October 12 - 18, 2017

Finance

Financial Secretary meets senior US officials

In his first visit to Washington D.C. (Oct 13-18), Financial Secretary Paul Chan met US Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen and gave an update on Hong Kong’s economic development. They also discussed US monetary policy and the global economic outlook, among other issues. On the sidelines of the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group, which he attended as a member of the Chinese delegation, FS also met with US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross on Hong Kong’s strengths and opportunities for US companies to tap the Greater China market. He also promoted Hong Kong in particular the Policy Address initiatives in meetings with and talks to the political and business communities.  

Hong Kong committed to free-market roots

Hong Kong’s unwavering commitment to free enterprise and to the rule of law and strong belief in the value of small government, have all combined to earn it many accolades over two decades, like the world’s freest economy and the most competitive economy. Speaking at the  launch of “Architect of Prosperity: Cowperthwaite and the Making of Hong Kong” at the Cato Institute (Oct 13), FS said from the “positive non-intervention” policy introduced by Sir John Cowperthwaite, the then FS, in the 1960s to the more facilitative role nowadays, he assured the audience that Hong Kong would remain true to its free-market roots.

First batch of US dollar sovereign bonds

The Hong Kong SAR Government welcomes the plan of China’s Ministry of Finance to issue US dollar sovereign bonds totaling US$2 billion in Hong Kong, of which US$1 billion will be issued in five-year tenor and the remaining US$1 billion in 10-year tenor. FS noted that this is the first issuance of US dollar sovereign bonds in the city since the establishment of the Hong Kong SAR. It is the second time this year for the ministry to issue sovereign bonds in Hong Kong. The first batch was issued in June.

Innovation & Technology

I&T to fuel economic growth

Innovation and technology create quality jobs and opportunities for young people and entrepreneurs alike and improve people’s livelihood, said Chief Executive Carrie Lam at an I&T symposium (Oct 13). She outlined the eight action areas that the government will step up efforts. They include increasing R&D resources, nurturing and recruiting talents, providing investment funding to start-ups, developing I&T infrastructures, removing outdated legislation and regulations impeding I&T development, opening up government data for I&T research, including I&T as a government procurement criteria, as well as stepping up STEM education. Mrs Lam will also chair a new high-level Steering Committee on Innovation & Technology to forge ahead the policy commitments.

Tax breaks, increased funding to support R&D

The government will double the Gross Domestic Expenditure ratio on R&D to 1.5%, hence increasing the funding to US$5.7 billion per annum in the next five years. The resources boost will enable local universities to launch more R&D projects, said Secretary for Innovation and Technology Nicholas Yang. On the tax breaks announced by Chief Executive in the Policy Address to encourage the private sector to invest more on R&D, he hoped it would stimulate private sector investment and flip the ratio of public versus private sector expenditure on R&D, from government-led to private-sector-led.

Hong Kong’s 1st global biotech conference (Nov 22-25)

Join medical and science researchers, technology developers and entrepreneurs at Hong Kong Science Park for Hong Kong’s first global biotech conference on Nov 22-25. Participants will learn more on capturing Asia’s biotech market opportunities through Hong Kong and find partners, projects and funding from the world. Joseph Regenstein Distinguished Service Professor of University of Chicago and  Honorable President of Shenzhen International Institute for Biomedical Research, Bernard Roizman Sc.D. will give the keynote speech. Early bird registration (until Nov 1) is available. The first 200 registrations will receive a a special edition of Bauhinia DNA necklace (valued at US$200) by New York-based  designer Elaine Young. To register, click here: http://www.hkbio.org.hk/hkbh2017/index.php/en/.

Arts & Culture/HKETONY News

First ever large-scale design exhibition in Chicago opens

The “Confluence · 20+ Creative Ecologies of Hong Kong” exhibition opened on Oct 13 to more than 200 guests from Chicago’s design, business, and arts & culture sectors, including Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events Mark Kelly. Addressing the opening, Director of HKETONY Joanne Chu said she hoped this exhibition would usher in more collaboration between the two cities. The exhibition coincided with the timely release of a host of initiatives to promote creative industry, in particular design, by Chief Executive Carrie Lam in her first policy blueprint. Organized by Hong Kong Design Centre, and supported by CreateHK and HKETONY, “Confluence · 20+” through Nov 4 is a roving exhibition featuring signature works by more than 20 outstanding designers and celebrates the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the HKSAR. Chicago is the last and the only North American stop.  

Business

Increase in overseas and Mainland companies

The number of business operations in Hong Kong with parent companies overseas and in Mainland China climbed to 8,225 in 2017, compared to 7,986 a year ago. A survey done by Invest Hong Kong and the Census and Statistics Department on companies with parent companies located outside Hong Kong shows that about 45% are regional headquarters or regional offices while the remaining are local offices. These companies hired an all-time high of 443,000 people, a 2% increase from the previous year. Japan ranked first with 1,378 companies, followed by the US (1,313), Mainland China (1,264), the UK (675) and Singapore (408).

Basic Law

Hong Kong and its Basic Law

The Basic Law (BL) is the constitutional document of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). Put into effect on July 1, 1997, it enshrines within a legal document the important concept of “One Country, Two Systems.”

Q: Has the Central People’s Government or any Mainland province interfered in the administering of the HKSAR Government?

A: No. Hong Kong has enjoyed a high degree of autonomy since its return to the Motherland on July 1, 1997. In accordance with the Basic Law, the CPG has scrupulously upheld the principle of ‘one country, two systems’ and the promise of ‘Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong’. No department of CPG and no province, autonomous region or municipality directly under the CPG has interfered in the affairs which the HKSAR Government administers on its own in accordance with the Basic Law. (BL Articles 2; 12; 22)

Hong Kong Basic Law

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