBiz of Mexico and Alfredo Lopez y Cia of Colombia.  

The online webinar with specialists and experts from Chile, Colombia, and Mexico attracted over 150 participants. Specialists from various regions presented their insights on why companies today should pursue the digitalization of their operations and incorporate B2C and B2B virtual processes to market their products and services. The renowned entities included Concanaco from Mexico, Invest Hong Kong, Bogotá Chamber of Commerce, Lawbiz, Alfredo López y Cia, and the Colombia China Chamber of Commerce. 

The webinar encapsulated E-commerce’s importance in the development and growth strategies for small and medium-sized companies in Latin America. The growth and impact these channels have had on economies such as China and other Asian countries are clear signs that are now more important than ever.  It is necessary to accelerate the process of adopting new technologies and especially the use of electronic channels.  

The webinar’s key takeaways included the need to link universities with SME’s innovation processes, the role of social networks as a mechanism to generate knowledge, the importance of human resources, and their update in the face of technological innovation. The adoption of online platforms is necessary for companies in various industries; even governments have adjusted tax and legal procedures electronically. 

In this sense, CW presented its new service portfolio provided by MHnCW as an integral solution to Latin America companies that seek to export or sell their products to the mainland Chinese and Hong Kong markets.  Please visit our website: www.mhncw.com

For more details of the webinar and access to the event’s full recording, click here: https://youtu.be/0SWt_veNZc0

 

For more information, 

David Barriga 

Representative CW/MHnCW for Latin America 

David.barriga@cwhkcpa.com 

Written by David Barriga, Latin Department, CW CPA

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E-Commerce

E-commerce in the European Union and its VAT changes in 2021

  • The European Union will implement new Value Added Tax (VAT) regulations on cross-border e-commerce businesses on 1 July 2021. Due to the increase in globalization, international trade and the need for worldwide tax controls, the new regulation aims to simplify and modernize the procedures.   

    How will this affect exporters from China? How can you regulate your sales in EU? 

In response to the increase in globalization, international trade, and the need for worldwide tax controls, on 1 July 2021, the European Union will enact the new regulatory package of Value Added Tax (VAT) on e-commerce.    

The package introduces the ‘Import One-Stop Shop’ electronic portal, which regulates the payments of e-commerce VAT in each member state. This change concerns the growth of e-commerce and digitalization, which have boosted international trade; Companies based in the European Union selling online can also export to mainland China and Hong Kong, and vice versa. 

 

KEY CHANGES IN VAT REGULATIONS  

  • Changes in VAT declaration   

The regulation includes an important change of the VAT collection method on e-commerce. Previously, VAT was paid in each European Union member state, depending on the seller’s location. To illustrate, if a seller in Germany sells products online to a Spanish client, VAT would be declared and taxed in origin, Germany.   

As of 1 July, 2021, tax will be declared in the state where the buyer is located and the purchase is made. Hence, in the previous example, the VAT declaration would be made in Spain. This regulation also affects sellers outside the European Union.  

  • Exemptions of the VAT   

The current system permits VAT exemptions on products imported to EU which are less than €22, while those products exporting from EU are still subject to VAT. This exemption makes imported products more competitive in terms of price compared to those of European origin.    

The regulations as of 1 July will eliminate the e-commerce VAT exemption for products with a value of less than €22, which implies that all imports to EU, even those of little value, will be charged VAT at the destination. This is one of the most supported initiatives since it can balance the playing field between imported products and local products.   

Meanwhile, imports of products with a value of less than €150 are still not subject to customs duties and do not require a full customs declaration. 

 

IMPLICATIONS FOR ONLINE SELLERS FROM MAINLAND CHINA OR HONG KONG  

The different online platforms and marketplaces are contemplated in this regulation as these platforms are, by far, the most used vehicles for the sale of online products from overseas, including China and other parts of Asia. On behalf of users and buyers, the platforms will act as guardians of compliance with the e-commerce VAT, which especially includes those outside the European Union member states and that import from non-member countries.  

Although the general concern for exporters whose sales cover the entire EU territory is how to make the declaration in multiple states, the ‘Import One Stop Shop’ records, and files all declarations across the EU. On the contrary, if the seller does not want to use the ‘Import One Stop Shop’, the alternative is to allow the final consumer to pay VAT when the product is delivered, and all responsibilities and declarations rest on the consumers.  

The foreign trade community is concerned about the increase in costs borne by the final consumers. As VAT is an indirect tax, it is transferable to final consumers. For example, a European consumer who initially purchases a product imported from China valued at €20 may have to pay €24.2 for the same product in Spain after the implementation on 1 July 2021.  

There is a worldwide trend for regulation of VAT on imports. To demonstrate, some cross-border trading platforms in China require companies that ship products to pay VAT in advance for all merchandise.   

How quickly will the final consumers adapt to the VAT regulations of electronic commerce in the European Union, especially in pandemic times? It is only a matter of time the end consumers adapt to these changes.   

Written by Luz Deneb Martínez, Latin Department, CW CPA

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Beautiful Brazil

The diplomatic relationship between Brazil and China began in the 19th century. This relationship became closer in the ’90s due to a more complementary commercial approach. Since 2009, China has been Brazil’s leading trading partner. The economic connections between the countries have brought them closer despite the great geographic distance.

Brazil is a crucial commodities supplier, whereas China provides mostly raw materials, supplies, and machinery to Brazil. China additionally plays a vital role in the Brazilian economy since it buys more than it sells. Since 2010, China is also responsible for heavy investments, especially in energy and infrastructure. In 2019, China invested USD 1.9 billion in Brazil, following the Chinese government commitment made at the 11th BRICS summit in Brasília to invest UDS100 billion.

From January to October 2020, 21.6% of all products imported to Brazil were from China. According to Mr. Yang Wanming, Chinese Ambassador to Brazil, more than 300 Chinese companies invested in Brazil, of which 25 ranked in the top 500 companies globally. The closer connections between the two countries are even more evident now with the joint efforts to elaborate a vaccine against COVID-19.

China considers Brazil as a strategic partner. This scenario presents an opportunity for Brazilian companies that want to expand their businesses to China, even more so after the country’s new Foreign Investment Law came into effect last year, which aimed to make foreign investments in China safer and easier.

Establishing a business in China can present a range of strategic benefits to Brazilian companies, especially to those that wish to partake in product import-export services or establish their operational focus on the Chinese market, from preparation to the distribution of their products services. Although not every company has the same needs, we list a few benefits of establishing a company in China:

  • Access to foreign investment protection as a China-based entity
  • Obtain Chinese-speaking skilled workforce
  • Closer contact with Chinese suppliers
  • Access to one of the biggest consumers markets in the world

Understanding the potential of these fruitful economic relations between Brazil and other Latin American countries, Mr. Thomas Wong, Partner of CW CPA, established a team entitled ‘Latin Department’ to serve Spanish and Portuguese-speaking clients. One of CW’s differentiating factors is that we offer experienced native-speaking advisors that attenuate the cultural differences, thus making the navigation through the complex Chinese market smoother.

To date, our Brazil Desk is a division under the Latin department, assisting various sizable Brazilian companies operating in China, with two Brazilian advisors, namely Kemelly Vera and Rafael Fraga. Our Brazil Desk focuses on international retailers, technology equipment manufacturers, and medium-sized traders that are sourcing components from mainland China. If you are looking to capitalize on China’s market opportunities, please contact our Brazil Desk:

Kemelly Vera | LinkedIn profile

kemelly.vera@cwhkcpa.com

Rafael Fraga | LinkedIn profile

rafael.fraga@cwhkcpa.com

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compliance

Your Simplified Annual Compliance Guide in Hong Kong

Are you considering setting up a company in Hong Kong? Perhaps you have a Hong Kong Company but find it confusing to keep up with the compliance. Has your accountant suddenly reached out to you with a new charge that you are not familiar with? This article is to clarify the basic responsibilities that your Hong Kong Limited Company shall take up every year.

 

Annual compliance in Hong Kong

Annual compliance refers to a set of responsibilities a company should assume once it has been established. You must observe these compliance requirements according to your company’s fiscal year-end and the anniversary date. In Hong Kong, every private company must comply with the obligations administered by these two government entities:

– Companies Registry

– Inland Revenue Department

 

COMPLIANCE WITH THE COMPANIES REGISTRY

The Companies Registry is the department in charge of registering local and non-local companies in Hong Kong. It maintains records of active and dissolved companies.

 

Annual Return

Every year, a company should deliver an Annual Return, which contains its particulars, such as the registered office, shareholders, directors, company secretary. If the company does not file the Annual Return after 42 days of the deadline, the company will have to pay penalties. Please see the Annual Return Form “NAR1(Private)_Specimen-e” for your reference.

Business Registration

Business Registration must be renewed upon its expiry date. Normally, if you have applied for a one-year Business Registration, we recommend preparing the renewal of the Business Registration before the anniversary of the company. Please see Business registration specimen for your reference.

Significant Controller Register (SCR)

To enhance the transparency of corporate beneficial ownership, a company

incorporated in Hong Kong must obtain and maintain up-to-date beneficial ownership information by keeping a Significant Controllers Register. The SCR register must be kept at its registered office address or a place in Hong Kong. In the latter case, the company must file a Form NR2 to the Companies Registry reporting the location of SCR. The Register should be open for inspection by law enforcement officers upon demand. Failing to do so will render the company and the responsible person of the company liable to fines.

 

COMPLIANCE WITH THE INLAND REVENUE DEPARTMENT

 

Bookkeeping

The company should prepare financial statements for each fiscal year. The periodicity of the reports will depend on the company and the need for the availability of financial information. The reports can be prepared on a monthly, quarterly, biannual, or annual basis.

Audit

Regardless of the size, companies in Hong Kong are required to audit their financial statements and present them together with a profit tax return to the Inland

Revenue Department. The audit should be performed on an annual basis.

Profits tax return (“PTR”)

Annual profits tax returns are normally issued to taxpayers on 1 April each year. Once a Profits Tax Return is issued, the company is required to lodge the completed PTR together with the profits tax computation and the duly signed audited accounts for the basis period. Please see “ebir51” regarding the format of the Profits Tax Return.

Employer’s return

Hong Kong Salaries Tax is charged on the assessable income earned by an employee or an office holder in a year of assessment that runs from 1 April to 31 March of the following year.

As an employer, the company has the following reporting obligations to the Inland Revenue Department (“IRD”) if it anticipates that the company hires an employee who is likely to be chargeable to Hong Kong Salaries Tax.

i. Commencement return – The company has to file Form IR56E within 3 months of employing the employee

ii. Annual return – The company has to file Form BIR56A and IR56B. The annual return BIR. 56A is normally issued in early April and the filing deadline of the form (together with completed IR56B, where applicable) is within 1 month from the date of issue.

iii. Cessation return – The Company has to file Form IR56F (Employee who is about to Cease to be Employed) or IR56G (Employee who is about to Depart from Hong Kong) one month before the date of termination of the Philippines employee’s employment. IR56G has to be filed in the situation when the employee leaves Hong Kong for good or a substantial period of time usually in excess of 1 month. From the date of filing IR56G and until such time the employee has made tax clearance and can produce to the company a “letter of release” issued by the IRD, the company should withhold all amounts due to be paid to the employee (including salaries, commission, bonus, reimbursement of rent/expense, gratuity, money or money’s worth included).

Please note that the company does not have a tax withholding obligation except in the situation mentioned in (iii) above when the employee is about to depart from Hong Kong.

Compliance

Our suggestions:

1. Understand the basic accounting and taxation system and practice in Hong

Kong.

2. Review in-depth the service proposal you receive from the external accounting and secretarial services provider.

3. Establish a good habit of keeping and organizing business records from day one.

4. Don’t delay the declarations and reporting. This might lead you to the loss of information and records internally and the delay in presenting information to third parties like the banks, and penalties from the authorities.

5. For companies with a large number of transactions, it is important to prepare financial reports on a more frequent basis.

6. Review your financial reports. Once you receive the financial reports from your accountants, go through the information and seek clarifications if you have doubt. A responsible service provider will be able to answer your questions swiftly.

7. Keep your company statutory and business records up to date.

8. Update your bank at least once a year on the company status. Make sure your bank account has sufficient funds for bank charge deduction.

If you have any questions regarding your company’s responsibilities or how to

prepare the information, please get in touch with us and request a free consultation.

 

Contact: Ms. Lily Xiang, Accounting Manager

Email: lily.xiang@cwhkcpa.com

Written by Luz Deneb Martínez,  Latin Department, CW CPA

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Brazil-China Chamber of Commerce

The Brazil-China Chamber of Commerce (CCCB) aims to strengthen commercial ties between Brazil and China while contributing to effective communication between companies and entrepreneurs both in China and Brazil. It is equipped with a specialized team of professionals in Brazil and China, ready to meet affiliates and customers’ diversified demands.  

CCCB advises its affiliates to overcome language and cultural barriers and recommend strategic solutions to facilitate business development and growth. They develop personalized services catering to the clients’ unique needs.   

It is fundamental to aid the effective communication between Brazilian businessesChinese companies, and entrepreneurs. CCCB’s portfolio offers services including but not limited to: 

  • Market expansion analysis;  
  • Prospecting for suppliers and buyers in Brazil and China;  
  • International business trips;  
  • Suitability research; 
  • International trade fairs;  
  • Business intermediation.  

In 2020, the Chamber strived to improve its products and services in response to the latest business transformation promoted by the global pandemic. It endeavors to ensure the quality of the services provided. Moreover, CCCB is proud to announce that it has achieved the expected growth of the year; with its cooperation with CW CPAs partner Mr. Thomas Wong (CCCB representative) to establish its presence in Hong Kong, the Chamber successfully launched its Shanghai office and business in the Greater Bay Area.  

It is foreseeable that 2021 will still be under the significaninfluence of COVID-19. CCCB targets to deepen its cooperation with CW CPA to promote more flourishing China-Brazil relations in light of the unprecedented challenges. 

This article is provided by the Brazil-China Chamber of Commerce. For more information, please contact Lara Cordeiro at lara.cordeiro@camarachinesa.com.

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Brazil coffee

The Growing Coffee Consumption in China Opens up Opportunities for Brazilian Coffee

Since 1820, coffee has been Brazil’s most exported product. In only 20 years, Brazil has developed into the world’s leading coffee producer, exporter, and consumer.[1] Coffee-producing regions spread across 14 Brazilian states, with Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo as the top production states.[2] The country cultivated over 60 million 60-kilogram bags of coffee beans in 2020, marking a sharp increase in production since the 2018 record of 50.90 million bags.[3]  Due to the excellent weather conditions, expansion of clonal seedlings, and improved crop management techniques, Brazil is forecasted to account for most of the world coffee production gain this year.

 

China’s Thriving Coffee Market

Known as one of the world’s fastest-growing countries, China’s relationship with coffee has been one of the lowest globally – an average of 5.4 cups per capita in 2019. Nevertheless, this phenomenon changed between 2008 and 2018, thanks to the growing influence of Chinese millennials. As the 1981 and 1996 generation make up most of China’s current population, their passport holding likely suggests their higher disposable income. With the modern penchant for travel, exposure to Western culture also changed the Chinese’s drinking habits from traditional tea to coffee. All these led to the impressive growth of China’s coffee consumption by 1032% in 2018. More notably, there is remarkable revenue growth of 15.6 billion yuan to 56.9 billion yuan between 2013 and 2018. It also projects and represents a 25% compound annual growth until 2023.

China’s coffee consumer market is a massive land of opportunity for Brazilian coffee. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the domestic consumption of coffee in China is forecast to be 3.35 million 60-kilogram bags, which is about 17-20 cups of single-shot coffee per person. There is still much room for growth.

Although China herself also produces and exports coffee beans from the Yunnan coffee plants, coffee bean import still occupies a significant proportion in its coffee market. Currently, Vietnam is China’s major coffee importer, accounting for 65,100 tonnes of coffee imports in 2019.[4] Simultaneously, Brazil’s coffee bean is exported to the country dramatically increased by approximately 110% in 4 years.[5]

 

E-Commerce as an Entry Model to the China Market

E-commerce breaks through the reach limitation experienced by physical stores and product origins. It acts as an exciting promotion and retailing channel to bring businesses and customers together. Apart from retailing through the brand’s mobile application, both local Chinese and international corporations have been using Tmall.com as a stepping stone into Greater China. Launched in April 2008 as a spin-off from Taobao, Tmall.com is Asia’s largest e-commerce platform for brands to sell directly and penetrate the prospering China market.

To stand out from competitors, new coffee brands now learn to adopt e-commerce platforms with the hope of bringing in more businesses. For instance, in China, the Luckin Coffee brand launched a mobile app to streamline its operations and analyze customer preferences for promotional use. The brand’s innovative use of technology enables the corporation better to determine store locations, pricing, and market forecasting. The app allows customers to complete a remote, overall order from many coffee, non-caffeinated drinks, and light food. Before making their order, customers could find a brief drink introduction, such as its primary ingredients. Users can also customize their drink to their liking on the app to avoid miscommunication with the barista.  Such a convenient and accurate way of making orders appeal to the new generation of coffee drinkers who applaud speed and convenience. Moreover, the app includes various mobile-exclusive discounts to connect further and retain current customers and attract new users. Thus, from Luckin’s case, we could see that the adoption of e-commerce platforms enables coffee brands to collect customers’ preferences to tailor their services and menus better and, eventually, boost retail sales.

SeeSaw Coffee, a Shanghai-based pioneer in specialty coffee, has successfully retailed its Yunnan and Latin American coffee beans online through Tmall.com. SeaSaw offers a wide range of coffee products like hanging ear drip black coffee filters and Italian-style freshly ground Yunnan coffee powder online to suit its customers’ needs across the country.  Unlike other online marketplaces like Amazon, Tmall ‘recognizes’ the existence of “Flagship Stores”, which SeeSaw’s Flagship Store is similar to its standalone website.

The increasing popularity of coffee in China reflects the undoubted potential of the coffee bean industry. The improved living standards and quality of life will further contribute and stimulate coffee culture and consumption. Adopting e-commerce as an entry model allows and encourages Brazilian coffee farmers to actively engage with worldwide customers and expand their businesses and profits.

[1] https://www.arcgis.com/apps/MapJournal/index.html?appid=8ff13b46d74e4a249f91627ba5a8b126

[2] https://www.arcgis.com/apps/MapJournal/index.html?appid=8ff13b46d74e4a249f91627ba5a8b126

[3] https://www.reuters.com/article/brazil-coffee-crops/update-1-brazil-sees-2020-coffee-crop-at-61-62-mln-bags-below-2018-record-idINL2N2GJ0EX

[4] https://daxueconsulting.com/coffee-bean-market-in-china/

[5] https://dialogochino.net/en/agriculture/34928-how-growing-coffee-consumption-in-china-impacts-brazil/

Written by Claudia Tam , Latin Department, CW CPA

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