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Alibaba co-founder: Hong Kong’s free market is great for capital formation

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Hong Kong in China is ideal for capital formation thanks to the city’s free market economy and the most benign tax system, said Alibaba co-founder and former CFO Joe Tsai in a recent interview with CNBC.

“You put money on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange today and in Hong Kong dollars, tomorrow you can withdraw it in US dollars. There is a free movement of capital. It also has the most favorable tax system for capital formation. Income tax is only 15% and there is no capital gains rate, no capital gains and dividend taxes, “he illustrated.

Currently living in Hong Kong, Tsai said they now have more stability with national security legislation in Hong Kong, where was once one of the few places that did not have such legislation in place.

As a speaker of Mandarin, Tsai recalled how he felt “physically threatened” by violent protesters in 2019, who attacked people who speak Mandarin, for assuming they were from the mainland. China.

“I think there are a lot of reviews on [Hong Kong’s] democracy and freedom, or freedom of expression are suppressed. But overall, since they [the government] instituted the national security law, everything is now stabilized, “he said.” Hong Kong will be fine.

Thinking back to the story of how Hong Kong became a colony of the British Empire, Tsai told presenter Andrew Ross Sorkin of CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that “if you put yourself in the state of mind of the Chinese people, if you are a Chinese citizen, I want to make sure that we prevent foreign powers from dividing our territories. I think Hong Kong should be seen in this context.

People happy where they are

Responding to Sorkin’s questions about what he called “China’s human rights violations,” Tsai said he needed to be more specific about the “human rights violations” the presenter talks about. , because according to his observation, the large number of the population of about 90% are “very, very happy that their lives are improving every year,” he said.

Per capita GDP in China today exceeds $ 10,000, down from just $ 800 in 1999 when he launched Alibaba, Tsai said.

Tsai said children in China have better lives than their parents, will be educated and find good jobs benefiting from the expanding Chinese economy.

Different cultures different values

Speaking of how he thought American companies were criticized, such as by Republican Senator Marco Rubio, as hypocrisy to do business in China, Tsai said, “I think American companies, CEOs, understand very well that different cultures have different values ​​and mores and in China you have a different set of values. “

China has “a very different political system, [in which] one party dominates the governance of the country … whether you like it or not, there are great advantages, “he said.

“China has succeeded in building a great infrastructure because there is no policy on whether you should build a highway from point A to point B,” he illustrated.

“At the end of the day, you have to look at the results, are people happy. When I look at China, the average citizen has a lot of hope for the future,” Tsai added.

Tsai is executive vice president of Alibaba and owner of the Brooklyn Nets National Basketball Association team. He is now 189th in the Forbes 2021 billionaire ranking and 10th in the Hong Kong 50 richest list in 2021, with $ 11.1 billion.

Aged 57, Tsai grew up in Taiwan, China and has a Canadian passport. He graduated from Yale University.

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