Hong Kong Digest

March 4, 2024

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2024-25 BUDGET

Financial Secretary unveils 2024-25 Budget

Financial Secretary Paul Chan unveiled his 2024-25 Budget on Feb 28. Themed “Advance with Confidence, Seize Opportunities, Strive for High-quality Development”, the latest Budget includes a raft of measures to bolster confidence and create favourable conditions for Hong Kong’s economic recovery amid a complicated and ever-changing international environment. A series of targeted measures were announced alongside the budget which aims to continuing to attract enterprises, capital and talent on all fronts, and support business and people’s livelihood. In 2023, the Hong Kong economy staged a recovery with real GDP resuming growth of 3.2%. The Hong Kong economy will expand further in 2024, with growth of 2.5 to 3.5 percent in real terms for the year as a whole. In the medium term, the Hong Kong economy is expected to grow by an average of 3.2% per annum in real terms from 2025 to 2028, benefiting from deepening reforms and further opening-up in Mainland China. 


HKETONY promotes HK's fintech and I&T in Atlanta

The Director of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in New York (HKETONY), Maisie Ho, visited Atlanta, Georgia (Feb 21-23) to promote Hong Kong's fintech and innovation and technology (I&T). She hosted a luncheon and a breakfast meeting where she gave a briefing on the latest development of fintech in Hong Kong to the attending representatives from local government, chambers of commerce, advance technology development centres and enterprises in the technology sector. Speaking at a Lunar New Year business forum organised by the Hong Kong Association of Atlanta, World Trade Center Atlanta and the Office of International Initiatives of Georgia State University, Ms Ho highlighted the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government's key strategies in further enhancing the city's I&T ecosystem and promoting global collaboration. Ms Ho also met with representatives from Georgia Institute of Technology, Emory University and Georgia State University to introduce them various talent admission schemes, and met with the President of World Affairs Council of Atlanta to provide her with latest updates on Hong Kong's post-pandemic recovery and new economic drivers for the city. During her stay in Atlanta, Ms Ho hosted a spring reception at Georgia Aquarium on Feb 21 for some 200 guests from the city's political, business and finance, as well as academic communities.


New investment scheme launched

Hong Kong’s new Capital Investment Entrant Scheme has been launched. An eligible applicant is required to make investment of a minimum of HK$30 million in the permissible investment assets in the city. Successful applicants may bring their spouses and unmarried dependent children aged under 18 to Hong Kong. Upon a period of continuous ordinary residence of not less than seven years, they may apply to become Hong Kong permanent residents in accordance with the law. Secretary for Financial Services & the Treasury Christopher Hui said the launch of the scheme demonstrates the HKSAR Government’s commitment to strengthening the development of asset and wealth management business, financial services and related professional services as well as driving the high-quality development in Hong Kong. The Director-General of Investment Promotion at InvestHK Alpha Lau said they had already received applications on the first day of the launch, which shows that high-networth individuals have confidence in Hong Kong's stable business environment and are interested in the diverse investment channels the city has to offer.

American logistics payment company sets up regional office in Hong Kong

American logistics industry multi-modal payment network PayCargo has opened its first regional office in Hong Kong as part of its overseas expansion plan in Asia via the city, showing a vote of confidence in Hong Kong’s vibrant fintech ecosystem. The Commercial Director of Asia of PayCargo, Morgan Law, said that their decision was based on Hong Kong’s open business environment, robust rule of law, as well as status as a global financial centre, which offers unparalleled access to a sophisticated banking infrastructure.

HK attracts overs 240k talents since end of 2022

Hong Kong’s various talent admission schemes have attracted over 240,000 applications since the end of 2022, according to a recent survey by Labour and Welfare Bureau. These include 70 000 applications submitted through the Top Talent Pass Scheme. Some 55 000 of the top talent applications have been approved and more than 40,000 applicants have arrived in Hong Kong. For top talent who have already secured employment in the city, their median monthly income was HK$50,000. A quarter of them were earning a monthly income of over HK$100,000. The Top Talent Pass Scheme is estimated to contribute directly to Hong Kong's economy by an amount of some HK$34 billion in value-added per annum. That's equivalent to 1.2% of the city’s GDP.


Hong Kong International Academy Against Corruption established

The Hong Kong International Academy Against Corruption has been established. Speaking at the establishment ceremony and ICAC (Independent Commission Against Corruption) 50th Anniversary Reception (Feb 21), Chief Executive John Lee said that the HKSAR Government is dedicated to working with every part of Hong Kong society, as well as its counterparts around the world, in fostering a culture sustained by probity. He added that the Academy will offer anti-corruption training courses for graft fighters in Hong Kong and around the world, and serve as an international research and exchange centre for anti-corruption experts from different parts of the globe. The Academy's initiatives, Mr Lee said, will boost Hong Kong's status as an anti-corruption centre, while promoting the city’s clean society, social stability and the value Hong Kong places on integrity and the rule of law.


SCED attends 13th WTO Ministerial Conference in Abu Dhabi

Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Algernon Yau attended the 13th WTO Ministerial Conference in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates (Feb 26-29). At a meeting on dispute settlement reform, Mr Yau stressed that Hong Kong has been involved in every stage of the reform process in relation to dispute settlement and will continue its active participation. Speaking at a session on e-commerce, Mr Yau called on WTO members to ensure a predictable and tariff-free environment for the continued development and prosperity of digital trade. On the sidelines of the conference, Mr Yau held bilateral meetings with Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Panama, Costa Rica, Malaysia, and Austria to exchange views on issues of mutual interests.


HK hosts Technology for Change Asia

Some 50 heavyweight speakers and over 450 industry leaders from around the world joined the first Technology for Change Asia in Hong Kong (Feb 27-28). Among them were the founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales and futurologist and popular science writer, Michio Kaku. Organised by Economist Impact, the event explored the opportunities and challenges of rapid technology advances in areas such as AI, Web3, quantum computing and more. The next edition of the event will also be held in Hong Kong in Mar 2025.

Hong Kong Green Week successfully concluded

Industry leaders from the Asia-Pacific region gathered in Hong Kong to share invaluable insights and explore potential opportunities in green technology and green finance at the Hong Kong Green Week (Feb 26- Mar 2). Aiming to promote a more sustainable future for Hong Kong and beyond, this highly anticipated event featured a comprehensive line-up of activities, including keynote addresses, panel discussions, roundtable dialogues, fireside chats, and lightning talks. Speaking at one of the highlight events during the Hong Kong Green Week, the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury said that Hong Kong is the top international green and sustainable bond arranger in Asia, taking up over one-third of the market; while 70 per cent of enterprises in the Greater Bay Area would consider using more of Hong Kong's green products and services over the next two years. The Government is committed to promote the development of "green finance" and Hong Kong's crucial role in combating climate change on a global scale. 

Art March 2024

Arts enthusiasts, take notes! A series of mega arts and cultural events will take place in Hong Kong in March under the new brand “Art March 2024”! Get ready for two major art exhibitions, Art Basel and Art Central, which will showcase a diverse collection of artworks from around the world. That’s not all; prepare for an exciting first in Asia with the ComplexCon exhibition, where you’ll find a convergence of influential brands and artists making their mark on the global stage. Did we mention the 52nd Hong Kong Arts Festival, the 48th Hong Kong International Film Festival and Hong Kong International Cultural Summit 2024? Explore all the happenings here.

Did you know...

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: Does the HKSAR Government have complete control over fiscal and economic policies and safeguard the free movement of goods, assets and capital?

A: The HKSAR Government formulates its own economic policies; manages its finances independently; prepares its own budgets; issues its own freely convertible currency; practices an independent taxation system; keeps its low and simple tax regime; formulates its own monetary and financial policies; safeguards the free flow of capital; maintains the status of a free port; pursues a policy of free trade and protects the free movement of goods, intangible assets and capital. (BL Articles 62; 106-119)

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