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Hong Kong Introduces New Capital Investment Entrant Scheme

On 1 March 2024, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government (“SAR Government”) launched the New Capital Investment Entrant Scheme (“New CIES”). The new scheme aims to draw in high-net-worth investors in a bid to enhance Hong Kong’s investment channels and solidify the city’s position as a global financial centre. It offers an investment pathway enabling foreign and Chinese nationals to reside in Hong Kong by investing in certain types of investment assets.

Invest Hong Kong takes charge of assessing applications on the basis of the scheme’s financial criteria. The Immigration Department, on the other hand, handles the assessment of applications for visas, entry permits, and extensions of stay as well as other immigration-related matters.

To help you leverage the New CIES, this article provides an overview of the eligibility criteria, the range of investment assets that fall within scope, and details regarding the application procedure.


The New CIES was initially unveiled in the Hong Kong 2023-2024 Budget. It was fleshed out in the Policy Statement on Cultivating Family Office Enterprises in Hong Kong issued in March 2023. The new scheme forms one of the eight outlined policy measures.

Full details of the scheme were announced back in December 2023. Since then, numerous briefing sessions have been held for financial intermediaries and family office service providers. The new investment channel has captured the attention of affluent individuals from all over the world. Prospective investors include those hailing from the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and beyond. The early implementation of the New CIES underscores the SAR Government’s dedication to supporting the growth of asset and wealth management, financial services, and associated professional services in Hong Kong.

Since the scheme’s inception in March 2024, the number of applications from high-net-worth individuals worldwide has hit double digits. In addition, there have been over 1,600 enquiries, mostly from professional services providers seeking further information on procedural requirements and eligibility criteria. The SAR Government will continue to roll out various measures and initiatives to consolidate Hong Kong’s status as a hub not for capital and talent. As a result, the popularity of the New CIES is poised to grow even further.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible under the New CIES, the following criteria must be met:

  • You must be 18 years of age at the time of the application.
  • You are either a foreign national, a Chinese national with permanent residency abroad, a Macao Special Administrative Region resident, or a Chinese resident of Taiwan.
  • You hold net assets valued at no less than HKD 30 million over the two years before the application date.
  • You must invest a minimum of HKD 30 million (or its equivalent in foreign currencies) in permissible investment assets. The definition of what constitutes “permissible investment assets” is provided in the section below. Assets acquired prior to 1 March 2024 will not contribute towards meeting the minimum investment threshold.
  • You have a clean immigration record and satisfy the standard immigration and security requirements.
  • You can demonstrate that you have the financial means to support yourself any dependants during your stay in Hong Kong, including finding suitable accommodation.
Permissible investment assets

“Permissible investment assets” include permissible financial assets, non-residential real estate, and a designated investment portfolio. Each of these will be discussed in turn below. 

You must invest a minimum of HKD 27 million of the HKD 30 million investment in non-residential real estate and/or permissible financial assets.

Permissible financial assets
  • Shares of companies listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (“SEHK”) and traded in either Hong Kong Dollars (“HKD”) or Renminbi (“RMB”).
  • Debt securities include those listed on the SEHK and traded in HKD or RMB, as well as those denominated in HKD or RMBD and issued or fully guaranteed by the SAR Government or its affiliated entities.
  • Certificates of deposits denominated in HKD or RMB and issued by approved institutions with a remaining maturity period of at least 12 months upon acquisition, limited to a maximum of 10% of the HKD 3 million.
  • Subordinated debt denominated in HKD or RMB.
  • Collective investment schemes, including funds, real estate investment trusts, and Investment-Linked Assurance Schemes authorised by the Securities and Futures Commission (“SFC”), as well as open-ended fund companies registered under the Securities and Futures Ordinance (Cap. 571).
  • Ownership interest in limited partnership funds registered under the Limited Partnership Fund Ordinance (Cap. 637).
Non-residential real estate

Qualifying non-residential real estate refers to commercial and industrial properties in Hong Kong, subject to an upper ceiling of HKD 10 million. This includes properties that still under construction, encompassing offices, commercial premises, retail premises, and factories. However, the definition specifically excludes land and multi-purpose real estate, particularly those intended partly for residential purposes.

Investment portfolio

Out of the total HKD 30 million investment, you must allocate HKD 3 million to a new investment portfolio established under the New CIES. This portfolio will be overseen and managed by the Hong Kong Investment Corporation Limited. Its investments will focus on companies or projects with a Hong Kong focus. The aim is to bolster the innovation and technology sectors and other strategic industries crucial for Hong Kong’s economic growth.

It is important to note that the deposited HKD 3 million will be subject to a lock-up period. In addition, there is no assurance of capital preservation or dividends.  Further, distributions can only be made upon discretion at specified times.   

Portfolio maintenance requirements
Permissible financial assets

You must place the permissible financial assets into a designated account overseen by an approved financial intermediary. This account shall be dedicated solely to managing permissible financial assets. It must be under your own name, and only one account per financial intermediary is allowed. You are permitted to maintain a maximum of three accounts at three financial intermediaries. In addition, each financial intermediary must fall under a different category, as listed below.

The three categories of authorised financial intermediaries are:

  • Institutions under the Banking Ordinance (Cap. 155);
  • Corporations licensed to engage in Type 1 or 9 regulated activities under the Securities and Futures Ordinance (Cap. 571);
  • Insurers licensed to engage in Class C business activities under Part 2 of Schedule 1 of the Insurance Ordinance (Cap. 41)

You retain the right to withdraw cash dividends or interest income earned from the permissible financial assets. In addition, you can change your designated account from one financial intermediary to another of the same type at any time. Similarly, you are permitted to swap permissible financial assets between designated accounts with different types of financial intermediaries.

Non-residential real estate

There is no minimum number of real estate properties you must acquire to qualify for the New CIES. However, only investments made through equity in real estate count towards the minimum investment requirement. You can obtain a mortgage from a licensed bank or financial institution for the property.

To continue meeting the requirements under the scheme, you must invest all the proceeds from a sale – should you wish to sell the real estate – into other permissible investment assets, subtracting the mortgage amount. Any rental income derived from the real estate are not subject to ring-fencing restrictions and can, therefore, be retained.

Application procedure
Conduct a net asset assessment

Before you apply to the Immigration Department, you must check that you meet the net asset requirement with the New CIES Office. You will need to hire a Hong Kong Certified Public Accountant to conduct a net asset assessment.

Along with the certified proof demonstrating that you meet the net asset assessment, file your application with the Immigration Department. If approval-of-principle is granted, you will be given a visa or an entry permit. It will enable you to enter Hong Kong as a visitor for up to 180 days for the purpose of making investment under the New CIES.

Once you have completed making the requisite investment within the specified timeframe, you need to approach the New CIES Office to verify if you have fulfilled the investment requirements. Upon confirmation, it will provide you with the certified proof and inform the Immigration Department of the outcome.

Submit the certified proof showing that you have fulfilled the investment requirements to the Immigration Department within its validity period. Upon formal approval being granted, you and any dependants will typically be allowed to stay in Hong Kong for a maximum of 24 months.

Prior to applying for an extension of stay, you must contact the New CIES Office – no earlier than three months before your stay expires – to ensure that you continue to meet the portfolio maintenance requirements.

An extension of stay for up to three years will normally be granted upon meeting the eligibility criteria. The same application procedures should be followed for further extensions of stay, each not exceeding three years.

Immigration requirements
How long can you stay in Hong Kong?

Upon receiving approval-in-principle from the Immigration Department, you will receive a visa or an entry permit allowing you to enter and stay in Hong Kong as a visitor for a maximum period of 180 days.

Following that, upon securing formal approval, you and any dependants will be allowed to stay in Hong Kong for up to 24 months, provided you continue to meet the requirements under the New CIES. Extensions for up to three years are usually be granted if subsequent applications for extension are successful.

Can you obtain permanent residency in Hong Kong?

After residing in Hong Kong for at least seven years continuously, you and any dependants can apply for permanent residency. You may fail to meet the continuous ordinary residence requirement if you have had extended periods of absence from Hong Kong.

After seven years of investment, you are eligible to apply for unconditional stay. This allows entry into and residence in Hong Kong without any restrictions or time limits. In addition, at the end of the seventh year, you are free to dispose of your investments.

For more information, visit the dedicated website for the New CIES.

How CW can help you

With over thirty years of professional experience, our team of seasoned experts offers a wealth of expertise and knowledge to assist investors worldwide in seizing the myriad of investment opportunities in Hong Kong. As a Certified Public Accountants firm, we can:

  • Provide a comprehensive assessment of your net assets to ensure compliance with the requirement under the New CIES;
  • Offer professional assistance in preparing all the necessary documentation and submitting your application to the New CIES Office and Immigration Department;
  • Assist in demonstrating ongoing compliance with portfolio maintenance requirements after the first year of scheme participation and at each subsequent anniversary.

Contact us to find out how you can leverage the New CIES to further your investment objectives in Hong Kong and beyond.  

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