FRIDAY, APR. 20: The Bermuda Government may have to set up an office in China if it wants to tap into this emerging economic powerhouse.
Business Development and Tourism Minister Wayne Furbert said Bermuda has fallen behind its competitors and an office in China may become necessary to build the type of relationships required to do business with this Asian powerhouse.
Mr Furbert was part of a delegation organized by Business Bermuda on a week-long marketing trip to Shanghai and Beijing.
Some of the groups included: The Chamber of International Commerce, Shanghai, Standard Chartered Bank, Shanghai Foreign Investment Development Board, the Shanghai Stock Exchange and the Chinese Ministry of Finance and Commerce.
Mr Furbert said: “Most of the meetings we had with these individuals, they talked about BVI and Cayman Islands so they are well aware of those two jurisdictions.
“We have to be on those doorsteps a little more often. Somewhere down the line, in order to make some real inroads in China, we may have to set up some type of rep office here so they can be… communicated with on a daily basis rather than once a year.”
Mr Fubert said a delegation from China should be in Bermuda later this year so they “can see the jurisdiction for themselves and meet some of the service providers and see what we have — and, of course, see some of the beauty Bermuda has.”
He let the officials know the visa requirement of Chinese coming to Bermuda has been removed as long as they pass through Canada, the US or UK and that was looked upon very favourabaly.
“China is an emerging market and they have 1.2 billion people that we can reach out to, so we have to do all we can.
“This trip has been worth it. The seed has been planted and now we’re waiting for the sprouts to come up and bear fruit.
“Will it come up tomorrow? No, but as long as we continuously water it and maintain it, then we should see some fruit in the near future.”
Cheryl Packwood, Business Bermuda CEO, said some of the low-hanging fruit Bermuda could get right away would be the holding companies.
“We have to build upon that market we already have. We can also look at the capital markets. It is very impressive to them that there are over 800 Bermuda companies listed on the main board of the Hang Seng. That just shows how important Bermuda is in the global economy.”