John Han Discusses Chinese UHNWIs in Hong Kong and COVID-19-triggered Litigation in Live Interview with Citywealth
June 30, 2020
Sharing his expertise on a broad range of topics, from Chinese ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs), the Hong Kong legal system, the impact of COVID-19, forum shopping, and stress-testing and forward planning for UHNWIs, Kobre & Kim’s John Han joined the latest Citywealth “Live Session” for an in-depth interview.
Han discussed the special status of Hong Kong for Chinese high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs), pointing to the city’s independent judiciary, lack of currency controls and ability to easily exchange Hong Kong dollars for U.S. dollars. He also looked at the national security law, the rapid economic recovery in East Asia and the role Kobre & Kim can play in the coming litigation through using legal and non-legal tools around the world.
Han then looked at the impact of COVID-19 on Mainland China and Chinese HNWIs, going into several areas of note. The pandemic may be a tipping point for China’s looming debt crisis, as state-owned banks have for years issued underperforming loans. Rising defaults may tip the balance, bringing to Chinese HNWIs, including company officers who personally guarantee these loans, a potential wave of litigation. COVID-19 will also uncover many instances of financial fraud and misconduct, leading to cross-border disputes in search of assets located around the world, especially in offshore jurisdictions. Entities and governments will also be incentivized to supplement revenues with discretionary litigation against UHNWIs, and the economic downturn will guarantee a wave of corporate bankruptcies in the coming years.