Hon. Albert Isola M.P. - Minister for Commerce of Gibraltar
In June 2019, Gibraltar Finance and I visited the East Asia region to continue our work in increasing awareness of what Gibraltar can offer businesses within the region in the areas of insurance and blockchain, forging new strategic relationships in this regard. During the visit, I had the pleasure of speaking at two events in Beijing and attended private meetings and media engagements. Following our trade mission to East Asia, we travelled to the Cayman Islands to take part in the inaugural UK Overseas Territories Association International Trade Seminar.
The first seminar took place at the British Ambassador’s Residence in Beijing in association with Willis Towers Watson, a global advisory, broking and solutions company. This was a prime opportunity to highlight Gibraltar’s recent successes in attracting some of the world’s most respected blockchain firms, our relationship with UK post-Brexit, and how well-positioned Gibraltar is to support new captive insurance opportunities for International Chinese firms.
Asia’s insurance market is expanding, and Chinese businesses continue to widen their consumer bases across the globe at a higher rate than ever. Compared to the extensive presence of captives by European and North American businesses, there are few Chinese domiciled captive insurance companies. To be exact, out of the 6,000 captive insurance companies worldwide, there are less than 10 Chinese captives. Through foreign-based captive insurers, Chinese businesses’ operations around the world can receive insurance and support services from other Chinese-based insurers. Located at the intersection of the Mediterranean sea and the Atlantic Ocean, just a few kilometres from the coast of North Africa, Gibraltar is a prime location for Chinese captive insurance firms.
The second seminar I spoke at, ‘Discover Gibraltar with Huobi’, took place at the Shangri-La Hotel in Beijing. The Huobi Group, established in Beijing in 2013, is one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, offering clients digital asset trading and asset management services. The event was a great opportunity to share our successful experience in making Gibraltar an attractive place for blockchain businesses through a regulatory framework designed to support DLT businesses, and an expanding fintech sector. Our involvement in the event marked our latest engagement with Huobi since the company was awarded a full DLT licence from the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (GFSC) in November 2018. The event followed the signing of an agreement with Huobi that will result in a formal Memorandum of Understanding on educational and commercial cooperation, notably between Huobi University and Gibraltar University.
Our team also attended the inaugural UK Overseas Territories Association Trade Seminar at the Kimpton Seafire Resort in the Cayman Islands. This was an excellent opportunity for the Overseas Territories and the UK Government to discuss opportunities and objectives, to create consensus and to exchange best practices. Our team sat on two panels, one in relation to the role of the Commonwealth while the second panel presented an opportunity to highlight what Gibraltar is doing from a business development and regulatory perspective in the technology and blockchain space.
My team and I are extremely grateful for the opportunity to share Gibraltar’s experience with like minded professionals and officials from around the world, increasing awareness of what Gibraltar has to offer, fortifying important relationships, and sharing knowledge.