OCT 5 - 12, 2021
Startups in Hong Kong reach record high
The number of foreign and Mainland companies and startups in Hong Kong has reached a record high, illustrating that the city is still an attractive place to do business, according to the latest survey conducted by Invest Hong Kong and the Census and Statistics Department. The city’s start-up scene remains vibrant, with the number of start-ups increasing by 68.5% from the 2017 figure to 3,755 this year. The number of overseas and Mainland companies in Hong Kong increased by 10% from 8,225 in 2017 to 9,049 in 2021. Among them are 1,457 companies operating as regional headquarters, 2,483 as regional offices and 5,109 as local offices.
Hong Kong plays key international trade role
Hong Kong plays an important role in international trade with its unique and highly internationalized business environment, said Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau (Oct 12). In 2021, Hong Kong’s global ranking in terms of total merchandise trade value rose to the sixth place. Benefitting from the stable supply chains maintained through effective control of the epidemic in the Mainland, the value of Hong Kong’s total merchandise trade has rebounded and hit a record high of US$834.6 billion for the first eight months of this year. Noting that the nation is the major growth engine and driving force for the global economy, Mr Yau said the country’s various plans have brought unlimited opportunities for enterprises and professional services providers in Hong Kong. Meanwhile, to help the convention and exhibition (C&E) industry cope with the challenges brought about by the prolonged epidemic, the validity period of the C&E Industry Subsidy Scheme will be extended to the end of 2022.
Hong Kong to join international tax reform
Hong Kong will actively participate in and implement the framework for international tax reform on base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS 2.0) and its implementation plan. The framework was announced by the Organization for Economic Co-operation & Development (OECD) on Oct 8. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government noted that the BEPS 2.0 package targets primarily large multinational enterprise (MNE) groups. The standard rate of Hong Kong’s profits tax at 16.5% is competitive internationally and the city’s simple and transparent tax regime is well received by investors. The Government said it will carefully study recommendations to be submitted by its advisory panel on how Hong Kong should comply with the requirements after the OECD finalizes the model rules and at the same time maintain the strengths of Hong Kong’s tax system and endeavor to minimize the compliance burden of the large MNE groups.
Legislative amendment to combat tax evasion
Hong Kong will make legislative amendments to combat cross-border tax evasion. As an international financial center, Hong Kong has actively participated in and supportive of international tax co-operation. To support combating cross-border tax evasion, the HKSAR Government has committed to the European Union to amend the Inland Revenue Ordinance by the end of next year and implement relevant measures in 2023. The proposed legislative amendments will merely target corporations, particularly those with no substantial economic activity in Hong Kong, that make use of passive income to evade tax across a border. Individual taxpayers will not be affected. Financial institutions' offshore interest income is currently subject to profits tax under the ordinance and hence the legislative amendments will not increase their tax burden.
I&T initiatives elaborated
Highlighting the central government’s support and the HKSAR Government’s US$16.6 billion commitment to develop Hong Kong as an international innovation & technology (I&T) hub, Secretary for Innovation & Technology Alfred Sit elaborated on the I&T initiatives outlined in the 2021 Policy Address in meetings with the startup community (Oct 12), stakeholders in the academic (Oct 8) and industry (Oct 11) sectors. These include earmarking several sites for I&T use and forming a spatial framework of “Twin Cities, Three Circles” to expedite the city’s I&T development. An InnoLife Healthtech Hub will be set up in the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation & Technology Park to focus on related research work in life and health disciplines. The San Tin Technopole and the Shenzhen I&T zone will form the Shenzhen-Hong Kong I&T Co-operation Zone of 540 hectares and enhance the development of an international I&T hub in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. The Government is also committed to promoting re-industrialization to develop high-end manufacturing based on new technologies that would enhance competitiveness.
Climate Action Plan 2050 unveiled
The HKSAR Government unveiled Hong Kong’s Climate Action Plan 2050, outlining the strategies and targets for combating climate change and achieving carbon neutrality. The four major decarbonization strategies and measures are net-zero electricity generation, energy saving and green buildings, green transport, and waste reduction. The Green and Sustainable Finance Cross-Agency Steering Group welcomes and fully supports the latest Climate Action Plan, noting that this would further consolidate Hong Kong’s position as the green finance hub for Asia and the Mainland, and accelerate the growth of green and sustainable finance in the city.
Pressing ahead with vaccination
As of Oct 11, over 67% of Hong Kong people have been administered their first vaccine dose, said Secretary for Food & Health Prof Sophia Chan (Oct 12), adding that the HKSAR Government will continue to press ahead with the vaccination of target groups, particularly senior citizens aged over 70. It will also consider experts’ advice, make reference to international experiences as well as overseas practices, and continue to discuss with drug manufacturers on the purchase of vaccine booster doses or the next generation of vaccines which can better address variants of concern. Prof Chan also said the HKSAR Government will donate 7.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to the COVID-19 vaccine Global Access (COVAX) Facility as the city’s procurement of the 15 million doses of the Sinovac and the BioNTech vaccines for emergency use are sufficient for all citizens to have a two-dose vaccination.
Hong Kong movies to close Chicago film series
The dystopian thriller “Limbo” by Hong Kong director Soi Cheang, and featuring award-winning actor Gordon Lam Ka-tung will be shown tonight (Oct 12) as the Closing Night film of the Asian Pop-Up Cinema in Chicago. Separately, the world premiere of Hong Kong comedy “The Dishwasher Squad” has been rescheduled to Oct 17. The world premiere will also feature bonus videos as well as an insightful Q&A session after the feature presentation. Audience at both of these cinema drive-in screenings will get a chance to take home a miniature Hong Kong tram. Get your tickets before it is too late!
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: Can foreign enterprises participate fully in Hong Kong’s economy?
A: Yes. Hong Kong welcomes and encourages the participation of foreign enterprises, and provides a level playing field for all. There are no foreign exchange controls in Hong Kong and no restrictions on the trading of gold, securities, futures and the like. The Basic Law stipulates that Hong Kong shall maintain the status of a free port, pursue the policy of free trade and safeguard the free movement of goods, intangible assets and capital. (BL Articles 112; 114; 115)

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