"Four-in-One" Seminar Series
The four SMEs centres co-organise “Four-in-One” seminar series regularly. Themes of this seminar series in the second half of 2023 are “E-commerce”, “Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)” and “Funding Schemes”. The "SME One" of the HKPC and the "SME Centre" of the HKTDC would organise webinars under this seminar series on 29 August 2023 and 5 September 2023 respectively. Interested persons are welcome to register at the links below. Admission is Free.
I. InnoPreneur Network - SME LevelUp Workshops: "The Ultimate Guide for Startups (IT Solutions)" (Webinar)
(This webinar will be live-streamed on 29 August 2023)
This webinar is held by the "SME One" of the HKPC. This webinar will share essential tips and practical skills for store operation, common traps and points to note for start-ups as well as cases of applying IT solutions, with a view to helping start-ups develop e-commerce businesses. (This webinar will be conducted in Cantonese.)
More Details and Registration
II. T-Box Workshop: "ESG Corporate Practices - Business Operations and Human Resources" (Webinar)
(This webinar will be live-streamed on 5 September 2023)
This webinar is held by the "SME Centre" of the HKTDC. This webinar will introduce the development trend of ESG and share the practical experience and insights of implementing ESG through analysis of real-life cases, with a view to assisting SMEs in achieving sustainable development and exploring new opportunities. (This webinar will be conducted in Cantonese.)
More Details and Registration (in Chinese only)
I. Practical Applications and Strategies of Generative AI (Seminar)
(This seminar will be held by SUCCESS on 30 August 2023 at Trade and Industry Tower)
Generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) technology brings different opportunities and challenges to various trades and industries. In this seminar, experts will explain how SMEs can leverage GenAI technology to improve operational efficiency, such as enhancing product design, delivering more personalised customer experiences, optimising supply chain management, and streamlining content creation and marketing. This seminar will also explore the applications of AI in the fields of ArtTech and SportsTech and share successful cases, with a view to assisting SMEs in integrating AI into their businesses and improving work efficiency. (This seminar will be conducted in Cantonese.)
II. How to Turn Business Ideas into Business Opportunities (Seminar)
(This seminar will be held by SUCCESS on 26 September 2023 at Trade and Industry Tower)
Transforming an idea into business is never an easy task. In this seminar, an experienced business advisor will explain how to minimise the risk of failure, covering topics on validating the feasibility of ideas, developing ideas into business concepts, and executing solid business plans. This seminar will also include interactive sharing and discussion sessions, with a view to assisting start-ups and SMEs in unleashing their creative potential and exploring new business opportunities. (This seminar will be conducted in Cantonese.)
Intellectual Property Department: IP Training Programme “IP202 Management and Strategies of Patent Commercialisation and Technology Transfer”
(This course will be live-streamed and held at the VTC Tower, Wan Chai on 6 and 13 September 2023)
This course aims to introduce the common forms of patent valuation, commercialization as well as key issues of technology transfer, preparing participants to formulate appropriate strategies on patent commercialization and technology transfer for their enterprises. The medium of instruction will be English and 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.
Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area High-value Patent Portfolio Layout Competition 2023 is now open for application
The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area High-value Patent Portfolio Layout Competition 2023 is co-organised by the Guangdong Administration for Market Regulation (Guangdong Intellectual Property Administration), the Intellectual Property Department of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Economic and Technological Development Bureau of the Government of the Macao Special Administrative Region and the People’s Government of Guangzhou Municipality. The Competition is now open for application until 15 September 2023.
Official website of the Competition (in Simplified Chinese only)
Online application (in Simplified Chinese only)
Labour Rights under Different Employment Patterns
Employees, except for those to whom the Employment Ordinance does not apply, irrespective of their working hours and whether they are designated as “full-time”, “part-time”, “long term”, casual, temporary, substitute employees or remunerated on piece rate, are protected by the Ordinance and entitled to certain basic rights and benefits under the Ordinance such as wage payment protection, restriction on deduction from wages, taking statutory holidays and rights of participating in trade unions, etc. An employee who has been employed continuously by the same employer for 4 weeks or more, with at least 18 hours worked in each week, is regarded as being employed under a “continuous contract”. An employee, who is employed under a “continuous contract” and meets the qualifying conditions under the Employment Ordinance, is entitled to additional rights and benefits like rest days, pay for statutory holidays, annual leave with pay, sickness allowance and severance payment/ long service payment, etc.
For details, please refer to the following publication produced by the Labour Department:
"Labour Rights under Different Employment Patterns"
OGCIO rolls out new measures to facilitate government procurement of IT products
The Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO) announced on 8 August 2023 the introduction of a new supplier listing arrangement for government procurement of information technology (IT) products in October 2023 to increase flexibility and efficiency. Interested suppliers are welcome to apply for admission to the list all year round.
The new listing arrangement covers three major categories, namely network products, server systems and microcomputer equipment, with a number of sub-categories that comprise a wider classification of IT products. The new arrangement encourages competition and accelerates the procurement of the latest and most suitable IT products to support the increasing demand of digital government services. The requisite for admission of IT products is relaxed and the experience requirements on supporting staff are also modified, to facilitate a wider participation from the IT industry, in particular local tech start-ups and small and medium enterprises, to offer more new and innovative IT products to the Government. The OGCIO highlights that the new listing arrangement would make it simpler for government bureaux and departments to purchase different kinds of IT products while upholding the quality of products and services acquired.
For details of the new procurement arrangement, please visit the OGCIO website (https://www.ogcio.gov.hk/en/our_work/business/business_window/gitp.html). Interested suppliers are welcome to submit applications for admission to the new supplier list by completing the online application form on the GovHK website (https://eform.cefs.gov.hk/form/ogc019/en/).
For relevant press release, please visit https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202308/08/P2023080700406.htm.
HKSAR Government welcomed introduction of block trading under mutual access programme
The China Securities Regulatory Commission and the Securities and Futures Commission issued a joint announcement on 11 August 2023 on the consensus to introduce block trading (manual trades) under the mutual market access programme. The HKSAR Government welcomed the decision.
The Chief Executive, Mr John Lee, said, “In accordance with the National 14th Five-Year Plan, the HKSAR Government has strived to deepen and widen the mutual access between the Mainland and Hong Kong financial markets. Following the expansion of the scope of eligible stocks under Stock Connect to include Exchange-traded Funds, stocks of foreign companies primary listed in Hong Kong, and more listed companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen over the last year, the measure announced by the regulators of the two places today signifies another breakthrough of Stock Connect, enriching the existing trading channels and enhancing trading efficiency. The measure will further facilitate the mutual access and concerted development of the two capital markets, strengthening Hong Kong's position and function as an international financial centre and global offshore Renminbi business hub. I am most grateful to the Central People’s Government and relevant authorities for their staunch support.”
The Financial Secretary, Mr Paul Chan, said, “The introduction of the block trading arrangement is important in deepening the interaction and integration of the capital markets. It can enhance the certainty and transparency in the transaction price and timing for large-sized securities transactions, thereby allowing investors to manage their asset allocation more efficiently at lower costs, while reducing the potential price impact of relevant transactions through auto-matching. The measure would help meet the increasing demand of cross-border block trading from investors in the two places, and is conducive to further enhancing cross-border liquidity. I am most grateful to the Central People’s Government for supporting this initiative. We will continue to closely liaise with relevant Mainland authorities and institutions to implement the arrangement as soon as possible.”
According to the joint announcement, offshore investors will be able to conduct block trades on the Shanghai Stock Exchange and the Shenzhen Stock Exchange through the Northbound trading of Stock Connect, while Mainland investors will be able to conduct manual trades on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited through the Southbound trading of Stock Connect under the initiative. The stock exchanges of the two places will study the relevant business, technical and regulatory arrangements and consult the market to develop an implementation proposal. A separate announcement will be made on the implementation details and the launch date.
For relevant press release, please visit https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202308/11/P2023081100378.htm.
Hong Kong, China formally accepts WTO Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies
Hong Kong, China (HKC) deposited on 21 August 2023 (Geneva time) with the World Trade Organization (WTO) its Instrument of Acceptance for the WTO Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies (the Agreement), which is the WTO's second multilateral trade agreement concluded since its establishment, and its first one with environmental sustainability as the core objective.
The Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Algernon Yau, said, "The Agreement is an important outcome of the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference. As a staunch supporter of the multilateral trading system, we are pleased to deposit our Instrument of Acceptance and join the global efforts to operationalise the Agreement, so that it can deliver benefits for trade, development and the environment."
The Agreement establishes binding and multilateral rules to prohibit certain subsidies with the most harmful effects on the sustainability of fisheries, namely, those contributing to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing; those for fishing regarding overfished stocks; and those for fishing on the unregulated high seas. It would thereby enhance members' fisheries management by, among others, incorporating sustainability assessments in the disciplines, creating robust transparency obligations and requiring co-operation among agencies.
After over two decades of negotiations, the Agreement was adopted by WTO members at the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference held in June 2022 and was subsequently open for acceptance.
Since June 2022, the Environment and Ecology Bureau and the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) have been preparing for the implementation of the Agreement in HKC. The AFCD has kept the trade informed of developments. In order to bring HKC's financial assistance policy on fisheries in line with the Agreement once it comes into force, the Director of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation will make appropriate adjustments to relevant fisheries subsidies and support programmes to ensure that international obligations under the Agreement will be taken into consideration when giving support to/terminating a loan or grant application once the Agreement comes into force. HKC is therefore ready to accept the Protocol.
The second round of negotiations on certain outstanding issues has continued, including the rules on subsidies contributing to overcapacity and overfishing, with a view to making recommendations by the next WTO Ministerial Conference scheduled for February 2024 to further enhance the disciplines under the Agreement. HKC has been participating in the negotiations. The local fisheries trade has also been consulted to ensure that HKC's views and interests are duly considered during the negotiations.
"The successful conclusion of the Agreement is a milestone achievement as WTO members reinvigorated multilateralism and worked collaboratively to deliver on issues of global importance. Hong Kong, China is committed to working constructively with other WTO members to further strengthen the disciplines," Mr Yau added.
The Agreement will come into force upon acceptance by two thirds of the WTO members (i.e. 110 members out of a total of 164 members). As of 21 August 2023, 42 WTO members have accepted the Agreement.
For more details about the AFCD's fisheries subsidies and support programmes, please visit its website at: https://www.afcd.gov.hk/english/fisheries/fish_cap/fish_cap_techsup/fish_cap_techsup.html.
For relevant press release, please visit https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202308/21/P2023082100612.htm.