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  • Chairman’s View

    Chairman Jimmy Kwok

    Persistently Lobby for Supportive Measures

    Chairman Prof Daniel M Cheng

        The Financial Secretary delivered the new Administration’s maiden Budget in late February. One important initiative involves HK$50 billion to boost innovation and technology (I&T) development. As a staunch promoter of I&T development in Hong Kong, the Federation of Hong Kong Industries (FHKI) is very pleased and supportive. The HK$50 billion budget covers major allocations, such as HK$20 billion to the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park, HK$10 billion to the Science Park and HK$10 billion for establishing two research clusters. 

       Moreover, the Budget also took up many of the FHKI’s suggestions, particularly on optimising funding schemes. Companies are advised to make good use of them to expand businesses.

       For many enterprises, the expansion of the Dedicated Fund on Branding, Upgrading and Domestic Sales (BUD Fund) is certainly a welcoming move. As many enterprises have already used up their HK$500,000 funding assistance, the FHKI has suggested the Government to raise the funding ceiling, and in view of the Belt and Road Initiative and the Free Trade Agreement signed between Hong Kong and ASEAN, to extend the geographical scope from the Mainland to ASEAN countries. The Government now announced the addition of the ASEAN scheme and increasing the funding ceiling of each scheme to HK$1 million. 

       The Innovation and Technology Fund will be receiving a HK$10 billion injection for advancing application technology. The FHKI will continue to urge the Government to raise the funding ratio for Hong Kong enterprises’ R&D activities conducted in the Mainland from 50 per cent to 80 per cent. As for the underutilised Technology Voucher Programme, while we are glad that the Government is taking up our request in relaxing the application requirements, the Government will need to step up efforts in simplifying application procedure and raising funding amount in order to enhance the use of this scheme. 

       For the various funding schemes, we will continue to encourage the Government to set up a cross-department one-stop consultation desk. They should recommend the most suiting funding schemes to enterprises and provide full application assistance so that micro, small and medium enterprises will not be turned away by the complicated application procedures.

       The FHKI supports the Government’s efforts in enhancing Hong Kong’s competitiveness through tax reform. On one hand, Hong Kong needs to face competition from other places in the region and attract enterprises to set up regional headquarters and trading hubs in Hong Kong, as well as promising startups to base in the city; on the other, we need to prepare Hong Kong for participating in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area development. As such, the FHKI will continue to put forward suggestions to the Government, such as relaxing section 39E of the Inland Revenue Ordinance to enable machinery of Hong Kong enterprises engaged in import processing trade to qualify for depreciation allowance. We also suggest Hong Kong and Guangdong Province to adopt special tax arrangement similar to that in Europe, so that cross-boundary workers working outside of the boundary for 183 days or more will only be taxed by their place of residency and thereby facilitating cross-boundary employment. On this, the FHKI will continue to actively collect views from members and reflect to the Government in a timely manner.   

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