Its important to be comfortable with uncertainty.Xiaolu Guo
Our team, with the support of the consultants from VD&A, participated at the International Expo – Emigration & Luxury Property, which was held in Shanghai on March 22-23th 2018 in the Sheraton Pudong Hotel. Our panelist Mr Alexander Dobrinov was invited by the organizers to speak about the latest trends of the Bulgarian Citizenship by Investment Program. The event in Shanghai was attended by leading international companies from more than 30 countries with The New York Times being the General Media Partner.
During the event in Shanghai, it became again obvious that the Bulgarian fast-track citizenship program is at the moment the undisputed favorite among all investment citizenship programs. It is the only EU CBI program to offer full and irrevocable citizenship without any significant contribution to the government (either direct or indirect by means of taxation on the investment).
During his speech, Mr Dobrinov outlined the benefits of the Bulgarian program, but spoke also about the difficulties that the Chinese customers are facing throughout the process. The biggest hurdle currently is the currency restrictions that are imposed on Chinese citizens on their foreign transfers (export of capital). As law conformity is our top priority, we have decided to utilize the expertise of our office in Hong Kong in order to facilitate the mainland Chinese citizens with their operations. As result, we have created a product, that doesn’t require the Chinese applicants to export their funds outside of China. This unique product was met vigorously by our Chinese clientele and so far is proving to be providing exceptional value to our customers in mainland China.
The other and more obvious difficulty, which all foreign legal companies are facing in China, is the language barrier. We have realized already long ago that without the assistance of local agents or in-house representative office (employing local workers) in China, our success would be limited, least to say. Therefore, with assistance from our Hong Kong office as well as with support from the VD&A’s team, we are gradually trying to serve our customers in Chinese and to gradually translate our printed materials and internet publications into Chinese language. Currently, we are directing our Chinese clients, who would like to get acquainted with the Bulgarian Citizenship by Investment program, to the Chinese version of the VD&A’s CBI website.
Mr Hristo Vasilev
Mr Vasilev from VD&A is responsible for the legal coordination of all our operations in Asia. He is the head of all legal departments worldwide.
Mr Alexander Dobrinov
Mr Dobrinov from VD&A is responsible for the product implementation, analysis and new markets development in the Middle East, South America, Asia and Russia.
We have concluded an unprecedented number of direct contracts and agreements for cooperation with local Chinese agents during the event in Shanghai. The enormously populated country, combined with the booming Chinese economy, is logically resulting in an unprecedented interest for second citizenship. By current statistics, the Chinese passport is good for visa-free travel to only about 60 to 70 countries. This is a horribly low number and it is no surprise that many Chinese citizens are looking for alternative citizenship arrangements.
Working with local agents
Local agents in China are essential, because of language barriers and cultural differences.
Direct citizenship application
Still, direct contact with customers is an alternative, which doesn’t have to be abandoned.
During the conference in Shanghai, we were confronted with two main questions that gave us clear picture of the Chinese mindset and the challenges we still have to face in the most populated country in the world. Namely, we were repeatedly asked why the Bulgarian Citizenship by Investment Program is not as aggressively advertized as its rivals from Cyprus and Malta (and even the Caribbean states). And indeed, while in Shanghai there were a large number of agents who were promoting the Maltese and the Cypriot citizenship programs, our company was the only one present to market the Bulgarian CBI. The second question we were asked so often was in fact the answer to the first one. The potential clients were all asking us what the benefit to the government from our investment citizenship program is.
The benefit to the Bulgarian government is solely to improve the negative impact from the demographic crisis that took place in Bulgaria in the 1990’s. Bulgaria is a sparsely populated country with fantastic nature and strong economy, so the Bulgarian government has decided to give a little push and to provide the opportunity to financially independent individuals to obtain Bulgarian citizenship through investment. But how can one explain to a Chinese that there is a country that is providing fast-track EU citizenship as incentive in order to increase its population density. This is also answering the other question, namely why is the program not being aggressively advertised. While the CBI programs of other countries, such as Malta and Cyprus for example, are providing financial benefit to the government (in form of donation or tax), the Bulgarian program does not. It is obvious that the other governments are not only strongly interested in promoting their CBI program, but are also able to financially support their agents to promote the program around the world. The Bulgarian state doesn’t profit financially from the CBI program so there is no budget for publicity or aggressive advertisement. Luckily, all the benefits of the Bulgarian Citizenship by Investment Program go to the client – the Bulgarian citizenship applicant!
Export restrictions in China?
We have developed, in full legal compliance, a solution that allows the Chinese citizen candidate to effect the investment from his home country.
Going outside of Shanghai
While Shanghai with its sheer number of residents is definitely the target of all international agents, we believe in the potential of all Chinese areas.