July 7 - 13, 2020
Hong Kong continues to be free and open
Hong Kong will continue to be a free and open society , said Chief Executive Carrie Lam at an online conference (Jul 7) of the StartmeupHK Festival . “The rule of law including an independent judiciary will be as robust as ever. In short, the favorable factors of Hong Kong in attracting start-ups remain unchanged,” Mrs Lam added. This year’s StartmeupHK Festival, which ran from July 6 - 10, went virtual due to the COVID-19 outbreak. It attracted more than 14,000 entrepreneurs, investors, and industry gurus taking part from all over the world.
Institutional advantages remain intact
Hong Kong’s institutional advantages that have made the city a leading international financial center are very much intact, said Financial Secretary Paul Chan (Jul 10) at another online forum of StartmeupHK Festival 2020. He cited that Hong Kong placed fifth in the IMD’s annual World Competitiveness Yearbook, ranking first in “Government Efficiency” and second, overall, in “Business Efficiency”. Hong Kong also ranked second globally in the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom, topping the world in “Business Freedom”, “Trade Freedom”, “Financial Freedom” and “Fiscal Health”. In addition, the city led the world in funds raised through IPOs in 2019 - the seventh time in the past 11 years. The Financial Secretary reiterated that Hong Kong remains the business bridge between the Mainland and the western world. 
Limited Partnership Fund Bill passed
Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Christopher Hui welcomes the passage of the Limited Partnership Fund Bill by the Legislative Council (Jul 9). The new Ordinance, effective Aug 31, will enable funds to be registered in the form of limited partnerships in Hong Kong. Mr Hui said that as Hong Kong strives to develop into an international asset and wealth management center, the new Ordinance made impressive strides on this front in attracting investment funds to set up and operate in Hong Kong. This would further promote the city’s private equity market and drive demand for local related professional services, and in turn strengthen its position as an international financial center.
Aid for Convention and Exhibition Industry
To reinvigorate the convention and exhibition (C&E) industry, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government set up the Convention and Exhibition Industry Subsidy Scheme under the Anti-epidemic Fund with a commitment of US$130 million to subsidize participants and organizers of C&E activities. The first part of the program subsidizes 50% of the participation fees for exhibitors of exhibitions organized by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) with a cap of US$1,282 per standard booth and 10 booths per exhibitor each time. Participants of the council's major conventions can also receive a subsidy equivalent to 50% of their participation fees, subject to a cap of US$1,282 each time. The program, to be launched Jul 16, is applicable to all the HKTDC’s exhibitions and major conventions that start during the period. The second part of the scheme, to be launched on Jul 24, subsidizes 100% of the venue rental without a cap for organizers of exhibitions and international conventions held at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre and AsiaWorld-Expo. It is applicable to all exhibitions and international conventions commenced during the period. Both parts of the scheme will run for 12 months from their respective start dates. 
More than 48,000 new companies registered
Hong Kong saw 48,760 newly registered local companies in the first half of 2020. This resulted in a total of 1,381,355 local companies registered in the city under the Companies Ordinance at the end of June this year. During the same period, 876 non-Hong Kong companies were newly registered under the Companies Ordinance. The total number of registered non-Hong Kong companies reached 13,117 by the end of June 2020.
Security measures clarified
More than half of the measures for safeguarding national security in Hong Kong are practices that currently exist in Hong Kong’s laws, Secretary for Security John Lee said (Jul 7). Citing the power to search, Mr Lee explained that in general situations, such power will be conducted under a warrant issued by the court. But in “exceptional circumstances” where evidence may be destroyed in a short period of time or the person responsible may have a chance to escape, police officers can search the premises without applying for a search warrant. “Such practice actually exists in current laws,” Mr Lee said. He emphasized that there are checks and balances in all these measures, adding that the procedures to implement them do comply with the protection of human rights and the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights.
Funding and measures to boost film industry
The HKSAR Government has earmarked around US$33.3 million under the Film Development Fund to implement five major measures to re-energize Hong Kong’s film industry through nurturing young directors and scriptwriting talents and enhancing professional training. The five measures are the Directors’ Succession Scheme, relaxation of the Film Production Financing Scheme; the Scriptwriting Incubation Programme, short-term advanced training programs and the enhanced First Feature Film Initiative. Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Edward Yau said the Government is committed to providing multi-pronged support for the trade to go through this difficult period and sustaining the success story of Hong Kong films.
Social distancing measures tightened
The HKSAR Government has tightened social-distancing rules , in view of the recent rise in the number of local COVID-19 cases. These include mandatory mask-wearing on public transport, banning dine-in service in restaurants from 6pm until 5am, with only four people allowed per table in restaurants and the closure of premises such as bars, karaoke lounges and gyms. Ocean Park and Hong Kong Disneyland will also close temporarily. The number of persons allowed in any public gathering in public places will also be pared from 50 to 4. The new rules will take effect on July 15. Speaking at a press conference (Jul 13), Chief Executive Carrie Lam also said that the government will continue to help the businesses under the Employment Support Scheme and the Anti-epidemic Fund.  
  • Hong Kong's foreign currency reserves amounted to US$445.9 billion as at the end of June 2020, compared with US$442.4 billion at the end of May 2020. The total foreign currency reserve assets of US$445.9 billion represent over six times the currency in circulation or about 46 per cent of Hong Kong dollar M3.
Hong Kong and its Basic Law
The Basic Law (BL) is the constitutional document of the HKSAR. Put into effect on July 1, 1997, it enshrines within a legal document the important concept of “One Country, Two Systems”. 

Q: Is Hong Kong an easy place to visit for tourists or international business people?
A: Yes, very much so. Hong Kong has autonomy in immigration control. It maintains its own immigration laws and procedures and has a very liberal visa policy. As of February 2020, 168 countries or territories have granted visa-free access or visa-on-arrival to HKSAR passport holders. ( BL Articles 154; 155 )
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