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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The romance between private equity and Hong Kong may be over, before it even had a chance to begin.

The state of play: Hong Kong officials in February announced plans to introduce a new carried interest tax scheme that is expected to be one of the world's most generous. This came on top of Hong Kong's existing effort to implement a limited partnership fund regime — all of which could make the city a more viable alternative to the Cayman Islands, particularly for Asia-focused funds.

  • This week, Beijing passed a new security law for Hong Kong that effectively eliminates many of the civil rights that local residents have long exercised. It also increases the likelihood that foreign nationals, including fund managers, could be arrested for vaguely defined offenses, and sent to mainland China to stand trial.
  • As Axios' Bryan Walsh wrote yesterday, the law "casts doubt on the future of the place that has long branded itself as 'Asia's World City.'"

What's next: We're still awaiting specifics of Hong Kong's new carried interest tax treatment. In the meantime, expect rival jurisdictions like Singapore, and maybe even Japan, to wine and dine private equity executives.

The bottom line: Private equity isn't a full-fledged avatar for global business, but it may become one of the first to loudly signal whether the new security rules overwhelm the city's financial benefits.

Go deeper

Aug 26, 2020 - Health

Hospitals charge a lot more when Wall Street owns them

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Hospitals owned by private equity firms rake in almost 30% more income than hospitals that aren’t, according to new research published this week in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Why it matters: Private equity is gobbling up more and more of the health care industry. Investors are buying up physicians’ practices, hospitals and the firms that negotiate prices with insurers.

Salesforce rolls the dice on Slack

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Salesforce's likely acquisition of workplace messaging service Slack — not yet a done deal but widely anticipated to be announced Tuesday afternoon — represents a big gamble for everyone involved.

For Slack, challenged by competition from Microsoft, the bet is that a deeper-pocketed owner like Salesforce, with wide experience selling into large companies, will help the bottom line.

FBI stats show border cities are among the safest

Data: FBI, Kansas Bureau of Investigation; Note: This table includes the eight largest communities on the U.S.-Mexico border and eight other U.S. cities similar in population size and demographics; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

U.S. communities along the Mexico border are among the safest in America, with some border cities holding crime rates well below the national average, FBI statistics show.

Why it matters: The latest crime data collected by the FBI from 2019 contradicts the narrative by President Trump and others that the U.S.-Mexico border is a "lawless" region suffering from violence and mayhem.