A new global report on internet connectivity says that Hong Kong continues to have the fastest average peak internet speed, and that it has the third-highest average connection speed.
Cloud service provider Akamai found that Hong Kong has an average peak internet speed of 65.4Mbps, ahead of South Korea, Japan, and Singapore. However, South Korea came first for average connection speed, at 22.1Mbps, while Hong Kong came third, after Japan, at 12.5Mbps. Further, 81 percent of Hong Kong’s connections were above 4Mbps, and 38 percent were above 10Mbps.
The UK was ranked 14th for average connection, at 9.1Mbps; 77 percent of the country’s connections were above 4Mbps, and 27 percent were above 10Mbps. By comparison, Spain’s average connection was 6.9Mbps, with 71 percent above 4Mbps and 14 percent above 10Mbps.
Hong Kong star Ella Koon. Picture courtesy of Wiki Common.
Meanwhile, Australia’s average connection was 5.5Mbps, with 51 percent 4Mbps and 8.1 percent above 10Mbps.
Akamai’s figures refer to the third quarter of 2013. The company explains that it has a globally-distributed Intelligent Platform made up of a distributed network of servers and intelligent software, which delivers over two trillion interactions daily. The Platform allows Akamai to gather large amounts of information on many metrics, including connection speeds and network connectivity/availability issues, and the data is published quarterly in the company’s State of the Internet Report.
The company describes the report as a “key reference for those involved in broadband initiatives around the world, whether at an industry or government level.”
The Isle of Man has become the first British dependent territory to sign an agreement with the United Kingdom extending the automatic disclosure of tax information.
The intergovernmental agreement was signed in London on October 10 by Chief Minister Allan Bell and HM Treasury Exchequer Secretary David Gauke.
It is modeled on the requirements of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) introduced by the United States to ensure the tax compliance of its citizens with international interests.
On the current timetable for implementation of the new agreement, the two Governments have agreed to start exchanging additional information from 2016.
Map courtesy of FamilySearch Wiki Commons
The Isle of Man already shares information automatically on personal savings income with the UK and other European Union countries, having been the first non-EU jurisdiction to make a public commitment to this under the EU Savings Directive in June 2009. The Island was also the first to commit, in December last year, to the FATCA-style agreement with the UK extending the scope of automatic disclosure to include, for example, companies and trusts.
The Chief Minister said: “In signing this historic agreement with the United Kingdom we are underlining the message to our neighbors and the wider world that our Island is a responsible center for top quality international business.
“The Isle of Man was the first to strike this agreement with the UK and we are now the first to sign, demonstrating the clear commitment of both countries to the development of a new global standard in automatic exchange.”
Mr Bell added: “Today’s signing is a significant step towards that global standard and further proof that the tax haven moniker in relation to the Isle of Man is well and truly dead, as David Cameron recognized recently in the House of Commons.”
He went on: “The Isle of Man is a forward looking country with a diverse, dynamic economy and a track record of leading the way in the field of international tax co-operation.”
“We have a long-established policy of complying with global standards, and we saw some time ago that enhanced automatic exchange of information on the FATCA model was becoming the new global standard in tax transparency.”
The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEx), has published 20 country guides, one for each overseas jurisdiction that has been formally ruled to be acceptable as an issuer’s place of incorporation.
The country guide for each acceptable jurisdiction sets out, for example, comprehensive and user friendly guidance on how companies incorporated in the relevant jurisdiction can meet the requirement for equivalent shareholder protection standards in the HKEx’s Listing Rules.
Hong Kong Skyline. Picture courtesy of Base64, Wiki Commons.
“These country guides are aimed to enhance applicants’ understanding of the Exchange’s expectations, practices, procedures and considerations when applying the Listing Rules to overseas issuers,” said HKEx’s Chief Regulatory Officer and Head of Listing David Graham.
“The country guides provide guidance on how the Exchange will consider certain matters under the revised JPS. Where appropriate, we have also added our views and analysis based on the experience we have gained from various applications,” he continued.
The Exchange will in the future update a country guide when it is informed of a material change in the laws, rules or regulations in the relevant acceptable jurisdiction. New applicants and listed companies incorporated in an acceptable jurisdiction are obliged at the earliest opportunity to inform the Exchange of such material changes.
The 20 jurisdictions are Australia, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Canada (Alberta), Canada (British Columbia), Cyprus, France, Germany, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Italy, Japan, Jersey, South Korea, Labuan, Luxembourg, Singapore, England and Wales, and the United States, both California) and Delaware. A country guide for Canada (Ontario) will only be published at a later date, as appropriate, when another applicant incorporated in Ontario applies for a listing on the Exchange.
Nineteen young entrepreneurs from 13 countries have become the first batch of applicants to come to the UK to set up businesses as part of the Government’s new Sirius Programme.
The scheme, which is run by UK Trade & Investment, recognizes graduates with innovative start-up ideas,
and aims to attract hundreds of talented entrepreneurs into the UK in its first two years. Successful teams receive start-up support including a 12 month place on one of the best business accelerator programmes; mentoring; help gaining clients; financial support of GBP12,000 per team member; and a visa endorsement. Enterprises remain completely owned by the graduate teams, and no equity is taken.
The first round of the scheme attracted 160 applicants. Winners came from countries including Canada, China, Germany, India, Italy, Kenya, New Zealand, and Nigeria, and they will launch businesses in the sport, energy and health technology sectors. Winning ideas included green energy from waste coffee ground; a low-cost smartphone battery charging solution; and a device for enabling consumers to instantly verify whether a branded product is counterfeit via their mobile phone.
Big Ben, London. Picture courtesy of Doco, Wiki Commons.
The Government believes that the scheme will create new jobs, promote foreign investment and have “a significant cumulative impact” on the economy. It adds that businesses based in the UK have access to 500m customers across Europe, and that these customers tend to be “early adopters” of innovative technology.
Minister of State for Trade and Investment Lord Livingston said that the UK “is fast becoming the country of choice for talented graduates to start and grow their businesses.”
The Sirius Programme is open for entries in January 2014.
The Government has formulated an overall strategic framework for promoting Hong Kong as a premier intellectual property (IP) trading hub in the region.
As determined by a working group, which conducted many rounds of stakeholder consultation over the past few months, Hong Kong’s overall strategy on IP trading encompasses four strategic areas – “namely, enhancing its IP protection regime; supporting IP creation and exploitation; fostering IP intermediary services and manpower capacity; and pursuing promotion, education and external collaboration efforts.”
The working group will, in 2014, explore specific policies and other support measures under each strategic area for promoting Hong Kong as a regional IP trading hub. In the meantime, two sub-groups formed under the working group will continue to deliberate on ways to spearhead further developments in certain specific areas, focusing particularly on the more specialized subjects of IP valuation, and IP arbitration and mediation.
Some of the initiatives under way and in the pipeline include the setting up of the Original Grant Patent system as a strategic step to help Hong Kong develop as an innovation and technology hub; a review of copyright to strike a balance between its protection and the freedom of expression; and the launch by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council of an online IP trading portal in January 2014 to enhance Hong Kong’s online IP trading volume, capabilities and connections.
A survey on IP trading and manpower in Hong Kong will also be conducted in 2014 to provide statistical and other relevant information to support the working group’s further deliberations.