Navigating the Digital Landscape: A Guide to Digital Transformation and Marketing (Seminar)
(This seminar will be held by SUCCESS on 4 July 2023 at Trade and Industry Tower)
With technology advancements, SMEs can maintain their market competitiveness more efficiently through digitalisation. In this seminar, an expert will explain the latest digital marketing trends, digital transformation and online marketing strategies, including Online-to-Offline (O2O) mode and social media promotion. The seminar will also share successful case studies and tips for SMEs, with a view to assisting enterprises in formulating accurate strategies to attract customers and achieving digital transformation. (This seminar will be conducted in Cantonese.)
I. T-box ESG Stream - Launch Event Series (Event)
(This event will be held at the HKTDC SME Centre on 4 July 2023)
This event is organised by the HKTDC and the Business Environment Council (BEC). SUCCESS is one of the supporting organisations. In this event, experts on environment, social and governance (ESG) and sustainability will introduce ESG and the BEC Low Carbon Charter, as well as share how SMEs can plan and implement sustainable development strategies. The event will include seminar, consultation and networking session, with a view to assisting SMEs in seizing new business opportunities. (This event will be conducted in Cantonese.)
More Details (in Chinese only)
II. Pilot Subsidy Scheme for Third-party Logistics Service Providers and Smart Traffic Fund (Webinar)
(This webinar will be live-streamed on 5 July 2023)
This webinar is organised by the TecONE of the HKSTP. SUCCESS is one of the supporting organisations. This webinar will introduce the Pilot Subsidy Scheme for Third-party Logistics Service Providers and Smart Traffic Fund, and share the success story of a grantee with a view to encouraging local companies to transform their businesses and enhance efficiency and productivity through the adoption of innovation and technology. (This webinar will be conducted in Cantonese.)
III. Seminar on "ESG Essentials for SMEs: Kickstart your ESG journey"
(This seminar will be live-streamed and held at the Chinese Manufacturers’ Association Building on 7 July 2023)
This seminar is organised by the Hong Kong Brand Development Council. SUCCESS is one of the supporting organisations. In this seminar, an industry expert will share the key to implementing ESG, with a view to assisting SMEs in mastering the decision-making thinking of ESG business opportunities and breaking through the growth bottlenecks. (This seminar will be conducted in Cantonese.)
More Details (in Chinese only)
IV. Global Trade Outlook For The Second Half of 2023 (Webinar)
(This webinar will be live-streamed on 13 July 2023)
This webinar is organised by the Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC). SUCCESS is one of the supporting organisations. This webinar will share the global trade overview for the second half of 2023, as well as HKECIC's services and supportive measures for Hong Kong exporters. (This webinar will be conducted in Cantonese.)
V. Webinar on Competition Ordinance
(This webinar will be live-streamed on 19 July 2023)
This webinar is organised by the Competition Commission. SUCCESS is one of the supporting organisations. In this webinar, representatives from the Competition Commission will provide an overview of the Competition Ordinance, dos and don’ts under the Ordinance, red flags of anti-competitive practices and Leniency and Cooperation Policies and competition law case studies. (This webinar will be conducted in Cantonese.)
VI. Webinar on the Reimbursement of Maternity Leave Pay (RMLP) Scheme
(This webinar will be live-streamed on 27 July 2023)
This webinar is organised by the Labour Department. SUCCESS is one of the supporting organisations. This webinar will cover introduction of the RMLP Scheme and the Reimbursement Easy Portal (REP), application criteria, procedures and required documents, case sharing and tips for submitting applications via REP. (This webinar will be conducted in Cantonese.)
Intellectual Property Department: IP Training Programme “IP105 Strategies and Methods for Enterprises to Protect Trade Secrets”
(This course will be conducted at the VTC Tower, Wan Chai on 18 July 2023)
“IP105 Strategies and Methods for Enterprises to Protect Trade Secrets” aims to introduce the basic concepts, forms of protection and legal basis of trade secrets, the application of trade secrets in business and the common protection measures for enterprises. This course will be conducted by experts from the International Intellectual Property Commercialization Council HK (GBA) Chapter and the Licensing Executives Society China, Hong Kong Sub-Chapter. The medium of instruction will be Cantonese. Participants will receive a certificate upon completion of the training course.
Interested participants may first enroll in the "IP Manager Scheme PLUS" for free by filling out an online form to get priority in course registration. Registration fee for the course is waived for members of the Scheme.
Provisions relating to COVID-19 vaccination under Employment Ordinance repealed on 16 June 2023
The Labour Department (LD) announced that the Employment (Amendment) Ordinance 2022 (Commencement) Notice took effect on 16 June 2023 to repeal the provisions relating to COVID-19 vaccination under the Employment Ordinance (EO). Any vaccination request made under the EO prior to 16 June 2023 ceased to have effect.
For enquiries, please call the LD's 24-hour enquiry hotline 2717 1771 (the hotline is handled by 1823). For relevant press release, please visit https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202306/16/P2023061500282.htm.
Extension of Principal Moratorium for SME Financing Guarantee Scheme to end-September 2023
As entrusted by the Government, HKMC Insurance Limited announced that the application period for the principal moratorium arrangement under the SME Financing Guarantee Scheme (SFGS) will be further extended by three months to end in end-September 2023. The maximum principal moratorium period will remain at 42 months (Note).
The principal moratorium arrangement is a time-limited special relief measure first introduced in September 2019 for the 80% Guarantee Product of the SFGS. Since then, it has been extended several times, having regard to the COVID-19 epidemic, and made applicable to the 90% Guarantee Product and the Special 100% Loan Guarantee, to help small and medium enterprises manage their cash flow amidst economic uncertainties.
With the Hong Kong economy recovering steadily as the epidemic subsides, this special relief measure has fulfilled its purpose, and its application period will expire in end-September 2023.
Borrowing enterprises in need may apply for principal moratorium before the end of the application period, or thereafter apply for a partial repayment option so that normal repayment could be resumed gradually. Enterprises should approach their lending institutions in due course to discuss the arrangements.
Note: Currently, for term loan facilities, borrowing enterprises may apply for principal moratorium of no more than 12 months each time. If the principal moratorium period is about to expire, borrowing enterprises in need may apply for a renewal of no more than 12 months in the relevant application period, but the total number of months of principal moratorium cannot exceed the limit set under the SFGS. To be eligible for the principal moratorium arrangement, borrowing enterprises and/or the related facilities shall not have outstanding default for more than 30 days. These requirements will continue to be applicable during the extended application period for principal moratorium mentioned above (i.e. until end-September 2023).
For relevant press release, please visit https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202306/23/P2023062300628.htm.
HKECIC Extends Various Enhanced Measures to 30 June 2024
HKECIC announced on 20 June 2023 the extension of various enhanced measures to 30 June 2024 to continue providing support to Hong Kong exporters in exploring export trade markets, lower trading risk and operating cost amidst the normalisation of global trading environment.
Details of various enhanced measures are as follows:
1. Offer 6 free buyer credit assessment for each Hong Kong exporter.
2. Waive Annual Policy Fee.
3. Provide policyholders 10 additional free credit check facility.
4. For holders of Small Business Policy, free pre-shipment cover is provided for buyers approved for such cover.
In addition, HKECIC will permanently grant cross the board payment term of 120 days and holders of Small Business Policy will continue to enjoy a 20% of premium discount.
For enquiries, please contact the HKECIC hotline at 2732 9933 or visit its website https://www.hkecic.com.
The HKECIC was established in 1966 under the Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation Ordinance (Chapter 1115). Through the provision of export credit insurance services, the HKECIC protects Hong Kong exporters who trade on credit terms with overseas buyers against non-payment risks and helps them conduct export business in a prudent manner. The HKSAR Government provides a guarantee of HK$55 billion for the HKECIC’s contingent liability.
For details, please visit the announcement of HKECIC https://www.hkecic.com/cms/sites/default/files/announcements/2023-06/Announcement_HKECIC%20Extends%20Various%20Enhanced%20Measures%20to%2030%20June%202024.pdf.
Introduction of labour importation schemes for construction and transport sectors and enhancement of Supplementary Labour Scheme
A Government spokesman said on 13 June 2023 that in order to address acute manpower shortages across various sectors, the Chief Executive in Council had endorsed the introduction of sector-specific labour importation schemes for the construction and transport sectors under section 14(3) of the Employees Retraining Ordinance (Cap. 423) that afford greater flexibility and adopt more streamlined procedures than those of the existing Supplementary Labour Scheme (SLS), and the enhancement of the coverage and operation of the SLS.
The spokesman said, "Hong Kong faces a structural labour force shrinkage owing to population ageing. The local labour force (excluding foreign domestic helpers) decreased from the peak of 3.68 million in 2018 to 3.46 million in 2022. The low-skilled workforce shrank by about 160 000. To alleviate the manpower shortage problem, the Government has strengthened training and employment services. To encourage and support more employees to receive training so as to enhance their employability, we also plan to increase the maximum monthly amount of retraining allowance for trainees of specific courses of the Employees Retraining Board. Nonetheless, we still need to take other relevant measures to ensure that the labour supply can support Hong Kong's long-term development."
The Chief Executive mentioned in the 2022 Policy Address that many sectors in Hong Kong are facing manpower shortages, and relevant bureaux will listen to the views of the sectors and put forward solutions having regard to the situation of individual sectors. Apart from the special scheme to import care workers for residential care homes to be launched by the Labour and Welfare Bureau this June, the Development Bureau and the Transport and Logistics Bureau will implement sector-specific labour importation schemes with key features and parameters as follows:
(1) Subject to fulfilment of the specified parameters, the sector-specific labour importation schemes should allow employers of the construction and transport sectors to apply for quotas for importation of labour. The total quota for the two sector-specific labour importation schemes is 20 000, comprising 12 000 for the construction sector and 8 000 for the transport sector, of which 6 300 are for the aviation industry and 1 700 for the public light bus/coach trade. The total quota number of imported labour approved under each sector-specific labour importation scheme should not exceed the respective quota;
(2) The Labour Advisory Board (LAB) will be engaged periodically on the implementation of the sector-specific labour importation schemes;
(3) Applications should be decided by the designated officers of the concerned bureaux/department(s) according to the specified approval parameters;
(4) Employers must engage the imported labour under a Standard Employment Contract, and pay the Employees Retraining Levy at the start of the contract period;
(5) The manning ratio in general is on a par with that of the SLS, i.e. 1:2 (one imported labour to two full-time local staff);
(6) The wage levels of imported labour must be no less than the median monthly wages of relevant posts in Hong Kong;
(7) Requirement of local recruitment is deemed fulfilled if the applicants submit proof of recruitment conducted within four months preceding an application through channel(s) specified by the concerned bureaux/department(s);
(8) Employers are allowed to (i) arrange for the imported labour accommodation in Hong Kong, (ii) provide accommodation for the imported labour on the Mainland; or (iii) let the imported labour reside in their residential premises on the Mainland; and
(9) If the prospective imported workers are Mainland residents, employers must recruit the imported workers through the foreign labour service co-operation enterprises approved by the relevant Mainland authorities.
Apart from introducing the sector-specific labour importation schemes, the Government will also enhance the coverage and operation of the SLS, including:
(1) Suspending the general exclusion of the 26 job categories and unskilled/low-skilled posts from the SLS for two years; and
(2) Enhancing dissemination of application information to employers, streamlining verification of application information and fine-tuning the workflow of consultation with the LAB.
The other key requirements of the SLS will remain unchanged. The Labour Department will promulgate a key performance indicator of completing the processing of an application to the SLS within three months after the screening of the application. The SLS will be renamed as the Enhanced Supplementary Labour Scheme (ESLS).
The Government will consult the LAB, the Legislative Council Panel on Manpower, and relevant sectors on the implementation aspects of the sector-specific labour importation schemes and the ESLS. The feedback gathered will be taken into consideration as appropriate in finalising the implementation and operational details of the sector-specific labour importation schemes and the ESLS.
The spokesman said that the target is to launch the sector-specific labour importation schemes for the construction and transport sectors in July 2023, and commence the receipt and processing of applications by then. Relevant bureaux/department(s) will review the implementation of these schemes within six months after their launch, i.e. in around the first quarter of 2024. The Government also plans to launch the ESLS in the third quarter of 2023 and will review the enhanced scheme in good time prior to lapse of the two-year period of the enhancements.
The spokesman reiterated that the Government will continue to adopt multipronged strategies to address the manpower shortage problem, including training and retraining, provision of appropriate employment support and driving technology adoption for productivity uplifting, etc. On the premise of ensuring employment priority for local employees, the Government will formulate appropriate measures having regard to the supply and demand of manpower.
For relevant press release, please visit https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202306/13/P2023061300550.htm.
Network of Family Office Service Providers launched to promote Hong Kong as preferred destination for global family offices
Invest Hong Kong announced on 12 June 2023 the launch of the Network of Family Office Service Providers (the Network), a platform specially designed to help promote Hong Kong as a preferred destination of choice for global family offices. The Network's launch event was officiated by the Financial Secretary, Mr Paul Chan, and the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Mr Christopher Hui. Over 100 representatives from a wide array of family office service providers participated in the event, under the witness of key representatives from regulators and industry associations at the HKEX Connect Hall.
Launching the Network is one of the eight initiatives in the Government's Policy Statement on Developing Family Office Businesses in Hong Kong announced on 24 March 2023. The Network aims to nurture the ecosystem that continues to support local and global family offices as they set up or expand in the Hong Kong market. It also provides a two-way channel for the Government to brief the industry on the latest development and provide opportunities for family offices in Hong Kong, and to mobilise their networks around the world to advocate opportunities in Hong Kong for family offices.
Speaking at the launch ceremony, Mr Chan said, "Hong Kong, with our vibrant financial ecosystem, sophisticated financial infrastructure and the best professional services providers, as well as the convergence of investment opportunities in the Mainland and the world, is naturally the preferred choice of location for global family offices.
"The Network of Family Office Service Providers brings together the relevant professional services providers, including private bankers, trustees, lawyers, accountants, wealth management professionals, etc, to create mutual business opportunities and promote Hong Kong's advantages to target markets. The Network will also provide advice to the Government on how we could better facilitate the sector's growth and thrive together."
On the launch of the Network, Mr Hui said, "The launch of the Network of Family Office Service Providers marks a key milestone of the Government's basket of measures to promote Hong Kong as a family office hub. Looking ahead, we will thrive to work together with the regulators and the industry to roll out other new initiatives in the Government's Policy Statement, with a view to facilitating the rapid growth of the ecosystem for global family offices and asset owners in Hong Kong."
When elaborating on the mission and objectives of the Network, the Global Head of Family Office of Invest Hong Kong's FamilyOfficeHK, Mr Jason Fong, said, "Invest Hong Kong's FamilyOfficeHK team strives to make a significant and positive impact on Hong Kong's family office industry. The Network underscores our commitment to engage and inspire global family offices to consider setting up and operating in Hong Kong. We look forward to working with the Network's partners to further develop Hong Kong into a vibrant and conducive hub for global family offices."
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government is actively pursuing various initiatives announced in the Policy Statement to create a conducive and competitive environment for the businesses of global family offices and asset owners to thrive and propel the family office ecosystem in Hong Kong. Besides launching the Network, some of the new initiatives include a new Capital Investment Entrant Scheme, tax concessions, a new Hong Kong Academy for Wealth Legacy, establishing art storage facilities at the airport and developing Hong Kong as a philanthropic centre.
For relevant press release, please visit https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202306/12/P2023061200442.htm.
Government welcomed passage of Stamp Duty (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2023
The Government welcomed the passage of the Stamp Duty (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2023 by the Legislative Council on 21 June 2023, which implements a measure to trawl for talent as announced in the 2022 Policy Address by introducing a refund mechanism under the Buyer's Stamp Duty (BSD) and the New Residential Stamp Duty (NRSD) regimes to attract talent from around the world to stay in Hong Kong for long-term development, thereby enriching the talent pool of Hong Kong.
The Deputy Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Cheuk Wing-hing, said, "The refund mechanism will bring the overall stamp duty charged on eligible incoming talents on par with that charged on first-time home buyers who are Hong Kong permanent residents (HKPRs), hence reducing the cost of home purchase for those incoming talents who are able and wish to buy residential properties in Hong Kong. We believe that this measure will help incentivise incoming talents to purchase homes and reside in Hong Kong in the long run, which would inject impetus to the growth of Hong Kong."
Under the refund mechanism, for an eligible incoming talent who has entered Hong Kong under a designated talent admission scheme, acquired a residential property in Hong Kong on or after 19 October 2022 (i.e. the date of announcement of the 2022 Policy Address), and subsequently becomes an HKPR, he/she can apply for a refund of the BSD and the NRSD paid for the residential property which, at the time it was purchased, was the applicant's only residential property (save for replacing property) and the applicant still holds on the date of the application for refund. The Ad Valorem Stamp Duty at Scale 2 rates (i.e. the rates applicable to first-time home buyers who are HKPRs) will still be payable.
The amended Ordinance will be published in the Gazette on 30 June 2023, and the Inland Revenue Department will start accepting refund applications from incoming talent upon its gazettal.
For relevant press release, please visit https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202306/21/P2023062100642.htm.
More categories of fresh produce may be imported via Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge starting from 1 July 2023
A spokesman for the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department said on 19 June 2023 that with effect from 1 July (Saturday), the trade could import more categories of fresh food via the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB) during the designated period.
Under the current arrangement, all goods vehicles carrying fresh food and livestock by land from the Mainland must enter Hong Kong via the Man Kam To Boundary Control Point for inspection by CFS staff. Vehicles carrying fresh aquatic products and frozen and chilled poultry by land from the Mainland may also choose to enter Hong Kong via the HZMB between 9 pm and 5 am the next day since December 2019 and June 2022 respectively.
In order to further facilitate the trade, having discussed with the Mainland authorities and the trade, the CFS decided to extend the scope of fresh produce imports via the HZMB to cover the same categories of food that are now imported via the Man Kam To Boundary Control Point. Vehicles carrying frozen and chilled meat and game, egg, milk, vegetable and fruit may, with effect from 9 pm on 1 July, choose to enter Hong Kong via the HZMB during the designated period, i.e. 9 pm to 5 am the next day, for inspection by CFS staff.
The inspection procedures by the CFS at the Hong Kong Port of the HZMB will be similar to those for vehicles importing fresh produce via the Man Kam To Boundary Control Point, including examining details of import documents, conducting physical inspections and sampling of fresh food for testing.
The spokesman stressed that the arrangement of goods vehicles carrying fresh produce and livestock entering Hong Kong via the Man Kam To Boundary Control Point has not changed.
For relevant press release, please visit https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202306/19/P2023061600704.htm.
Reshuffling of service areas of two Mainland offices
The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region announced the reshuffling of service areas of two Mainland offices as follows. With effect from 1 July 2023, Yunnan Province, which was previously under the service coverage of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Guangdong (GDETO), will be put under the service coverage of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Chengdu (CDETO). The service areas of the CDETO will then cover Sichuan, Chongqing, Shaanxi, Guizhou, Yunnan, Tibet and Qinghai, and that of the GDETO will cover Guangdong, Fujian, Guangxi and Hainan. The above arrangement will help consolidate resources of the relevant offices to better grasp development opportunities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the Western region, and to provide better support services to the Hong Kong people and enterprises there.
For enquiries related to the above arrangement, please contact the GDETO (Tel: (8620) 3891 1220; email: email@example.com) or the CDETO (Tel: (8628) 8208 6660; email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
For relevant press release, please visit https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202306/21/P2023062100270.htm.
Zhejiang and Hong Kong signed a number of co-operation agreements in Hong Kong
The Chief Executive, Mr John Lee, attended the Opening Ceremony of Hong Kong & Macao – Zhejiang Week & Zhejiang and Hong Kong Cooperation Theme Forum 2023 in Hong Kong on 26 June 2023. At the opening ceremony, Mr Lee, and the Secretary of the CPC Zhejiang Provincial Committee, Mr Yi Lianhong, jointly witnessed the signing of a number of co-operation agreements between Zhejiang and Hong Kong for promoting complementarity and mutual benefits and achieving high-quality development of the two places.
Mr Lee said that for a long time, Hong Kong and Zhejiang Province have had close relations and frequent exchanges. Under the overall layout of the country, both Zhejiang and Hong Kong play important and unique roles. Zhejiang Province has huge development potential and is the important province of the Yangtze River Delta; Hong Kong is a promoter of domestic and international dual cycles and possesses the unique advantage of "one country, two systems". Through strengthening co-operation further, both sides would definitely achieve complementarity and mutual benefits, and jointly contribute to the development of the country.
At the meeting, the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Chan Kwok-ki, and Vice Governor of Zhejiang Provincial People's Government, Mr Lu Shan, signed the "Co-operation Agreement between the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administration Region and the People's Government of Zhejiang Province to jointly promote high-quality development". The document (Chinese only) is at Annex 1.
In addition, three co-operation agreements were signed by government departments and an organisation of the two places:
"Co-operation Memorandum between Department of Education of the People's Government of Zhejiang Province and Education Bureau of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region";
"Co-operation Memorandum between Department of Commerce of the People's Government of Zhejiang Province and InvestHK of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region"; and
"Co-operation Memorandum between Hangzhou Municipal People's Government and The Hong Kong Jockey Club on the development of equine sports."
The "Co-operation Memorandum between Department of Education of the People's Government of Zhejiang Province and Education Bureau of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region" and the "Co-operation Memorandum between Department of Commerce of the People's Government of Zhejiang Province and InvestHK of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region" (Chinese only) signed by government departments of the two places are at Annex 2
and Annex 3
Officials of the HKSAR Government accompanying the Chief Executive to attend the opening ceremony include the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Chan Kwok-ki; the Secretary for Justice, Mr Paul Lam, SC; the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Erick Tsang Kwok-wai; the Secretary for Education, Dr Choi Yuk-lin; and the Secretary for Home and Youth Affairs, Miss Alice Mak, etc.
Hong Kong and Zhejiang reached consensus on 12 mutual co-operation areas, namely, finance, innovation and technology, trade and investment, aviation, education, youth exchange, culture and tourism, exchange of talents and civil servants, health, hygiene and Chinese medicine, environmental protection, facilitation for Hong Kong people in the Mainland, as well as legal and dispute resolution. For details, please see relevant press release at https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202306/26/P2023062600773.htm
Hong Kong-Mauritius tax treaty in force
The Comprehensive Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement (CDTA) with Mauritius signed in November 2022 came into force on 23 June 2023 after the completion of the relevant ratification procedures, a Government spokesman said. The CDTA will have effect in respect of Hong Kong tax for any year of assessment beginning on or after 1 April 2024.
Under the CDTA, residents of Hong Kong and Mauritius will not have to pay tax twice on a single source of income. The CDTA will bring a greater degree of certainty on tax liabilities for those who engage in cross-border business activities, and help promote bilateral trade and investment activities between Hong Kong and Mauritius.
Details of the CDTA between Hong Kong and Mauritius can be found on the website of the Hong Kong e-Legislation (https://www.elegislation.gov.hk/hk/cap112DS!en?INDEX_CS=N).
For relevant press release, please visit https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202306/23/P2023062300331.htm.