Our good friend VINCENT MARSHALL KWAN-HO LEE graced the cover of GAFANCU.   - 2008 November 

Vincent Lee Kwan-ho, with the apparent backing of the government, was yesterday re- elected as Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (0388) non-executive director.    - 2008 April 25   THE STANDARD

Chinese New Year  太太 | Tai Tai  had opportunity to reconnect with one of her old friends.    Vincent Lee is now Chairman of the Institute of Securities Dealers Ltd of Hong Kong but Tai Tai remembers him when he was on the 18th floor starting the Private Banking division for HSBC in the 1980's and Tai Tai was a Vice President at Colliers facilitating Asian investment into North America.    He was featured recently on a documentary titled  "The Men Who Would Conquer China".    They have been friends for many years and ski Whistler together.  

"How do you buy state-owned companies, support China's transition to capitalism and make a fortune at the same time? New York based investment banker Mart Bakal and his Hong Kong partner Vincent Lee search for the perfect mix of economic and political opportunity in China, eager to share in the profits of the economic miracle as this fast developing country accelerates on the road to capitalism. Followed over a period of three years, the dissimilar business methods, values and motivations of the North American and the Chinese become abundantly evident. As Mart and Vincent draw closer to their objective, one is left to ponder the impact of 21st century capitalism on China - and on us all."  by  FCC Australia   

Vincent's  family's wealth is due to his father Leo Lee having facilitated trade from Italy into Hong Kong since the 1960's but he has been vigilante and knows how to maker serious money too.    Vincent's father was knighted by the Italian government and has close ties to Beijing.    In fact, Tai Tai met the Consul General for Italy through Vincent and his parents.

Vincent is sometimes criticised for being self promoting which we acknowledge but seldom do people encounter someone as articulate as him and an individual who has good pulse to the ground and demonstrates his individuality by being clever.  

Our friendship has spanned decades and as a result we have kept a number of press clippings on him.

Vincent was educated at the London School of Economics.  >> BIO

Hong Kong Stock Exchange Director Vincent Lee with

The  Chief Executive of Hong Kong has appointed Vincent Lee as a panel member of the Securities and Futures Appeals Tribunal from 1 April 2003 to 31 March 2005.   This Tribunal reviews the decisions made by the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), the HK Monetary Authority (HKMA), and the Investor Compensation Company. The purpose is to have an effective safeguard to ensure that the relevant regulatory decisions are reasonable and fair.   - 1 Apr 2003 


Hong Kong immigration to Canada has flat-lined
Immigration from Hong Kong to Canada has plummeted from its 1993 peak of 43,000 landings to fewer than 4,000 a year.

As recently as 1997, Hong Kong ranked at the top of Canada's source countries list with 22,250 landings, according to Ottawa's latest figures.

The following year, Hong Kong dropped to fifth, then to 13th in 1999 with 3,664 landings, behind countries such as Russia, 12th, and Sri Lanka, ninth.

"Hong Kong is dead as a doornail when it comes to immigration and real estate investment in Canada," said Vancouver lawyer Peter Scarrow, a veteran immigration consultant.

Mainland China has taken over as the leading source country, with 19,764 landings in 1998 and 29,095 in 1999, and those numbers are expected to grow.

In the first half of the 1990s, the exodus from Hong Kong never dropped below 30,000 a year, most of them settling in Greater Vancouver, Canadian government tracking shows.

The outflow was driven by fears arising from the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing, along with the uncertainty surrounding the then-looming 1997 return of the British colony's sovereignty to China.

However, with the earlier fear factors removed, the prospect of better job and investment opportunities have lured many of those emigrants back. Meanwhile, Canada's economic climate and taxation levels now discourage others from wanting to leave the Hong Kong special administrative region at all.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce here has estimated more than 300,000 Chinese-Canadians have left Canada in the last several years because of what they perceive as unfavourable tax policies or poor employment prospects.

The reverse flow has been blamed by many B.C. entrepreneurs for crashing Vancouver's property market, particularly on the city's west side, where land title searches show about 75 per cent of million dollar-plus homes had been purchased in the early and mid-1990s by people with Chinese surnames.

"With the nervousness over the 1997 handover gone and the economic factors in Canada, it's quite natural for them to come back," Canadian consul-general Colin Russel said in an interview.

"The flow to Canada is way down, but that's what you would normally expect from a base of seven million people."

Critics are less charitable. They blame the stampede back to Hong Kong and other parts of Asia on Canada's high taxes, poor job prospects and controversial measures such as the foreign-assets disclosure law.

"They don't like Canada's tax policies, couldn't find a job, or there was no opportunity to expand a business," said Vancouver expatriate Patrick Lau, executive director of Hong Kong-based U-Cyber Technology Holdings Ltd.

"Many people have surrendered their [entry] visas."

Ottawa estimates there are about 150,000 Canadian passport holders living in Hong Kong, or some 30,000 to 40,000 more since the territory's July 1, 1997 handover.

However, business community leaders put the number of Canadians closer to 500,000 since many of them hold dual citizenship and can enter the territory with their Hong Kong identity cards rather than Canadian passports.

Russel concedes it is difficult to determine the exact number of Canadians residing in Hong Kong since Ottawa doesn't specifically track the movement of its citizens.

"China will be the dominant source country over the next number of years," Russel said.

Scarrow said Canada is portrayed in China as a "garden of pleasure" for older people, as "heaven" for children, and a "land of abundance" for adults generally.

Canadian society is likened to a "large extended family, where people from all over the world get along."

These are among the reasons China has overtaken both Hong Kong and Taiwan as Canada's top source of individual and business immigration recently, said Scarrow, an associate with the Grandall Legal Group, the largest Chinese law firm based in Shenzhen, Shanghai and Beijing.

"The future of substantive business between Vancouver and Greater China has now shifted to China itself. China is now the main event.

"Hong Kong and Taiwan are now history."

Taiwan, which ranked fourth in 1997 with 13,320 landings in Canada, fell to sixth place in 1998 with 7,181 landings and to eighth in 1999 with 5,461.

Scarrow noted China's market economy has generated an increasing number of private enterprises, resulting in a growing number of people acquiring wealth and influence.

Some of the large immigration consulting firms -- there are about 10 in China -- are generating more than $10 million US in revenue each year, he said.

"Business immigrants from China are more inclined to do business in Canada," said Scarrow, who previously did immigration consulting work in Taiwan and remains corporate counsel for Vancouver-based Macdonald Realty.

"They're there for the long term, compared with people from Hong Kong or Taiwan who view Canada as a stepping stone to get a passport and get out."

Meanwhile, independent-class immigrants -- mainly skilled workers or professionals, as opposed to entrepreneurs or investors in the business class -- from China also tend to stay, Scarrow said.

"That's what Canada wants, to be able to import more young people."

Another advantage, Scarrow said, is that unlike Hong Kong and Taiwan, where the climate is tropical, many Chinese citizens hail from northern China, where temperatures can dip below freezing levels.

"They're [accustomed] to cold climate, so it's okay for some of them to choose places like Edmonton or Calgary."

Scarrow said mainland Chinese have always possessed a desire for Canada, but it has only been in recent years the Chinese government has relaxed its rules to allow more citizens to qualify for exit visas.

He pointed to a page in a Shenzhen daily newspaper that contained large display ads for eight consulting firms, although the word "immigration" is censored.

The page highlights educational facilities offshore, including an ad for Royal Roads University in Victoria.

"What do they like about Canada? For the independent, they get paid much more in Canada," Scarrow said. "The cities are beautiful and there are social benefits.

"Chinese cities are so congested. Canada offers wide open spaces, a better environment and quality of life. They like all the things we [Canadians] like about Canada."

As well, mainland Chinese are less concerned about Canadian taxes or the foreign assets reporting requirements because they're generally not as wealthy as people from Hong Kong or Taiwan, Scarrow said.

"Mainland Chinese don't like their educational system, as it's difficult to get their children into university."

After China, Canada's leading sources of immigration are India, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Korea and Iran.  - Wyng Chow       Vancouver Sun      13 October 2000    


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