28 February 2018
Hong Kong: AustCham welcomes today’s budget by Hong Kong SAR Financial Secretary Paul Chan which rolled out a concrete suite of measures to underpin the territory’s future amid a changing demographic.
With a record HK$138 billion fiscal surplus, the chamber welcomes the future focus of the administration aiming to equip Hong Kong for the long-term setting aside HK$50 billion to enhance the territory’s innovation and technology industry.
“This welcome injection of funds signals that this administration is serious about Hong Kong’s commitment to building a smarter future and to creating a dynamic environment in which to live and work, thereby continuing to attract the best and brightest minds from across the region,” said AustCham Chief Executive Jacinta Reddan.
Mr Chan announced $10 billion towards the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTPC) for research-related infrastructure and support for its tenants and incubatees, as well as to set up a Smart Campus in the Park. “The Chamber is pleased to see such a significant investment from the Hong Kong government into the innovation and technology ecosystem and will continue work to facilitate the exchange of talent, ideas and opportunities between the two markets. Initiatives such as Cyberport’s “easy landing” program help foster closer relations between Hong Kong and overseas markets. Increasingly early stage Australian companies are looking towards Hong Kong as a source of collaboration, customers and capital. This budget reinforces such positive messaging and Hong Kong’s positioning as an I&T hub in North Asia.” said Ms Reddan.
“Hong Kong’s natural dynamism and entrepreneurial spirit is an ideal environment in which start-ups should thrive given the right foundation of financial support and strong ecosystem.”
AustCham also welcomed the focus on bio-tech, noting that Australia boasted some of the world’s leading innovations in this sector. “As well, we note the focus on the provision of aged care services and financial and medical assistance for the elderly which is much needed as Hong Kong’s population ages,” she said.
The chamber also welcomes the Hong Kong government’s push to promote the wider adoption of innovative technology in the construction sector including building information modelling (BIM) technology and Modular Integrated Construction (MiC) in public projects.
“Our members have been highlighting the need for enhanced productivity and innovation in Hong Kong’s ageing construction industry for some time, and embracing this technology is an important step by the Hong Kong Government in the right direction.”
With the Greater Bay Area a key focus of AustCham, the chamber welcomed the investment in green finance and the bond market with project financing a critical element of this vision.
Financial Secretary Paul Chan also reinforced the importance of expanding the network of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and Double Taxation Agreements (CDTA) following on the Policy Address from Chief Executive Carrie Lam in October. AustCham continues to push for a DTA with both Australian and Hong Kong Governments and notes that a Free Trade Agreement is currently under negotiation.
You can expect to hear more from AustCham on the Budget.
For more highlights, please see https://www.budget.gov.hk/2018/eng/index.html