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.)
I. Comprehensive Credit Risk Assessment on Buyers - Strategies for Efficient Credit Risk Management (Seminar)
(This seminar will be held at the HKECIC Conference Room on 14 September 2023)
This seminar is organised by the Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC). SUCCESS is one of the supporting organisations. This seminar will share how to assess buyer risks from multiple perspectives and introduce HKECIC's services and support measures for Hong Kong exporters. (This seminar will be conducted in Cantonese.)
II. InnoPreneur Network - SME LevelUp Workshops: “Management Essentials: Leadership Communication" (Webinar)
(This webinar will be live-streamed on 20 September 2023)
This webinar is organised by the HKPC. SUCCESS is one of the supporting organisations. This webinar will share strategies to boost business execution and productivity, formula of effective communication and how to develop must-have qualities of a successful leader. (This webinar will be conducted in Cantonese.)
III. Journey to HR Analytics: How to Apply Data to Manage Human Resources in a Qualitative Way? (Course)
(This course will be held at the HKPC Building on 14, 15, 18, 21 and 22 September 2023)
This course is offered by the HKPC. SUCCESS is one of the supporting organisations. This course aims to equip human resources practitioners and business managers with the knowledge and practical skills in data analytics to formulate data-driven human resources strategies and decisions. (Admission fee is required. This course will be conducted in Cantonese.)
Enhanced Supplementary Labour Scheme open for applications
To alleviate the manpower shortage across different sectors, the Chief Executive in Council has earlier endorsed the enhancement of the coverage and operation of the Supplementary Labour Scheme (SLS). After consulting the Labour Advisory Board (LAB), the LD launched the Enhanced Supplementary Labour Scheme (ESLS) on 4 September 2023 and began accepting applications on the same date.
The Chief Executive in Council endorsed on 13 June recommendations to introduce sector-specific labour importation schemes for the construction and transport sectors (sector-specific labour importation schemes), as well as enhancing the coverage and operation of the SLS by the following measures to relieve the manpower shortage problem in other sectors:
(1) suspending the general exclusion of 26 job categories (Annex 1) as well as unskilled/low-skilled posts from the SLS for two years; and
(2) enhancing the dissemination of application information to employers, streamlining the procedures for processing applications and refining the workflow of consultation with the LAB.
The other key requirements of the SLS, including the four-week local recruitment and consultation with the LAB for each screened-in application, remain unchanged. To reflect its enhanced features, the SLS has been renamed as the ESLS and open for applications from 4 September 2023.
After consulting the LAB, the LD has started implementing the following enhancement measures:
(1) Enhance dissemination of application information to employers
The LD will organise five briefings for employers in September 2023 to explain the information needed for submitting applications, points-to-note and the flow of applications, as well as answering questions on the spot. Please refer to Annex 2 for details. The LD will continue to organise briefings for employers from time to time and publicise information of common posts, including their median monthly wages, for the reference of employers.
(2) Streamline verification of application information
After the enhancement, the LD will replace inspection visits of the applicant employers' office premises and intended workplaces of the imported labour by Labour Inspectors with desktop checks, and with verification by telephone or in writing with the applicant employers as appropriate.
(3) Enhance local recruitment arrangements of labour importation applications
Upon commencement of the four-week local recruitment for job vacancies which have passed the screening under the ESLS, the LD will send details of the job vacancies to LAB members and the relevant trade unions for their referral of suitable local job seekers to apply for relevant posts during the local recruitment period.
(4) Refine workflow of consultation with the LAB
To help LAB members grasp the key points of applications and recommendations, after the enhancement, the LD will present the recommendations in a tabulated form in place of providing a case write-up on each application.
(5) Enhance information dissemination at briefings on employment rights
To protect imported workers' employment rights and benefits, employers must arrange and grant paid leave to each imported worker for attending a briefing on employment rights within eight weeks upon his/her arrival in Hong Kong to ensure that they understand their rights and benefits of working in Hong Kong. The LD will collaborate with trade unions on distributing their information leaflets at the briefings, so as to provide more channels for imported workers to seek assistance and make enquiries. LAB members or trade union representatives referred by them may also join the briefings to convey messages about employment rights to imported workers.
After launching the above enhancement measures, the LD will strive to complete the processing of an application within three months after it passes the screening under the ESLS.
If the prospective imported workers are Mainland residents, employers under the ESLS must recruit the imported workers through the foreign labour service co-operation enterprises approved by the relevant Mainland authorities. Moreover, apart from providing accommodation in Hong Kong, employers are allowed under the ESLS to (i) provide imported labour with accommodation on the Mainland; or (ii) let imported labour reside in their residential premises on the Mainland. The relevant arrangements are in line with those under the sector-specific labour importation schemes.
Interested employers can submit to the Supplementary Labour Division (SLD) of the LD the completed application forms together with the required documents from 4 September 2023. The SLD is located at Room 929, 9/F, Cheung Sha Wan Government Offices, 303 Cheung Sha Wan Road, Kowloon. Applications submitted under the SLS before 4 September and still under processing will continue to be processed by the LD in accordance with the enhancement measures of the ESLS.
The ESLS does not accept applications for importation of labour of industries and job categories covered by the sector-specific labour importation schemes and the Special Scheme to Import Care Workers for Residential Care Homes.
The application form of the ESLS, details of the briefings for employers, etc, are uploaded onto the webpage of the LD (https://www.labour.gov.hk/eng/plan/iwESLS.htm). For enquiries, please contact the SLD of the LD at 2150 6363.
For relevant press release, please visit https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202308/28/P2023082800265.htm.
Professional Services Advancement Support Scheme invites new round of applications until 30 November 2023
The Main Programme under the Professional Services Advancement Support Scheme (PASS) is inviting a new round of applications for project proposals starting on 1 September 2023 from non-profit-distributing organisations such as professional bodies, trade and industrial organisations and research institutes.
The PASS, with a total allocation of $200 million, aims at funding non-profit-making industry-led projects to increase exchanges and co-operation between Hong Kong's professional services and external counterparts, promote relevant publicity activities, and enhance the standards and external competitiveness of Hong Kong's professional services.
The maximum grant for each approved project under the Main Programme of the PASS is $3 million or 90 per cent of the total eligible project cost, whichever is lower. A wide range of professional services, such as accounting, legal and dispute resolution, architecture, engineering, healthcare, information and communications technology, design and technical testing and analysis, are eligible for the Main Programme. Sector-specific projects and cross-sectoral projects are both welcome. Expenses directly incurred for implementing a project, such as manpower costs, venue and set-up costs, production and promotion costs, and the project team and active participants' travel and accommodation costs outside Hong Kong are typically eligible for funding support under the Scheme. Funding support may also be provided for travel and accommodation costs incurred by participants of relatively longer professional internships or attachment programmes outside Hong Kong which are funded by the Main Programme.
Up to early August 2023, near 100 projects had been funded under the Main Programme, including project deliverables in and outside Hong Kong. The deliverables include capacity-building programmes for enhancing the standards of local professionals, such as training programmes, workshops and study tours; outreach and promotional activities for showcasing the strengths of Hong Kong's professional services, such as roadshows, promotional seminars and participation in exhibitions outside Hong Kong; exchange activities for deepening interaction between Hong Kong professionals and their external counterparts, such as visits to other economies and international conferences and seminars held in Hong Kong; and research projects on potential external markets for Hong Kong professional services and development of best practice guidelines and manuals for professionals. Details about the Main Programme and its funded projects are available at www.pass.gov.hk/main/en/home/index.html.
Furthermore, with a view to stepping up the promotion of Hong Kong's competitive edges and professional services to Mainland cities (including those in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area) and overseas markets, $50 million has been set aside for the Professionals Participation Subsidy Programme (PSP) under the PASS to subsidise Hong Kong major professional bodies to participate in relevant activities organised by the Government (such as Hong Kong Economic and Trade Offices) and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council after the pandemic situation has stabilised. Details of the PSP and its latest list of eligible activities are available at www.pass.gov.hk/psp. Hong Kong professionals from the eligible professional sectors under the PASS may make use of the PSP subsidy to join the relevant activities.
The Main Programme and the PSP receive applications for project and activity proposals all year round and they are processed on a quarterly basis. The deadline for the new round of applications is 30 November 2023. A briefing session will be held this month for organisations interested in applying for PASS funding. For registration for the briefing session or other enquiries, please contact the PASS Secretariat at 3655 5418 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For relevant press release, please visit https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202309/01/P2023090100321.htm.
HKMA unveiled new roadmap to promote fintech adoption
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) published on 25 August 2023 a new Fintech Promotion Roadmap (Roadmap), outlining the key initiatives that it will undertake over the next 12 months to give further impetus to Fintech adoption in the financial services industry.
The new Roadmap focuses on the Fintech business areas of Wealthtech, Insurtech and Greentech as well as the technology types of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). Given the relevance of these key Fintech areas to the wider financial services sector, the HKMA worked closely with the Securities and Futures Commission and the Insurance Authority as well as key stakeholders across different financial sectors during the formulation of the new Roadmap. Following the Roadmap, the HKMA will expand its scope of promotion beyond awareness-raising and take proactive steps to assist financial institutions to put Fintech solutions into action.
To implement the Roadmap, the HKMA will launch a series of activities in the coming 12 months, including:
establishing a Fintech Knowledge Hub which includes a new cross-sectoral directory of Fintech service providers and financial institutions to enhance accessibility of resources for various stakeholders in the Fintech ecosystem;
hosting more regular Fintech showcase events and roundtables to establish more in-depth communication among financial institutions and Fintech service providers;
organising interactive seminars and training sessions on the specific Fintech areas to encourage exchange of practical knowledge across different financial sectors; and
publishing use case videos and research reports to provide insights into a wider range of practical considerations across the entire Fintech adoption lifecycle.
Deputy Chief Executive of the HKMA, Mr Arthur Yuen, said, "As we continue to promote the adoption of Fintech under the 'All banks go Fintech' initiative, this new Fintech Promotion Roadmap announced today marks a significant step not only for the banking sector but for the financial services industry as a whole. It demonstrates the financial regulators' dedication to innovate as we accelerate our drive to become a leading Fintech hub. The overarching approach of the Roadmap revolves around cultivating collaboration. It extends beyond banking, encompassing areas such as insurance, wealth management, and capital markets activities. Through close collaboration with the other financial regulators and on-going engagement with stakeholders, we are committed to building a sustainable and inclusive Fintech ecosystem in Hong Kong."
More details about the Roadmap and the HKMA's upcoming initiatives can be found in the report.
For relevant press release, please visit https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202308/25/P2023082500263.htm.
CE welcomed promulgation of "Development Plan for Shenzhen Park of Hetao Shenzhen-Hong Kong Science and Technology Innovation Co-operation Zone"
The Chief Executive, Mr John Lee, welcomed the Central Government's promulgation of the "Development Plan for Shenzhen Park of Hetao Shenzhen-Hong Kong Science and Technology Innovation Co-operation Zone" (Development Plan for Shenzhen Park) on 29 August 2023. He indicated that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) would continue to actively collaborate with Shenzhen to take forward the development of the Hetao Shenzhen-Hong Kong Science and Technology Innovation Co-operation Zone, leveraging the comparative advantages of the two places.
The "Outline of the 14th Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development of the People's Republic of China and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035" has indicated clear support for Hong Kong's development into an international innovation and technology (I&T) centre, and included the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Loop as one of the four major platforms of co-operation in the Greater Bay Area (GBA). The Co-operation Zone located at the two sides of Shenzhen River is developed under the "one river, two banks" and "one zone, two parks" vision. It consists of a park of about 300 hectares on the Shenzhen side, and another park of 87 hectares on the Hong Kong side. The HKSAR Government and the Shenzhen Municipal Government signed the "Memorandum of Understanding on Jointly Developing the Lok Ma Chau Loop by Hong Kong and Shenzhen" in 2017, and subsequently the "Co-operation Arrangement on the Establishment of 'One Zone, Two Parks' in the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Co-operation Zone at the Lok Ma Chau Loop" in 2021. Through the Joint Task Force on the Development of the Hong Kong-Shenzhen I&T Park in the Loop, Hong Kong and Shenzhen have been liaising closely to exchange views on the development of the Co-operation Zone and the latest development of both parks.
The Development Plan for Shenzhen Park comprises a total of 30 measures, covering such areas as the development positioning, objectives, overall layout and infrastructure layout of the Shenzhen Park, as well as the collaboration with Hong Kong to promote international I&T development. It aims to promote high quality I&T development in the GBA, and enable the Co-operation Zone to become a world-class innovation platform and an engine to drive I&T development in neighbouring cities.
Mr Lee said, "The HKSAR Government is grateful for the staunch support of the Central People's Government and the Shenzhen Municipal Government for the development of the Co-operation Zone. The promulgation of the Development Plan for Shenzhen Park injects new momentum to and sets a new stage for the collaboration on I&T development by the two places. The HKSAR will continue to actively work with Shenzhen to promote the advantages of the Co-operation Zone under the principle of the 'one zone, two parks' underpinned by the 'one country, two systems' principle. We will strive to implement measures to promote a cross-boundary flow of various innovation elements. This will enable the Co-operation Zone to serve as the bridgehead for intensive I&T co‑operation between the two places, and allow Hong Kong to give full play to its unique advantage of 'enjoying strong support of the motherland and being closely connected to the world'. This, in turn, can support the development of the GBA international I&T centre.
"Over the past few years, Hong Kong and Shenzhen have made good progress in the development of the Co-operation Zone. The Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation launched the GBA InnoExpress in the Shenzhen Park in July 2022 to nurture and provide support services for I&T start-ups and enterprises of Hong Kong and the Mainland. In addition, the Hong Kong Science Park Shenzhen Branch, located in the Shenzhen Park, has commenced operation in stages. At the same time, the first batch of three buildings in the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park (HSITP), i.e. the Hong Kong Park, will be completed by phases from end-2024 onwards as scheduled. To facilitate development by cluster so as to bring synergy, and with reference to the experience of similar parks on the Mainland and overseas, the first phase of the HSITP will consist of different technology zones by sectors. Through investment promotion and leveraging on market forces, the construction of high-quality research and industrial facilities will be accelerated."
Mr Lee continued, "To chart Hong Kong in moving full steam towards our vision of an international I&T centre, the HKSAR Government promulgated the Hong Kong I&T Development Blueprint. It sets out the development direction and key strategies for the roadmap and timetable for realising this vision. The HKSAR Government will enhance the I&T ecosystem, and proactively integrate into the overall development of the country so as to consolidate Hong Kong's role as a bridge connecting the Mainland and the world. The HKSAR Government is now focusing on attracting high-quality enterprises and talent to Hong Kong, primarily in such I&T areas as life and health technology, artificial intelligence and data science, as well as advanced manufacturing and new energy technology, thereby expediting the overall development of Hong Kong's technology industry."
For relevant press release, please visit https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202308/29/P2023082900566.htm.
Fourth phase of Mandatory Energy Efficiency Labelling Scheme took effect
The fourth phase of the Mandatory Energy Efficiency Labelling Scheme (MEELS) took effect on 1 September 2023, extending the coverage to light emitting diode (LED) lamps, gas cookers and gas instantaneous water heaters. The fourth phase of the MEELS will be fully implemented on 1 December 2024, with a transitional period of 15 months.
The energy labels classify energy performance into five grades. Products with a Grade 1 energy label are the most energy-efficient. With this concise and easy-to-understand label, consumers can make informed decisions in purchasing more energy-efficient products.
Upon inclusion of the aforementioned three types of products in the fourth phase of the MEELS, the potential annual energy saving will be around 570 terajoules (around 160 million kilowatt-hours), which is equivalent to the reduction of about 75 000 tonnes of carbon emissions per year. Together with the eight types of products covered in the first three phases, the total energy consumption in the residential sector covered by the MEELS will substantially increase from about 50 per cent to about 80 per cent.
To dovetail with the implementation of the fourth phase of the MEELS, the 2023 edition of the Code of Practice on Energy Labelling of Products (CoP) took effect on 1 September 2023.
For more details of the CoP, please visit the EMSD's website (www.emsd.gov.hk/energylabel).
For relevant press release, please visit https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202309/01/P2023083100539.htm.
Launch of Dedicated 100% Loan Guarantee Scheme for Battery Electric Taxis
The HKMC Insurance Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Hong Kong Mortgage Corporation Limited (HKMC), announced the launch of the Dedicated 100% Loan Guarantee Scheme for Battery Electric Taxis on 4 September 2023.
Details of the scheme are available on the website of the HKMC (www.hkmc.com.hk). At the initial stage of the scheme's launch, three lending institutions with taxi financing business, including Hang Seng Bank, Limited, The Bank of East Asia, Limited and The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, will receive applications. The list of lending institutions will be updated as necessary afterwards.
Promoting the use of electric taxis is one of the Government's measures to develop green transport, which helps achieve the carbon neutrality target of Hong Kong. The Financial Secretary announced in the 2023-24 Budget to put in place a loan scheme with 100% guarantee for the taxi trade, so as to encourage taxi owners to replace their liquefied petroleum gas, petrol or hybrid taxis with electric taxis.
Eligible persons wishing to apply for loans under the scheme may approach the relevant lending institutions. For public enquiries, please call the scheme's hotline at 2536 9788.
For relevant press release, please visit https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202309/04/P2023090100531.htm.
Hong Kong and Bangladesh entered into tax pact
The Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Mr Christopher Hui, on behalf of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, signed in Hong Kong a comprehensive avoidance of double taxation agreement (CDTA) with Bangladesh on 30 August 2023, signifying the Government's sustained efforts in expanding Hong Kong's CDTA network, in particular with tax jurisdictions participating in the Belt and Road Initiative. Representing the Government of Bangladesh was the Senior Secretary of the Internal Resources Division and Chairman of the National Board of Revenue of the Ministry of Finance of Bangladesh, Mr Abu Hena Md. Rahmatul Muneem, who was accompanied by the Consul-General of Bangladesh in Hong Kong, Ms Israt Ara.
This CDTA is the 47th agreement that Hong Kong has concluded. It sets out the allocation of taxing rights between the two jurisdictions and will help investors better assess their potential tax liabilities from cross-border economic activities.
Mr Hui said, "Bangladesh is one of the economies participating in the Belt and Road Initiative. I have every confidence that this CDTA will further promote economic and trade ties between Hong Kong and Bangladesh, and offer additional incentives for the business sectors of both sides to do business or make investment."
Under the Hong Kong-Bangladesh CDTA, Hong Kong companies can enjoy double taxation relief in that any tax paid in Bangladesh, whether directly or by deduction, in accordance with the CDTA will be allowed as a credit against the tax payable in Hong Kong in respect of the same income, subject to the provisions of the tax laws of Hong Kong.
Moreover, the Hong Kong-Bangladesh CDTA also provides the following tax relief arrangements:
(a) Bangladesh's withholding tax rates for Hong Kong residents on dividends will be capped at 10 per cent or 15 per cent (depending on the percentage of their shareholdings); and on interest, royalties and fees for technical services will be capped at 10 per cent; and
(b) Hong Kong residents deriving profits from international shipping transport in Bangladesh will enjoy 50 per cent tax reduction in Bangladesh in respect of the profits subject to tax there.
This CDTA will come into force after the completion of ratification procedures by both jurisdictions. In the case of Hong Kong, it will be implemented by way of an order to be made by the Chief Executive in Council under the Inland Revenue Ordinance (Cap. 112). The order is subject to negative vetting by the Legislative Council.
Details of the Hong Kong-Bangladesh CDTA can be found on the Inland Revenue Department's website (https://www.ird.gov.hk/eng/pdf/Agreement_Bangladesh_HongKong.pdf).
Hong Kong will continue to negotiate with trading and investment partners with a view to expanding its CDTA network.
For relevant press release, please visit https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202308/30/P2023083000296.htm.