Hong Kong’s business standing weakens

Woman takes pictures in front of high-rise buildings in the Central financial district after sunset in Hong Kong
A woman takes pictures in front of high-rise buildings in the Central financial district after sunset in Hong Kong, China March 30, 2021. REUTERS/Lam Yik - RC2NLM99HBBA

HONG KONG, June 15 (Reuters Breakingviews) - Hong Kong government plans for curbing access to its corporate registry are moving forward. The measures will bar all but select groups read more such as due diligence experts from access to details on directors and private company particulars, by removing address details and partially obscuring identity numbers. In an experiment, independent investor David Webb searched the registry and found 16 directors with identical names that shared visible ID numbers with at least one namesake.

If officials wanted simply to protect individuals’ privacy, they could drop the residential address requirement for a business, or correspondence, address as London’s Companies House does. As they stand, the changes will render the database virtually useless to anyone without full access, a group which will include small business owners and journalists. Hong Kong’s international standing is already suffering as Beijing tightens its grip. With governments around the world pushing transparency on low-tax jurisdictions, this looks shady. (By Jennifer Hughes)

On Twitter http://twitter.com/breakingviews

Capital Calls - More concise insights on global finance:

U.S. malls are a tale of two REITs read more

Musk sets bitcoin a Herculean task read more

German eyewear IPO flaunts digital vision read more

Philips snafu may prompt valuation health check read more

Vet IPO shrugs off animal-free trend read more

SIGN UP FOR BREAKINGVIEWS EMAIL ALERTS: <a href="http://bit.ly/BVsubscribe" target="_blank">http://bit.ly/BVsubscribe</a> | Editing by Pete Sweeney and Katrina Hamlin

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Opinions expressed are those of the author. They do not reflect the views of Reuters News, which, under the Trust Principles, is committed to integrity, independence, and freedom from bias.