The number of companies with ties to Russia registered in Hong Kong has grown mainly since last year, raising concerns about Russia-China hidden links. 

It all started with the Russian superyacht docked in Hong Kong earlier this month. The $500 million vessel was owned by sanctioned tycoon Alexey Mordashov, a Russian billionaire with ties to Putin. 

The ships’ docking in Hong Kong harbor raised fears that the global financial hub could become a haven for people sanctioned over the Russia—Ukraine war.

Liber Research Community is a non-governmental organization in Hong Kong that researches land and development policies.

It released a survey on business exchanges between Hong Kong and Russia during the Russian—Ukrainian war last Monday, October 17. The list shows that 35 newly established companies had “Russia” in their names from February to October. The number is much higher than the 13 firms in the same period last year. There is an increasing trend.

A member of the local research agency, Huang Zhaohong, said that most of the businesses in this survey are related to alcohol. Still, there are also some sensitive businesses on the list.

New company names have much to do with agriculture, chemicals, and energy. Since February, Hong Kong has bought more coal and natural gas from Russia. 

It is worth noting that a number of the new companies include ‘International Finance’ in their name. Suppose the business is the same as the name and involves financing. In that case, this may make people outside Hong Kong wonder if these companies have set up businesses there to evade sanctions.

Samp is a current affairs commentator. He told Radio Free Asia that among the 35 newly registered Russian companies found, 4 of them are energy companies. Compared with only 2 in the same period last year, the number can be said to be increasing continuously.

The analyst said that this situation shows that maybe Russia is investing in Hong Kong through a complex shareholding structure or some Chinese businessmen with very close business ties with Russia are making the deal. They take this indirect method to avoid sanctions. 
Samp said that if Hong Kong shakes hands with Russia, its role as an international financial center will be smashed to zero.

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