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Bankers Shocked by 45% China Tax Rate Mull Leaving Hong Kong

  • SOE employees who transferred from China told to report income
  • Unclear how broadly the tax rules will apply to Chinese expats
People use their smartphones along the Victoria Harbour waterfront in Tsim Sha Tsui district in Hong Kong.
Photographer: Roy Liu/Bloomberg
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Fears of a Hong Kong brain drain are increasing after China moved to tax its citizens’ global income, undermining the financial hub’s appeal to thousands of bankers and other white-collar workers from the mainland.

Faced with a tax rate as high as 45% -- up from about 15% previously -- Chinese professionals across Hong Kong are considering moving back home to avoid getting squeezed by both the new levy and sky-high living costs in the former British colony, according to interviews with workers and recruiters.