Anti-epidemic policy explained

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government will continue its prevention and control measures taking into account the COVID-19 epidemic development and its anti-epidemic policy. These include containing the number of confirmed cases, managing risks and enhancing Hong Kong’s capability to respond to contingencies in order to prevent the healthcare system from being overloaded. In addition, the Government also aims to reduce critical cases and deaths, and protect high-risk groups. It will also strike a balance between risks and economic impetus in an effort to safeguard the livelihood of the public and Hong Kong's competitiveness. The Government will continue to take precise measures to control the epidemic and appeal to the community to join hands and encourage the elderly to get vaccinated early. Separately, Chief Executive John Lee said he has secured Mainland China’s support for his plan for travelers to first isolate in Hong Kong and then enter China quarantine-free. Details of the plan will be worked out by a task force prior to endorsement and implementation.


Expansion of financial markets’ mutual access

China Securities Regulatory Commission will move forward to include securities of overseas enterprises which have a primary listing in Hong Kong and fulfill certain conditions in the eligible scope of the southbound trading under Stock Connect. The commission will study to set up a renminbi (RMB) securities trading counter under the Stock Connect southbound trading and support the issuance of Chinese government bond futures in Hong Kong. Chief Executive John Lee said these measures are significant milestones of the mutual access between the two financial markets, enriching the investment choices for investors, attracting more overseas enterprises to list in Hong Kong, and providing risk management tools for Chinese government bond investments in Hong Kong. Financial Secretary Paul Chan said the measures will broaden the scope for the future development of Hong Kong's securities market, particularly the internationalization of listed companies as well as the issuance and trading of RMB securities.

Support for venture capital

Hong Kong and Shenzhen jointly promulgated (Sep 2) 18 measures to support the linked development of Shenzhen and Hong Kong venture capital in Qianhai. These measures complement the three-step strategy implemented by Hong Kong for developing the private equity fund market. These steps include the introduction of the limited partnership fund regime; tax concessions for carried interest distributed by eligible private equity funds; and establishment of a mechanism to attract foreign funds to re-domicile in Hong Kong. Secretary for Financial Services & the Treasury Christopher Hui said the promulgation of the joint policy package with the Qianhai Authority is a breakthrough and an innovation. Going forward, Hong Kong will explore with Qianhai more opportunities for financial development and promote Shenzhen-Hong Kong co-operation at a higher level under which the two cities can serve as dual engines in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

Seventh Belt & Road Summit opens

Over 6,000 senior government officials and business leaders took part in the seventh Belt & Road Summit (Aug 31-Sep 1) to discuss business and collaboration opportunities associated with the Belt & Road Initiative. In his opening address at the meeting, Chief Executive John Lee pointed out that the Belt & Road Initiative has brought about trade and investment co-operation, as well as infrastructure development, unleashing profound potential and opportunities. At a business plenary session, Financial Secretary Paul Chan emphasized Hong Kong’s competitiveness as an international financial, trading and shipping center. Hong Kong is also working to create a strong impetus for growth and to develop as an international I&T hub, there will be new policies and support measures to attract enterprises and talent. Secretary for Justice Paul Lam spoke on how the full-fledged legal and dispute resolution services in Hong Kong can provide strong support for investors and the dispute resolution sectors in navigating new opportunities along the Belt & Road.

Green bond report released

The HKSAR Government released (Aug 31) the Green Bond Report 2022, which sets out the allocation of the proceeds raised from green bond issuances, including that of the inaugural retail green bond issued this year, and the expected environmental benefits of the projects financed. Financial Secretary Paul Chan noted that green bonds are an important tool to facilitate capital flows towards green projects and the government will continue to promote market development through various measures so as to consolidate the city’s position as a regional and international green and sustainable finance hub. To date, Hong Kong has successfully issued government green bonds totaling close to US$10 billion equivalent, funding various green projects in Hong Kong and providing important benchmarks for potential issuers.


July retail sales up 4.1%

Hong Kong’s value of total retail sales in July, provisionally estimated at US$3.62 billion, grew 4.1% year-on-year. After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the provisional estimate of the volume of total retail sales for the month rose 1% year-on-year. Retail sales resumed a moderate year-on-year increase in July, as consumer spending was supported by improving labor market conditions. A lower base of comparison also partly contributed to the year-on-year increase. Looking ahead, tighter financial conditions and development of the local COVID-19 epidemic will have bearings on the retail sector's performance. But the Consumption Voucher Scheme will render support to consumption demand in the coming months. 

Port statistics for 2nd quarter of 2022

Hong Kong’s total port cargo throughput in the 2nd quarter of 2022 decreased by 5% year-on-year to 52.3 million tonnes. For the first half of 2022, total port cargo throughput decreased by 9.1% compared with the first half of 2021 to 94.7 million tonnes. In the second quarter of 2022, the port of Hong Kong handled 4.72 million TEUs of containers, representing an increase of 2.8% year-on-year. For the first half of 2022, the port of Hong Kong handled 8.43 million TEUs of containers, representing a decrease of 3.2% year-on-year.

Fiscal deficit recorded for first four months of financial year

Hong Kong recorded a US$17.23 billion deficit for the first four months of the current financial year. Expenditure for the period was US$32.14 billion and revenue was US$12.34 billion. The deficit was attributed mainly because some major types of revenue including salaries and profits taxes are mostly received towards the end of a financial year. Fiscal reserves stood at US$105.48 billion at the end of July.


Applications open for PhD Fellowship program

International students interested in pursuing full-time PhD degrees in Hong Kong, irrespective of their country of origin, prior work experience and ethnic background, are eligible to apply for the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme at eight of the city’s universities. The Fellowship offers an annual stipend of US$41,690 and a conference and research-related travel allowance of US$1,740 per year for each awardee for a period of up to three years. Interested candidates can submit their applications for the 2023/24 Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme by Dec 1.


Hong Kong and its Basic Law

The Basic Law 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: Have Hong Kong's capitalist system and way of life been preserved?

A: The Basic Law provides that the capitalist system and way of life shall remain unchanged. Hong Kong maintains a free and open market economy with a free flow of capital, goods, intangible assets, and a freely convertible currency. People's lifestyle remains the same as before. (BL Articles 5; 112; 115)

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