Chow Tai Fook to set up China headquarters in Qianhai free trade zone

The property and jewellery retailing group says Qianhai headquarters will help facilitate China expansion

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 April, 2016, 6:56pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 April, 2016, 1:50am

Chow Tai Fook Enterprises, the major shareholder of New World Development, is planning to set up its China headquarters in the Qianhai Economic Zone as the operational base to expand business across the nation, said chairman Henry Cheng Kar-shun.

“We have more than 2,000 jewellery shops across the country. We want to set up a headquarters in Qianhai to expand our business in the nation,” said Cheng.

To take advantage of Qianhai’s special financial status, Cheng said he would consider developing financial-related services. But he did not elaborate.

Cheng spoke after the signing with the Qianhai Authority on the co-operation framework in which Chow Tai Fook lays out its intention to set up its headquarters in the zone.

In a related development, the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing announced the formation of a commodities trading platform in Qianhai, as the Qianhai-Shekou bonded zone celebrated its first anniversary Wednesday.

The Qianhai-Shekou area, covering 28.2 square kilometres, is one of the three bonded zones of the Guangdong Free Trade Zone (FTZ), focusing on finance, modern logistics and technology services industries.

The other bonded zones are Nansha area, and Hengjin area.

“We hope we can get a site as soon as possible,” Cheng said.

The Qianhai government will put three to five commercial sites on the market this year, said Wang Jinxia, assistant director-general of the Guangdong FTA Qianhai Shekou Administrative Committee.

Some sites are targeted for Hong Kong developers, Wang said.

“The signing does not mean that we will get a site. The company will join the bidding when the commercial sites are offered for sale,” said Cheng.

Chow Tai Fook has been a key supporter of Qianhai, setting up a shopping mall geared towards Hong Kong products in the free-trade zone as of late last year.

“The scale is still small at the moment but it will expand when the second phase, involving a total area of about 18,000 square metres, opens in one to two months,” said Cheng.

“Mainlanders can buy Hong Kong products at a Hong Kong price level in the free trade zone . They do not need to go to Hong Kong,” he said.

The phase one CTF HoKo mall, involving 7,000 sq metres, has attracted tenants in the form of Chow Tai Fook Jewellery, cosmetics retailer SaSa, and health-care products and grocery shops selling food, snacks and milk powder.

As of mid April 3,100 Hong Kong-invested enterprises have established a presence in Qianhai.

Tian Fu, director of the administrative committee of the Qianhai and Shekou FTZ, said Hong Kong companies contributed about 30 per cent of the zone’s total tax income . The zone so far has 91,000 registered companies.

Among the some 3,100 Hong Kong companies, 110 companies are financial firms including HSBC and Hang Seng Bank.

Fu said they would continue to attract financial institutions to Qianhai.