DEC 21 - 28, 2021
Striving to maintain zero infections
Over the past month, the epidemic situation has remained stable in Hong Kong and no local cases have been recorded for 80 consecutive days. Yet, with the recent surge in COVID-19 cases worldwide and the rising trend of imported cases with the Omicron variant, the quarantine measures for air cargo crew members have been tightened. Air cargo crew members are now required to undergo compulsory quarantine at a quarantine hotel for three days upon arrival in Hong Kong. Chief Executive Carrie Lam said that Hong Kong remains steadfast in its approach to guard against the COVID-19 virus variants, so that the anti-epidemic achievements made by Hong Kong people will not be wasted. Mrs Lam appealed to members of the public to get vaccinated to be protected against the virus and to create favorable conditions for the resumption of cross-boundary travel with the Mainland. 
Increase in R&D spending
Hong Kong’s gross domestic expenditure on research and development (GERD) amounted to US$3,404 million in 2020, representing approximately 25% increase compared with the corresponding figure in 2017. The GERD as a ratio to the GDP increased to 0.99%. Analyzed by performing sector, the expenditure on R&D activities performed in the business, higher education and government sectors amounted to US$1,415 million, US$1,811 million and US$176 million respectively in 2020. Hong Kong, with access to investors, incubators and a pool of talent, offers a world of opportunities to build, finance and market game-changing technology. The city is also home to some of the world’s most exciting fintech. Hear what Benjamin Treves, Head of Asia Pacific at FQX AG, has to say about why Hong Kong is the perfect platform to drive a sustainable, inclusive financial future.
Fintech developments in good progress
Representatives of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government and financial regulators exchanged views on the latest fintech developments with those from the financial services sector, academia and research institutions at the first meeting (Dec 28) of the Coordination Group on Implementation of Fintech Initiatives, chaired by Secretary for Financial Services & the Treasury Christopher Hui. On the one-stop platform for fintech innovation supervisory co-operation being built by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and the People's Bank of China in the form of a network link-up in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, the two parties are working closely to finalize the implementation details as soon as possible. In addition, the Commercial Data Interchange platform has now entered the pilot launch stage and is expected to be officially launched by the end of next year. 
e-Visa service launched
Hong Kong launched (Dec 28) the electronic services for visa application and e-Visa arrangement, under which applicants can complete the entire visa application process online. Under the new services, eligible applicants can submit their visa applications online through the department's mobile application, its website or the GovHK website. Once their applications are approved, applicants can use the online payment service to pay the relevant fee and instantly download the e-Visa, which can be printed and saved as a PDF file on a mobile device. An e-Visa contains a QR code, generated by the department’s official encryption key, for anti-forgery purposes.
Legal cloud service pact signed
Hong Kong signed (Dec 22) a memorandum of understanding with eBRAM International Online Dispute Resolution Centre on the provision of Hong Kong Legal Cloud services. The Department of Justice will provide funding support of around US$2 million, through the Hong Kong Legal Cloud Fund, to enhance the capability of the legal profession to harness modern technology in the provision of legal and dispute resolution services. It also aims to encourage local legal and dispute resolution communities to subscribe to the cloud services developed by a selected non-profit-making non-governmental body through public-private partnership.
Phillips to relocate Asian headquarters to cultural district
International leading auction house Phillips will relocate its Asian headquarters to vibrant West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD). Spanning 48,000 square-foot on six floors, Phillips will have a permanent, purpose-built exhibition space and sales room, allowing for year-round events and auctions. The move reinforces the company's commitment to the region and responds to global market demands. Announcing this important milestone for Phillips, its Executive Chairman Edward Dolman said, “This expansion of our presence in Hong Kong is an affirmation that Asia is a leading force in the global art ecosystem.” CEO of the WKCD Authority Betty Fung said both WKCD and Phillips share a common vision for promoting arts and cultural development. “We believe that Phillips’ new home in the District is poised to become a worldwide destination for collectors in Hong Kong, Asia and beyond.”
Six medals won at Science Olympiad
A team of six Hong Kong students have won two gold and four silver medals at the18th International Junior Science Olympiad (Dec 12 – 21). Open to students aged 15 or below, the competition covers physics, chemistry and biology and comprises written assessments and science experiments. Around 320 students from 70 countries and regions participated in the event. Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung congratulated the Hong Kong team on their excellent performance. He said the Education Bureau will continue its support on science, technology, engineering and mathematics education to nurture technology talents and encourage them to pursue a career in innovation and scientific research.
Ringing in the New Year!
Ring in the New Year with a dazzling light art extravaganza, featuring radiant lights along the entire Victoria Harbour waterfront and the city’s flagship Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, at the West Kowloon Cultural District! The countdown clock will be seen on the 215-feet tall LED façade of the newly-opened M+ museum. Join in the New Year Countdown Celebrations to be livestreamed on the Hong Kong Tourism Board’s YouTube channel on Dec 31.
  • The values of Hong Kong’s total goods exports increased to US$60.8 billion in November, up 25% year-on-year. The value of imports of goods rose 20% to US$62.3 billion for the same period. A trade deficit of US$1.5 billion, or 2.4% of the value of imports was recorded for the month.

  • Overall consumer prices rose 1.8% in November year-on-year, marginally larger than the 1.7% growth in October. Compared with November last year, price increases were seen in electricity, gas and water, clothing and footwear, transport, meals out and takeaway food, basic food, durable goods and miscellaneous services.

  • Hong Kong recorded a Balance of Payment (BoP) surplus of US$3.4 billion (3.7% of GDP) in the third quarter of 2021, compared with a BoP deficit of US$4.8 billion (5.5% of GDP) in the previous quarter. At the end of the third quarter of 2021, both Hong Kong’s external financial assets and liabilities stood at a very high level, amounting to US$6,428 billion (17.7 times of GDP) and US$4,295 billion (11.9 times of GDP) respectively, a typical feature of a prominent international financial center.
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: Are Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong with a high degree of autonomy?
A: In accordance with the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, the National People’s Congress (NPC) enacted the Basic Law, authorizing the HKSAR to exercise a high degree of autonomy and enjoy executive, legislative and independent judicial powers, including that of final adjudication, in accordance with the Basic Law. The Central People’s Government (CPG) shall be responsible for the foreign affairs and defense relating to the HKSAR and other matters authorized by the Basic Law. It also authorizes the HKSAR to conduct relevant external affairs on its own in accordance with the Basic Law. The HKSAR shall have independent finances and shall use its financial revenues exclusively for its own purposes. We are not required to pay taxes to the CPG. (BL Preamble and BL Articles 2; 12-17; 19; 22; 106)

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