Author
Mark Chan

Mark Chan

Partner

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Author
Mark Chan

Mark Chan

Partner

Read More

8 September 2021

R&I Update – September 2021 – 4 of 5 Insights

Hong Kong and Mainland China cross-border insolvency – new co-operation mechanism applied in recent cases

  • Quick read

In May 2021, a landmark co-operation mechanism was implemented between Hong Kong and Mainland China in cross-border insolvency matters.

Liquidators from Hong Kong can now apply to the courts in three Mainland "pilot cities" (ie Shanghai, Shenzhen and Xiamen) for recognition and assistance, provided that:

  • Hong Kong is the debtor’s "centre of main interests" (COMI). This is generally the place of incorporation of the debtor, although other factors (eg place of principal office, business or principal assets of the debtor) may be considered.
  • The COMI of the debtor has been in Hong Kong for at least six months.

Likewise, bankruptcy administrators from the Mainland may apply to the High Court of Hong Kong for recognition and assistance.

Recent cases

The new co-operation mechanism was applied by the courts in two recent Hong Kong cases:

Samson Paper Company Limited 

Sampson Paper Company Limited is a Hong Kong company in insolvent liquidation with substantial assets in Shenzhen. The court held that it was appropriate for the High Court of Hong Kong to request the Shenzhen Intermediate People's Court make an order recognising the appointed liquidators and providing assistance to them. 

China All Access (Holdings) Ltd 

China All Access (Holdings) Ltd is a Hong Kong-listed Cayman Islands company with substantial assets in Shenzhen. The argument here was that liquidators would have difficulties taking control of the company's operating subsidiaries in the Mainland held through intermediate subsidiaries incorporated in the BVI.

The court considered it reasonably likely that the liquidators appointed over the company by the Hong Kong Court can be recognised in Shenzhen, as the company has its COMI in Hong Kong and substantial assets in Shenzhen. Similarly, liquidators appointed in Hong Kong over the BVI incorporated subsidiaries whose COMI is in Hong Kong can be recognised in Shenzhen. 

As such, liquidators appointed over the BVI subsidiaries can take steps to take control of the Mainland subsidiaries.

Find out more

To discuss the issues raised in this article in more detail, please reach out to a member of our Restructuring & Insolvency team.

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