Hong Kong has evolved into one of the important business centers in the region. Located on the South East Coast of China it became part of China on 1 July, 1997. It is a Special Administration Region (SAR) within the People's Republic of China with its own legislature and courts. Despite the presence of business centers such as Shanghai, Hong Kong continues to gain popularity as an offshore jurisdiction and commercial hub because of the economic and political stability and simple and straightforward tax regime and legislative system. A Hong Kong offshore company is a very popular vehicle for conducting offshore banking activities, international trade, investment activities, and for asset protection.