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DECEMBER 19 - 27, 2023

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Survey affirms Hong Kong as preferred destination for enterprises

Hong Kong is the preferred destination for enterprises to set up or expand their businesses, according to the 2023 Annual Survey of Companies in Hong Kong with Parent Companies Located outside Hong Kong. The city saw 9,039 companies with parent companies outside Hong Kong in 2023, a recovery to pre-pandemic high levels. The total number of people engaged by these companies was around 468,000. Among these companies, a total of 1,273 were from US, representing an increase by 15 companies compared with 2022. Start-ups in Hong Kong also continue to flourish, with the number of start-ups reaching a record high of 4,257, up 272 from last year, according to the 2023 Startup Survey. These start-ups engaged 16,453 persons, up by 10% compared to 2022’s figure. They spanned across different business sectors, such as financial technology, e-commerce, supply chain management and logistics technology.

 New investment entrant scheme outlined

Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Christopher Hui, announced (Dec 19) the details of the new Capital Investment Entrant Scheme (CIES), which will accept applications from eligible persons aged 18 or above. The applicant must invest of a minimum of HK$30 million (US$3.8 million) in the permissible investment assets, including a minimum of HK$27 million (around US$3.4 million) in permissible financial assets and non-residential real estate and HK$3 million (around US$0.4 million) into a new CIES Investment Portfolio.  Upon successful application, an applicant may bring his or her dependants, including a spouse and unmarried dependent children aged under 18 years, to Hong Kong. Upon a period of continuous ordinary residence in Hong Kong of not less than seven years, they may apply to become Hong Kong permanent residents. Mr Hui said the new scheme will help strengthen the development of the asset and wealth management, financial and related professional service sectors in Hong Kong, and bring more business opportunities and high-quality job prospects to all segments of the industry.


Maritime and port strategies promulgated

Hong Kong promulgated (Dec 20) the Action Plan on Maritime & Port Development Strategy, setting out 10 strategies and 32 action measures to support the sustainable development needs of Hong Kong’s maritime and port industry. They fall under four directions: enhancing port competitiveness; strengthening high value-added maritime services; promoting the Hong Kong maritime brand and grooming talent; and supporting the Maritime & Port Board. One of the strategies is to develop Hong Kong as a green and smart port, so as to contribute towards the national carbon emission reduction target. Tax concessions will be offered in a bid to attract international maritime enterprises. Secretary for Transport & Logistics Lam Sai-hung said the target is to strengthen the competitiveness of Hong Kong port and accelerate the growth of Hong Kong’s high value-added maritime services cluster with a view to entrenching Hong Kong’s status as an international maritime centre.


Overall Development Plans for Qianhai and Hengqin announced

The Central Government of the People’s Republic of China promulgated (Dec 21) the Overall Development Plan for the Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong Modern Service Industry Co-operation Zone and the Overall Development Plan for the Guangdong-Macao Zone in Hengqin. Welcoming the announcement, Chief Executive John Lee said Hong Kong will capitalise on the city’s distinctive advantages under the “one country, two systems” principle, to seize the new opportunities brought about by the development of Qianhai and Hengqin, and take forward developments of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA). Hong Kong will consolidate and enhance its advantages and deepen co-operation with Shenzhen, so as to support Qianhai in seeking more policy breakthroughs for implementation on a pilot basis.  With the promulgation of the Qianhai Overall Development Plan, Hong Kong-Shenzhen co-operation will scale new heights at which the two cities can fully leverage the 'dual engines' roles to drive the development in the GBA, thereby developing the GBA into a world-class innovation platform and growth pole.


Holiday cheers in Hong Kong

Hong Kong celebrated the festive season with glowing Christmas light displays adorning the city and draping skyscrapers and shopping malls all decked up along with a series of festive events and experiences. Among the many attractions is the newly revamped Temple Street, which now features a multicultural food market along with new art installations that create the perfect retro vibes of Hong Kong. The celebration continues with the return of Hong Kong’s New Year Countdown later this week, which would include a firework musical extravaganza of unprecedented size and duration. Catch the livestream of the event here!


Men’s tennis ranking tournament returns to Hong Kong

The ATP Professional Tennis Tour returns to Hong Kong for the first time in 21 years. Taking place Dec 31, 2023 to Jan 7, 2024, the Bank of China Hong Kong Tennis Open 2024 will feature elite men’s tennis players at the iconic Victoria Park Tennis Court. To date, over 50 elite players have signed up, including Mackenzie McDonald, Frances Tiafoe, Marin Cilic, Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov. Hong Kong’s Jack Wong, who has been granted a singles qualifying wild card into the tournament, will join the city’s No.1 Coleman Wong and the Mainland China star Shang Juncheng.


Global Healthcare Professional Recruitment Centre established

Hong Kong has set up the Hospital Authority Global Healthcare Professional Recruitment Centre to co-ordinate the recruitment and exchange programmes of non-locally trained healthcare professionals from around the world, with an aim to expand the manpower pool of the Hong Kong public healthcare system to cope with the growing service demand. The Centre is planning further recruitment events globally in 2024 and will also explore collaboration opportunities with healthcare professional bodies and institutions in various places to co-ordinate exchange programmes in different formats. A dedicated website will be launched to provide one-stop service, including latest information and job application submission for healthcare professionals who are interested in working in Hong Kong.


Domestic expenditure on innovation for 2022 increased by 8%

Hong Kong’s gross domestic expenditure on research and development (GERD) in 2022 amounted to US$3,863 million, representing an 8% year-on-year increase. The GERD as a ratio to the GDP in 2022 was 1.07%. The expenditure on research and development activities performed in the business, higher education and government sectors amounted to US$1,586 million, US$2,096 million and US$181 million respectively in 2022.


Unemployment rate remains at 2.9%

Hong Kong’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 2.9% in the three months from September to November, unchanged from the previous three-month period. The underemployment rate also remained at 1%. The unemployment rates of various sectors stayed low from September to November, mostly showing only small changes compared with the preceding three-month period. The expected further recovery of inbound tourism and private consumption will continue to underpin labour demand.

Inflation at 2.6% in November

Consumer prices rose 2.6% year-on-year in November, a slightly smaller decline than that registered in October. Netting out the effects of the Government’s one-off relief measures, the underlying inflation rate was 1.6%, also slightly lower than that seen in October. Looking ahead, the overall inflation might stay moderate in the near term and that external price pressures are expected to soften further. Domestic business costs could face upward pressures as the economy continues to recover.


Hong Kong and its Basic Law

The Basic Law (BL) is the constitutional document of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). It provides the guarantees to maintain our existing way of life, including socio-economic development, the rights and duties of Hong Kong people, the rule of law and other areas. The Basic Law was put into effect on July 1, 1997.

Q: Have Hong Kong's capitalist system and way of life been preserved?

A: Yes. 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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