Hong Kong is regarded as one of the world’s best places to do business. Delaware keeps corporation statute current and contemporary, making it attractive to investors. And Ireland’s economy is worth US$389 billion and offers attractive tax benefits.
Three jurisdictions, one thing in common: relatively easy places to register a business.
Ease of set up helps for Client Relationship Officers (CROs) like myself when we project manage multiple country set up. Yet, as always, the Covid-19 pandemic threw up a few challenges.
In this case, our Client wished to procure Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and store the PPE at warehouse facilities in China and South Africa. After procurement, the Client would then make B2C online sales, as well as expand to conduct B2B sales for third-party distributions.
Although Hong Kong, Delaware and Ireland are simple jurisdictions to set up businesses, there were potential stumbling blocks. For example, many global banks view the procurement and distribution of PPE as a high-risk activity, and this posed a significant challenge when approaching them to open a corporate bank account for our Client.
Another banking-related challenge was more familiar to us. Most Hong Kong banks, for example, require Clients to travel to the city to meet an officer face-to-face. This is, of course, made very difficult by Covid-related travel restrictions. Fortunately, we enjoy excellent relations with banks around the world, and in this case, we were able to negotiate a video call between our Client and the bank to complete verification and Know Your Customer (KYC) formalities.
For the Ireland company, we adopted a similar non-travel banking strategy, ultimately boarding our Client with a Lithuanian payment service provider.
Lastly, for Delaware, our strategy was a little different. We appointed a nominee resident bank signatory who visited the bank in Chicago. Thereafter, our nominee signatory assisted in completing KYC verification and opened the corporate bank account.
From this engagement, I have learned that a detailed planning is crucial when embarking on multi-country set up, since in this case, several jurisdictions with different regulations in three time zones were involved. Additionally, managing communication in separate time zones is essential. It was also critical that, although I’m based in Singapore, I could deploy (and rely on!) my colleagues in Dubai and European time zones to assist, and to timely answer to the suppliers and banks so that we could effectively and efficiently complete the engagement.
Another key aspect of multi-country set up is communication. As per our standard Client communication protocol, we prepare comprehensive weekly updates to the Client detailing progress of each country set up. This gives Clients comfort that the project is progressing – and an added bonus is that, by preparing a consolidated progress report, we avoid multiple, messy e-mail trails! This engagement was no different in this respect.
We’re delighted to have successfully completed multi-country business set up amid a pandemic without too many complications. Adaptability is one of the many things that our multinational Clients appreciate about us, and once again we demonstrated it well.
Read more about our multi-country Client engagements here.