Kazakhstan to create its own Hong Kong
Astana International Financial Centre is almost a state within a state modelled on Asian financial centres where English is the main language and corporate law is practised according to English law. Another similarity – visa and tax waivers for businessmen. All this is being created around the Astana stock exchange that is still “virtually non-existent” according to the author writing an article about Kazakhstan’s initiative in the American magazine Forbes. The new stock exchange, AIX, is being built thanks to a partnership with Nasdaq and Shanghai Stock exchange.
Astana International Financial Centre is creating its own securities and exchange system and an arbitration court with foreign judges, who will adopt decisions in accordance with the norms of English law.
During the first decade of the 21st century Kazakhstan recorded the second-highest economic growth rates after Qatar - thanks to oil and gas. However, the country’s leadership has already learned that you shouldn’t bet on natural resources. President Nazarbayev is seeking to transform Kazakhstan into a technologically advanced country and a financial hub of the region. This will make it even more attractive to China, which has been expanding economically westwards.
The actual location of the centre remains one of the main challenges for Astana International Financial Centre. According to Forbes, a zone offering tax breaks will only become attractive to foreign investors if Astana becomes an attractive place to live in. And if it is manned by high-skilled staff. For the time being, however, Astana is not similar to any of the world’s capitals, while intellectual emigration to Russia and China remains high.
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