| | DECEMBER 20238IN FOCUSLABUAN IBFC HONORED AT EUROPEAN CAPTIVE AWARDS 2023CHINA GRANTS VISA-FREE ENTRY TO FIVE EUROPEAN NATIONS AND MALAYSIALabuan International Business and Financial Centre (Labuan IBFC) was honored with the Highly Commended recognition in the International Captive Domicile category at the 2023 European Captive Review Awards. These awards, hosted by Captive Review, a prominent global captive publication, acknowledge and honor excellence in captive insurance and risk management. The annual event serves as a platform for domiciles, service providers, captive owners, and industry participants to highlight their accomplishments and significant contributions within the field.Datuk Iskandar Mohd Nuli, Executive Chairman cum CEO of Labuan IBFC Inc. Sdn Bhd, remarked that the award serves as validation for Labuan IBFC's position as the favored captive domicile. Despite a challenging market, Labuan captives have sustained growth, accumulating gross premiums of USD1.1 billion by the second quarter of 2023. More than 60 percent of these premiums originated from the international insurance business. The industry has also welcomed 71 captives, including subsidiaries of well-established global corporations. These achievements underscore Labuan IBFC's role as a premier captive hub, aligning with its Strategic Roadmap's objective to evolve the domicile into a self-insurance center.Datuk Iskandar also highlighted the success of the Asian Captive Conference in 2023, which attracted nearly 300 global captive stakeholders, backed by 25 partners and sponsors. He expressed gratitude for the support received from the Labuan ecosystem in promoting awareness and fostering the growth of the captive insurance industry. China revealed plans to implement visa-free entry for citizens from five European nations and Malaysia, aiming to boost tourism and business visits. Effective from December 1, individuals from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Malaysia can access China without a visa for up to 15 days as part of a year-long trial program. The initiative aims to streamline exchanges between Chinese and foreign personnel while enhancing openness to the global community, according to Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning during a routine briefing.China's stringent pandemic protocols, such as mandatory quarantines upon arrival, dissuaded visitors for nearly three years. Although restrictions eased earlier this year, international travel remains below pre-pandemic levels. Initially, China allowed visa-free entry for citizens from Brunei, Japan, and Singapore, but suspended this privilege during the COVID-19 outbreak. While visa-free entry resumed for Brunei and Singapore in July, it has not yet been reinstated for Japan.Immigration statistics for the initial half of the year recorded 8.4 million foreign entries and exits in China, contrasting sharply with the 977 million recorded for the entire 2019, the year preceding the pandemic. To stimulate its sluggish economy, the government has sought foreign investment. Some business figures, like Tesla's Elon Musk and Apple's Tim Cook, have visited for trade fairs and meetings. However, compared to pre-pandemic times, the presence of foreign tourists remains notably scarce in the country.
< Page 7 | Page 9 >