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Hong Kong

Hong Kong will capitalise on the opportunities arising from the national Belt and Road Initiative and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area development proactively and holistically. The government shall play the role of a “facilitator” and “promoter”.

Key initiatives announced in the 2021-22 Budget include:

Support Enterprises

  • Extend the application period of 100% guarantee low-interest loan for enterprises to the end of this year, raise loan ceiling to $6 million, extend repayment period and duration of principal moratorium
  • Reduce profits tax for 2020-21 assessment year by 100%, subject to a $10,000 ceiling
  • Provide rates concession for non-domestic properties in 2021-22, subject to a ceiling of $5,000 per quarter in first two quarters and $2,000 per quarter in remaining two quarters
  • Waive business registration fees for 2021-22
  • Continue to waive 75% of water and sewage charges of non-domestic households for 8 months, subject to a monthly ceiling of $20,000 and $12,500 respectively
  • Continue to grant 75% rental/fee concession for eligible Government properties/short-term tenancies and waivers for 6 months (100% concession for those closed at the Government’s request)

Reviving the Economy

  • Issue $5,000 electronic consumption vouchers in instalments
  • Inject $1.5 billion into the Dedicated Fund on Branding, Upgrading and Domestic Sales, increase funding ceiling per enterprise to $6 million and extend its geographical coverage in phases
  • Allocate $375 million to Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) to enhance its capability to organise online activities and to proceed with digitalisation
  • Develop the business version of the “iAM Smart” digital authentication platform
  • Explore the development of the Hong Kong Legal Cloud

Tourism, Cultural and Creative Industries

  • Earmark $169 million to continue to take forward local cultural, heritage and creative tourism projects
  • Earmark $765 million to support Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) in reviving the tourism industry
  • HKTB to conduct a comprehensive review of the positioning of Hong Kong’s tourism in the long run, formulate strategies to spur industry’s recovery
  • Consider reviving local group tours provided that public health can be safeguarded, allowing room for industry’s business operation
  • Discuss and work out Air Travel Bubble arrangement with suitable places
  • Inject an additional $1 billion into the CreateSmart Initiative

Financial Services

  • Issue no less than $24 billion of Silver Bond and no less than $15 billion of iBond this year. Lower the eligible age for Silver Bond subscription from 65 to 60
  • Issue green bonds totalling $175.5 billion within the next 5 years, and plan to issue retail green bonds
  • Roll out Green and Sustainable Finance Grant Scheme to subsidise expenses on bond issuance and external review services
  • Strive for the launch of Southbound Trading of Bond Connect within this year, and enhance the domestic Central Moneymarkets Unit
  • Provide subsidy for Real Estate Investment Trusts to list in Hong Kong
  • Launch a Pilot Insurance-linked Securities Grant Scheme to subsidise issuance costs
  • Provide subsidy for Open-ended Fund Companies to set up in or re-domicile to Hong Kong
  • Review tax arrangements relevant to family office business

Innovation and Technology

  • Earmark over $200 million to roll out “Knowing More About IT” Programme, subsidise primary schools to enhance students’ interests and knowledge in I&T and their applications through extra-curricular activities
  • Regularise the pilot scheme which subsidises students studying science and technology in local universities to enrol in short-term I&T related internships
  • Inject $9.5 billion into the Innovation and Technology Fund by two yearly instalments
  • Hong Kong Monetary Authority to consider enhancing its Fintech Supervisory Sandbox to reduce time for launching innovative financial products in the market
  • Press ahead with the development of the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park in the Lok Ma Chau Loop
  • Continue to implement the Science Park expansion and Cyberport 5 development
  • Continue to support the development of 5G networks and applications
  • Commence progressively the operation of the first batch of about 20 R&D laboratories under the “InnoHK Research Clusters” in the first quarter of this year

Air Cargo Sector

  • With the expansion of the existing express air cargo terminal, the commissioning of a new premium logistics centre and the Three Runway System, annual cargo handling capacity of Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) is expected to increase to some 9 million tonnes in 2024
  • Explore measures to facilitate trans-shipment through Hong Kong, so as to maintain Hong Kong’s competitive edge as an international air cargo hub
  • Redevelop the Air Mail Centre at HKIA to become operational by end 2027 at the earliest

 

Key economic initiatives announced in the 2020 Policy Address include:

International Financial Centre

  • Include the pre-profit biotechnology companies listed in Hong Kong and stocks listed on the Mainland Sci-Tech Innovation Board meeting certain prescribed criteria into the stock universe of the mutual market access programmes
  • Expedite the implementation of the GBA cross-boundary wealth management connect scheme
  • Promote real estate investment trusts (REIT) in Hong Kong, including considering a relaxation of the investment restrictions of REIT as appropriate and broadening the investor base, as well as providing tax concession for carried interest issued by private equity funds
  • Launch the Fintech Proof-of-Concept Subsidy Scheme to encourage traditional financial institutions to partner with start-ups to conduct Proof-of-Concept projects
  • Conduct public consultation on the establishment of a licensing regime to monitor virtual asset service providers
  • InvestHK will set up a dedicated team to step up promotion of our advantages in local and other major markets, and offer one-stop support services to family offices which are interested in establishing a presence here

International Aviation Hub

  • The Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK) will invest in Zhuhai Airport on the basis of market principles to reinforce its advantage in aviation
  • To consolidate and enhance the development of the airport city, AAHK will develop innovative facilities on the Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities (HKBCF) Island of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB), including automated car parks, the Intermodal Transfer Terminal, the Airport City Link connecting the airport, the SKYCITY and the HKBCF Island via the autonomous transportation system and extend it to the Tung Chung Town Centre later
  • Commence preparation work for cross-boundary commercial helicopter services

International Innovation and Technology Hub

  • Jointly develop the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Co-operation Zone with Shenzhen, and explore with Shenzhen government the idea of allowing the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation to lease and manage certain areas of the Innovation and Technology Zone in Futian, Shenzhen, before the completion of the first batch of research and development (R&D) buildings in the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park at the Lok Ma Chau Loop
  • Launch a five-year Global STEM Professorship Scheme at a cost of $2 billion to attract outstanding R&D talent from overseas to engage in R&D work in Hong Kong
  • Release the Smart City Blueprint for Hong Kong 2.0 in December 2020 with more than 130 smart city initiatives
  • Launch the iAM Smart one-stop service platform in December 2020 for the delivery of a number of government and public utility electronic services

Supporting Business and Commerce Development and Small and Medium Enterprises

  • Expand the scope of subsidy under the Small and Medium Enterprises Export Marketing Fund for two years so that enterprises affected by the epidemic can fully utilise both online and offline sale channels
  • Set aside $50 million under the Professional Services Advancement Support Scheme to subsidise professional bodies to step up publicity and promotion in the GBA and overseas
  • Establish the Pan-Greater Bay Area Inward Investment Liaison Group to enable InvestHK and its counterparts in other cities in the GBA to develop holistic and joint inward investment propositions with a view to enhancing synergy

Creative Industries

  • Make an additional injection of $1 billion into the CreateSmart Initiative
  • Set up an inter-bureau task force to promote and develop Art Tech, set aside $100 million and provide state-of-the-art venues and complementary facilities for experimental use

Construction Industry

  • Maintain an annual capital works expenditure of over $100 billion in the next few years, creating over 300,000 employment opportunities for the construction industry taking into account investment from the private sector
  • Propose to the Legislative Council to raise the expenditure ceiling for each minor works project funded under the block vote from the current $30 million to $50 million to expedite the implementation of projects that are closely related to the daily lives of the people

Convention and Exhibition Industry

  • Take forward the redevelopment of the three government towers in Wan Chai North and the Kong Wan Fire Station into convention and exhibition facilities, hotels and offices, and press ahead with the development of phase two of AsiaWorld-Expo
  • Make use of the $1 billion Convention and Exhibition Industry Subsidy Scheme to subsidise exhibitors of exhibitions organised by the HKTDC and participants of its major conventions

Tourism Industry

  • Roll out additional relief measures involving a funding of $600 million for the tourism industry, which has been hardest hit by the epidemic
  • Tap into more local cultural and green tourism resources once the epidemic has eased, with a view to expanding both the Mainland and overseas visitor source markets as well as offering leisure and travel experience with rich historical and cultural elements


The Government of Hong Kong SAR is also committed to driving local business through a variety of initiatives. For details of government funding schemes, please visit here.

Hong Kong enjoys an ideal location in Asia that enables businesses to tap into the multitude of opportunities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area and throughout the rest of the region.

The Perfect Business Base 
With all of Asia’s key markets less than four hours’ away, it is easy to see why over 8,000 businesses and companies have made Hong Kong their home. Many have placed their strategic functions, including sales, operations, research and development (R&D), distribution, regional headquarters and corporate treasury centres in the city. Over 100 airlines offer easy and efficient travel to 190 locations from Hong Kong whilst half of the world’s population can be reached within five hours by plane. 

Future-driven 
The Belt and Road Initiative is set to link Mainland China with countries across Asia, Europe and the Middle East. As an international finance centre, Hong Kong’s independent legal system, rule of law, free flow of information and capital, and sound regulatory regime, put it in a prime position to help businesses make the most out of the Belt and Road.   

Another opportunity arises from the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area . The economic integration will combine the expertise of more than ten cities throughout the region to create a world-class city cluster. Hong Kong will play a key role in ensuring the city cluster is internationally competitive, making it the ideal location for businesses and companies to reap the benefits of the city cluster. 

Another benefit of setting up business in Hong Kong is its free trade policy. The city’s free port status and easy customs procedures makes it easier for businesses and companies to operate. 

Trade and Economic Ties 
To secure favourable conditions for exports of goods and services from Hong Kong to the Mainland and international markets, Hong Kong government endeavours to enter into more Hong Kong's Free Trade Agreements with the trading partners. The Economic and Trade Offices (ETOs) set up by the HKSAR Government in Mainland China and overseas will further promote economic ties and exchanges with Belt and Road countries. 

So far, Hong Kong has forged eight Hong Kong's Free Trade Agreements, respectively with the Mainland of China, New Zealand, the Member States of the European Free Trade Association  (EFTA), Chile, Macao, the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN), Georgia and Australia. FTA negotiation has also begun with other trading partners. FTA negotiation has also begun with other trading partners. Hong Kong has so far signed Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements with 20 economies and has concluded negotiations with Bahrain, Mexico, Myanmar and the United Arab Emirates. Negotiations will commence or continue with other Belt and Road countries.

A Leading Financial Centre 
Hong Kong has long been the region’s leading financial hub.  It offers a highly transparent and robust regulatory regime for financial services industries such as banking, securities and futures, insurance and retirement schemes. These industries adhere to the best global practices and standards, giving confidence to everyone looking to do business in Hong Kong. 

The city is also home to the world’s largest offshore hub in Renminbi settlement. Businesses can easily enjoy a wide variety of Renminbi services on offer from banks and financial institutions. 

Stock Connect and Bond Connect have launched in Hong Kong. They have given investors in Hong Kong direct access to Mainland China whilst further cementing the city’s status as an international finance centre. 

The city is also positioning itself as a leading regional FinTech hub.

Businesses and individuals in Hong Kong enjoy one of the most tax-friendly systems in the world. Only three direct taxes are imposed and there are generous allowances and deductions which can reduce your taxable amount.

The three taxes are:

  • Profits tax for the first HK$2 million of profits of corporations is 8.25 percent. Profits above that amount will be subject to the tax rate of 16.5 percent. For unincorporated business (i.e. partnerships and sole proprietorships), the two-tiered tax rates will correspondingly be set at 7.5 percent and 15 percent. 
  • Salaries tax with standard rate of 15 percent
  • Property tax of 15 percent

Here are the taxes which Hong Kong does not impose:

  • No sales tax or VAT
  • No withholding tax on dividents and interest
  • No capital gains tax
  • No tax on dividends
  • No estate tax

Free Trade Port
Another benefit of setting up business in Hong Kong is its free trade policy. The city’s free port status and easy customs procedures make it easier for businesses and companies to operate.

Hong Kong is home to a diverse talent pool, equipped with the skills and knowledge to drive business in Hong Kong and beyond.

A Multi-lingual Location
Newcomers to Hong Kong will find that language is rarely an issue with most locals being either bilingual or trilingual.  Many business professionals can speak English and Cantonese (Hong Kong’s most widely spoken language),  a lot of people may also speak  Mandarin (Mainland China’s official language). 

Top Educational Foundation
Hong Kong is home to 20 local degree-awarding post-secondary education institutions. Currently four Hong Kong universities are featured in the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings top 100 list, demonstrating the high quality of our education system. 

Technology Talent Admission Scheme (TechTAS)
TechTAS provides a fast-track arrangement for eligible companies to admit overseas and Mainland technology talent to undertake research and development ("R&D") work for them. Companies that are engaged in R&D in the areas of artificial intelligence, biotechnology, cybersecurity, data analytics, financial technologies, material science, robotics, 5G communications, digital entertainment, green technology, integrated circuit design, Internet-of-Things or microelectronics are eligible to make applications. For details, please visit here.

Hong Kong has always maintained an open business environment for business activities and commerce.

One Country, Two Systems
Hong Kong has maintained its own currency, political and legal systems. This has allowed the city to continue to flourish as an international business city whilst enjoying the benefits of unrivalled access to opportunities in Mainland China. 
Some of the benefits of One Country, Two Systems include:

  • No foreign ownership restrictions
  • English and Chinese as official languages with English the preferred language for business and contracts
  • Free movement of capital, talent, goods and information
  • Independent participation in international forums

World’s Most Competitive Economy
Hong Kong has been recognised as one of the world’s most competitive economy. The International Institute for Management Development (IMD) World Competitive Yearbook 2020 ranked Hong Kong 5th out of 63 economies.

The ranking reflects the consistent strides Hong Kong has made in building a favourable business environment. IMD assessed the economy across four competitiveness factors; economic performance, government efficiency, business efficiency and infrastructure.  Among various sub-factors, Hong Kong is ranked top globally in “Business legislation”. Within the “Institutional framework” sub-factor, Hong Kong ranked 1st in the indicators “Legal and regulatory framework” and “Exchange rate stability”. These top of the world rankings re-affirm Hong Kong’s institutional strengths, particularly in legal and money affairs.

Strong Intellectual Property Protection
The Government of Hong Kong SAR has specific policies and legal protection in place for intellectual property rights. The city’s intellectual property laws have been developed to reach the highest international standards to create a free and fair business environment.
 

Hong Kong is a global city that has attracted people from all corners of the globe. Many are drawn to Hong Kong thanks to its compact size, vibrant lifestyle, beautiful scenery and welcoming international community. The city’s business community is no different, allowing businesses of all types to thrive in the city’s cosmopolitan surroundings.

A Global Foodie Feast
The variety of food on offer in Hong Kong is one of the best in the world. With thousands of options from street-side food stalls to Michelin star restaurants, there’s something for everyone in Hong Kong. Options are not only plentiful but also diverse, with a wide array of cuisines available for Hong Kong’s international community. 

No Language Barriers
Don’t worry if you don’t speak Cantonese – English is one of the city’s official languages along with Cantonese. All of Hong Kong’s signs and  transport networks are bilingual in English and Chinese . Many locals are also fluent in  Mandarin. 

A Nature-filled City
You wouldn’t know it by looking at the towering skyscrapers and bright lights of Hong Kong, but the city is home to beautiful beaches and endless hiking trails. One only has to make a short journey away from the city to discover a completely different side to Hong Kong filled with nature and wildlife.  Although Hong Kong is one of the world's largest metropolis, three-quarters of the 1,108 square kilometres of land is countryside.

International Education
Those with children will be happy to know that Hong Kong has over 50 international schools offering different international curricula. From kindergarten all the way to university, an international level of education is available to those seeking to maintain the educational consistency of their home country. 

Safe City
Hong Kong is listed as one of the safest countries in the world by different publications and organisations. The city is a relatively crime-free society where people rarely fear for their personal safety.

Hong Kong enjoys some of the most advanced business infrastructures in the world. Businesses and companies can take advantage of the leading business infrastructures in place to maximise their opportunities throughout the region.

International Access
The multi-award winning Hong Kong International Airport is the world’s busiest cargo gateway and one of the busiest passenger airports. Getting between the city and the airport only takes 23 minutes via the Airport Express and in-town check-in is available for those seeking maximum convenience. 

Convenient Public Transport
Hong Kong is one of the easiest cities to travel around thanks to its abundance of low-cost public transport options. With one of the world’s most reliable and efficient transport systems, commuters can choose from buses, ferries, taxis, trains and trams to reach their destination. Whether meeting clients or travelling to work, Hong Kong’s transport system has created a truly connected city that businesses can benefit from.  

Complete Internet Coverage
Businesses can enjoy reliable and secure communications throughout the territory. With the city having made great investments in its broadband and fiber-optic infrastructure, everyone is able to reap the benefits of a reliable, high-speed internet connection. 

World Leading Logistics
Hong Kong has long been one of the world’s leading sea and air cargo hubs. Advanced port and air cargo facilities has ensured Hong Kong’s place as one of the largest trading entities in the world whilst also servicing a large portion of cargo in and out of Mainland China. 

Express Rail Link
Opened in 2018, the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link will ensure speedy rail travel between the three cities. Whether for client meetings or expanding your operations, Guangzhou will soon only be a 50-minute rail ride away. 

Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge
With the recently completed Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, Hong Kong will benefit from a better connection to key cities in the Pearl River Delta. 

Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP)

GBA EXPRESS

GBA Express is a new one-stop service platform to support technology companies to grow and expand business in the Greater Bay Area (GBA) by providing a wide range of services, including professional go-to-market support services, extensive theme-based activities and comprehensive landing programmes in Hong Kong. 

 

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