Industry Spotlight: Hong Kong
Welcome to Sleek’s Industry Spotlight, a monthly series that rounds up all that is buzzing in the world of business, finance, and entrepreneurship. We’ve got all the essential information that you need to know for your business – right here.
October news highlight
Hong Kong policy address
In his first Policy Address, Chief Executive John Lee announced new strategies to attract mainland and overseas talent to the region. Some of these strategies include:
- Launching the Office for Attracting Strategic Enterprises (OASES) to draw good talent
- Encouraging graduates from top universities to work in the region
- Implementing a visa before a job offer through the ‘Top Talent Pass Scheme’
More funding for SMEs, extended rental and fee concessions
Further support will be given to help support SMEs. These include:
- Raising the ceiling for funding for
- Branding, Upgrading and Domestic Sales (BUD fund): from HK$6 million to HK$7 million.
- SME Export Marketing Fund: From HK$800,000 to HK$1 million.
- Setting up of new branding centres:
- Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Guangdong
- GoGBA Business Support Centers
Changes to the Companies Registry
From 24th October 2022, Phase 2 of the new inspection regime of the register of the Companies Registry will be rolled out. Under this phase, Hong Kong companies will be able to limit the disclosure of certain personal information of their directors and secretaries to the public.
Hong Kong ties for first in Asia for mobile banking experience
The International Mobile Banking Benchmark, conducted by Sia Partners, has revealed Hong Kong to provide the best mobile banking experience in Asia, tying with Singapore – and fifth worldwide.
“Hong Kong mobile banking standards showed a significant year-over-year improvement in 2022 and are catching up with Western peers,” said Jeremy Fetiveau, associate partner in Sia Partners’ Hong Kong office.
Russian companies considering Hong Kong as a business haven
Companies in Russia are exploring Hong Kong as an alternative for business opportunities. One draw factor to the region could be China’s friendly relations with Moscow, which have been maintained as the political situation continues. This offers a window of opportunity for outside capital for the affected companies.
September news highlight
Unemployment falls but Hong Kong’s economic growth remains uncertain
The Census and Statistics Department reported that the unemployment rate in Hong Kong fell to 4.1%, with the number of unemployed residents dropping from 168,200 in May-July to 161,900 in June-August.
Despite this, industry experts are cautious about Hong Kong’s overall recovery as exports in July fell by 16.2% in volume amidst the tightened financial conditions and the rebound in Covid infections.
Bolder steps set to revive Hong Kong’s business growth
Experts are calling for the Hong Kong government to take more aggressive measures in their roadmap to post-COVID living. This came after many postulate that current measures, such as Hong Kong’s new “zero-plus-three” quarantine policy, must be further updated in order for the region to retain its global competitive edge.
Fintech ecosystem still going strong
Hong Kong’s fintech ecosystem will continue to remain “very strong” according to Neil Tan, chairman of the Fintech Association of Hong Kong (FTAHK). Mr Tan believes that despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic, Hong Kong will be able to overcome these adversities and remain resilient.
Mr Tan highlights accelerator programs, special-purpose acquisition companies (SPACs), and cross-border connect schemes as being key to the development of Hong Kong’s ecosystem.
Hong Kong strives to lure in new talent
The Hong Kong government is planning to seek new talent in the fintech and Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) sector. The government is currently planning to do this by offering benefits such as HK$10 million in fintech proof-of-concept cash subsidies and easier immigration for individuals with a bachelor’s degree in ESG and relevant experience.
F&B establishments in hot water
Approximately 8,000 restaurants in Hong Kong are at risk of closure as rent deferral periods comes to end. This deferment period was introduced to help F&B establishments cope amidst the pandemic’s challenging times. As social distancing measures continue to persist, many landlords are unable to extend the deferment period, resulting in tenants having to pay their outstanding months of rental.