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3 April 2024

What's New
Topical Issues
Business News

The Support and Consultation Centre for SMEs (SUCCESS) run by the Trade and Industry Department (TID) of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (the Government of the HKSAR) provides small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with free business information and consultation services.

Our website:
Our email:
Our customer hotline:(852)2398 5133
(Service hours of hotline and counters: Monday to Friday 8:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m. & 1:30 p.m.-5:45 p.m., other than public holidays)

More Details

"Four-in-One" Integrated Services of SMEs Centres

To strengthen support for SMEs and to raise SMEs' awareness of the various funding schemes and support services, the TID consolidated the services of the existing four SMEs centres, namely, the "SUCCESS" under the TID, the "SME Centre" under the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), the "SME One" under the Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC) and the "TecONE" under the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP), in October 2019 to provide one-stop "Four-in-One" integrated services for SMEs.  Enterprises can obtain business information, funding schemes information and advisory services, etc. at any of the centres.  In addition, a web portal called "SME Linkis also established for SMEs to access information and support services provided by the four SMEs centres and government departments from a single online platform.

"Government Funding Schemes" of the SME Link

The Government provides over 40 funding schemes with different funding scopes, amounts and requirements to promote and support the development of enterprises and industries in Hong Kong.  The "Government Funding Schemes" web page of the SME Link features information on these 40+ funding schemes, including overview and useful hyperlinks.  The web page's search tool supports multiple search filters to facilitate enterprises identifying suitable funding schemes.

Events & Activities of the SME Link

The "Events & Activities" of the SME Link facilitates enterprises to obtain information on activities organised by the four SMEs centres and various government departments, including seminars, workshops, exhibitions, conferences, training courses, etc., from a single platform, and also provides relevant links to facilitate registration.


What's New

2023-24 Hong Kong Awards for Industries (HKAI): Invitation for Entries

The 2023-24 HKAI, supported by the Government of the HKSAR, is now open for entries. Hong Kong companies in the manufacturing and services sectors are invited to join. The closing date for entries is 7 June 2024.

More Details and Relevant Press Release

"Four-in-One" Seminar Series

The four SMEs centres co-organise "Four-in-One" seminar series regularly. Themes of this seminar series in the first half of 2024 are "E-commerce", "Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)" and "Funding Schemes". Upcoming seminar related to "E-commerce" is listed below. Interested persons are welcome to register at the link shown therein. Admission is Free.

Douyin: Strategies and Skills for Mainland E-commerce Platforms (Seminar)

(This seminar will be held at Trade and Industry Tower on 12 April 2024)

This seminar is held by the SUCCESS under the TID. In this seminar, an online marketing expert is invited to provide an in-depth introduction to the characteristics, user groups and operational techniques of the Douyin, one of the social media and e-commerce platforms in the Mainland of China. The expert will also share tips for digital marketing through Douyin, with a view to assisting SMEs in improving promotional results in developing businesses in the Mainland. (This seminar will be conducted in Cantonese.)

More Details and Registration

SUCCESS-supported Activity

Webinar on Competition Ordinance

(This webinar will be live-streamed on 24 April 2024)

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, as well as competition law case studies. (This webinar will be conducted in English.)

More Details

Inland Revenue Department: Electronic Filing of Employer’s Return - Easy, Secure and Environment-friendly

The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) issued employer’s returns, i.e. Employer’s Return of Remuneration and Pensions (Form BIR56A) for the year ended 31 March 2024 on 2 April 2024. Employers are required to complete and file the returns, together with the completed Form IR56B for reporting remuneration paid to employees and pension paid, to the IRD within one month.

Employers can file the employer’s returns online by using “iAM Smart+” or eTAX account. To tie in with employers in preparing early, the IR56 Forms Preparation Tool can be used to prepare the data file of annual Form IR56B starting from 1 March each year. Upon receipt of the Form BIR56A, employers can upload the IR56B data file to the IRD via the Online Mode or the Mixed Mode submission. Employers adopting the Mixed Mode submission, after uploading of data file(s), are only required to submit the duly signed paper form BIR56A and the duly signed Cover Page (i.e. the first page) of paper Control List generated from the system to complete the submission process.

Please visit the IRD website: for details.

Inland Revenue Department: 2023-24 Electronic Filing of Profits Tax Returns  

The IRD issued 2023/24 Profits Tax returns to corporations and partnership businesses on 2 April 2024. This is the second year in which the IRD has implemented the voluntary e-filing initiative. Taxpayers are encouraged to participate in the voluntary e-filing of their profits tax returns and the required forms together with the supporting documents (including financial statements and tax computations) in iXBRL format.

To facilitate taxpayers in preparing the required iXBRL data files, the IRD is providing the IRD Taxonomy Package (the Taxonomy) and the IRD iXBRL Data Preparation Tools (the Tools), which can be downloaded from the IRD website, free of charge.

The Taxonomy and the Tools have been updated and enhanced in 2024. The major enhanced features include:

  • Adding a roll-over function
  • Increasing the gross income threshold for the use of Template Tool from HK$2 million to HK$5 million

Meanwhile, the first Traditional Chinese edition of the Taxonomy and the Traditional Chinese Tools, which enable taxpayers to convert their Traditional Chinese supporting documents into iXBRL data files, will also be launched.

More details on e-filing of profits tax returns and iXBRL filing can be found on the IRD webpages at and, respectively.

For enquiries in relation to the iXBRL filing requirements and the use of the Tools, you may contact the IRD at, or access e-Appointment to book a specific timeslot to make enquiries via phone.

Benefits of e-filing

  • Minimizing errors in tax filing
  • Reducing the turnaround time for signature or authorization arrangement
  • Enhancing the efficiency, reliability and accuracy
  • Providing round-the-clock service

IRD issues profits tax, property tax and employer's returns for 2023-24

The IRD on 2 April 2024 issued about 220 000 profits tax returns, 120 000 property tax returns and 310 000 employer's returns for the year of assessment 2023-24. About 2.44 million tax returns for individuals will be issued on 2 May 2024. Taxpayers and employers are generally required to file their returns within one month from the date of issue of the relevant returns. For cases with tax representatives appointed, the deadlines for filing returns are set out in the Block Extension Letter posted on the department's website.

Members of the public can visit the department's website ( for frequently asked questions and answers on how to complete tax returns. The department has gradually enhanced the functions of electronic tax filing to promote tax digitalisation and to enhance the efficiency, reliability and accuracy of return filing. Taxpayers are encouraged to file their tax returns through eTAX electronic services, details of which can be found on the webpage ( Guidance on electronic filing of employer's returns is also available on the department's website ( The eTAX services permit individuals to use the Government's "iAM Smart" digital services to log in and sign the tax returns (signing is only applicable to holders of "iAM Smart" accounts with digital signing function). For information about the "iAM Smart" services, please visit the website (

In 2023, the department launched a new model of e-filing of Profits Tax returns where taxpayers can e-file the returns together with the supporting documents (including financial statements and profits tax computations) in inline eXtensible Business Reporting Language (iXBRL) format. To facilitate taxpayers in preparing the required iXBRL data files, the department provides the IRD Taxonomy Package (the Taxonomy) and the IRD iXBRL Data Preparation Tools (the Tools) which are available for download from the website ( free of charge. The Taxonomy and the Tools have been updated and enhanced in 2024. Enhanced features include adding a roll-over function and increasing the gross income threshold for the use of Template Tool from $2 million to $5 million. The traditional Chinese edition of the Taxonomy and the Tools which enable taxpayers to convert their financial statements and profits tax computations compiled in traditional Chinese into iXBRL data files have also been launched.

Taxpayers are encouraged to file their Profits Tax returns by e-filing. More details of new versions and enhanced features of the Taxonomy and the Tools can be found on the dedicated webpage ( For enquiries in relation to the iXBRL filing requirements and the use of the Tools, taxpayers may contact the department at or access e-Appointment ( on the IRD's website to book in advance a specific timeslot for making enquiries via phone.

The department reminds taxpayers and employers to pay sufficient postage for returns to be posted to the department to ensure timely delivery. Underpaid mail items will not be accepted by the department. Postage rates can be found on Hongkong Post's website (

For relevant press release, please visit

Free Trade Agreement Transhipment Facilitation Scheme of Hong Kong Customs extended

Hong Kong Customs on 1 April 2024 extended the Free Trade Agreement Transhipment Facilitation Scheme (FTA Scheme) to cover transshipment cargoes from the Mainland to Singapore via Hong Kong.

The scope of service of the FTA Scheme originally covers cargoes of 67 economies under 19 trade agreements signed between the Mainland and its trading partners that will be transshipped northbound via Hong Kong to the Mainland, and the Mainland transshipment cargoes heading southbound for Taiwan, Korea and Australia under five trade agreements signed. Upon the extension, local traders starting from 1 April 2024 can apply to Hong Kong Customs for a Certificate of Non-manipulation for the purpose of claiming preferential tariff under the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Co-operation between the Association of South East Asian Nations and the People's Republic of China, the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement or the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement for cargoes from the Mainland transshipped to Singapore via Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Customs will make continued efforts in extending the coverage of the FTA Scheme to enable more goods passing through Hong Kong to enjoy tariff concessions provided under relevant trade agreements, with a view to reinforcing Hong Kong's status as a logistics hub.

Hong Kong Customs has implemented the FTA Scheme since 20 December 2015, to provide traders with Customs supervision service and issue the Certificate of Non-manipulation to certify transshipment cargoes that have not undergone any further processing during their stay in Hong Kong. For applications, please visit

For relevant press release, please visit

Hospital Authority and HKSTP formally launch data platform to support scientific research for tech enterprises in Science Park

The Hospital Authority (HA) and the HKSTP announced on 28 March 2024 that the Data Collaboration Lab at the Science Park is now officially open to eligible innovation and technology (I&T) enterprises in Science Park for applications to use HA clinical data for research and development purposes. The HA and the HKSTP will fully support the I&T companies in Science Park to enhance clinical research in Hong Kong for the benefit of patients.

The HA and the HKSTP signed a collaboration agreement in September 2023 to commence a pilot programme. This initiative has led to the first and, at present, only platform in Hong Kong that facilitates access to the HA's clinical data for purposes beyond academic research and development. The Science Park's two pioneering biotechnology enterprises have engaged in a trial of the HA's medical data. The feedback from these two companies has been overwhelmingly positive, with a high level of satisfaction reported concerning the content of data, the robustness of the technology platform, and the overall user experience. They have also acknowledged the considerable value of the data for research purposes.

The HA and the HKSTP will officially provide access to the data platform for all eligible research institutions in Science Park, mainly biotech and healthcare companies. They can access the HA's data platform, which contains anonymised data of around 200 000 patients from the HA database, via a remote connection at designated locations. The data includes patients' demographic characteristics, attendance records at hospitals or clinics, clinical diagnoses, procedures, medication and examination results, etc.

The HA's Senior Systems Manager, Mr Dennis Lee, said, "The further opening of the HA data platform is an important step in promoting the development of clinical research. It allows research institutions to fully explore the potential of the clinical data in Hong Kong, and investigate the possibilities of life science research in the future. The HA will fully collaborate with the Government's policy in promoting scientific research, rendering vigorous support to scientific research development and driving the potential use of healthcare data by more scientific research institutions, in order to enhance healthcare quality and benefits for patients."

The HKSTP's Head of Institute for Translational Research, Dr Grace Lau, said, "Data plays a pivotal role in advancing innovation and technological development. We are immensely pleased to collaborate with the Hospital Authority to establish the HKSTP HA Data Collaboration Lab. This initiative is highly beneficial for innovative technology enterprises seeking to advance their research and development efforts, and it also promotes the translation of scientific research into tangible public benefits. We will continue to maintain close ties with the Government, industry, academia, and research institutions, providing the necessary support to foster the growth of the entire innovation and technology ecosystem."

The HA and the HKSTP have attached great importance to the safety of patient data and privacy, and there is a robust mechanism to protect the data. All personal identifiers have been completely removed. Science Park will ensure that institutions comply with the requirements of the HA when using the data, and that the data will only be used with authorisation. The data is contained in the HA, and cannot be downloaded, saved or printed by users.

The HKSTP has also established a Clinical Research Ethics Committee and a Data Governance Committee to ensure that when I&T enterprises utilise data, they comply with all matters related to data protection and privacy, as well as clinical research ethics. The HKSTP has embedded a series of stringent security measures to protect data security and privacy. The network is isolated from the Internet to prevent unauthorised access. In addition, there are onsite personnel, surveillance systems, and a dedicated room for exclusive access.

The HA and the HKSTP will continue to support the Government's policy to support and promote scientific research, and to support the research institutions so as to enhance the quality of scientific research in Hong Kong.

For relevant press release, please visit

HKMA introduces nine measures to support SMEs

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), together with the Banking Sector SME Lending Coordination Mechanism (Mechanism), announced on 28 March 2024 a series of measures to assist SMEs in obtaining financing from banks and to support their continuous development.

SMEs are the bedrock of the Hong Kong economy and an important customer segment for banks. In 2023, the 11 participating banks in the Mechanism together approved over 110,000 loans to SMEs, involving an aggregate facility limit of over HK$450 billion.

Although the local economy has been recovering gradually, some SMEs are still facing challenges in their operations. Taking into account the views of the commercial sectors, the Mechanism decided to launch the following nine measures to assist SMEs in navigating a complex and ever-changing operating environment and to increase their bargaining power relative to banks:

Supporting the financing needs of SMEs

(1) Never demand early repayments from mortgage customers who repay on schedule: The participating banks in the Mechanism commit to follow the guidance issued by the HKMA on 20 December 2023 not to demand early repayments from mortgage borrowers who make payments on schedule.

(2) Give customers a transition period of at least six months for credit limit adjustments: When performing periodic review of credit limits, banks will take into account a range of factors such as the borrower’s credit demand, overall financial position and repayment ability. Banks will not adjust a credit limit merely due to a change in the collateral value. If the credit limit needs to be lowered due to changes in the customer’s credit demand or its risk profile, banks will give at least six months for the customer to transition to the new credit limit, provided that the customer has been making payments on schedule and has not breached any loan covenant.

(3) Expedite the handling of applications for the 80% and 90% Guarantee Products: The Financial Secretary announced in the 2024-25 Budget that the application period for the 80% and 90% Guarantee Products under the SME Financing Guarantee Scheme would be extended for two years to the end of March 2026. Banks will co-operate with HKMC Insurance Limited to actively review the handling process, with a view to expediting loan approvals.

(4) Apply the principles under the Pre-approved Principal Payment Holiday Scheme to support customers facing difficulties: For SMEs facing challenges in their operations, banks will be sympathetic in providing suitable credit relief, subject to prudent risk-management principles. This includes referencing the arrangements under the Pre-approved Principal Payment Holiday Scheme in offering loan restructuring to ease customers’ cash-flow pressure. For corporates which have transitioned to partial principal repayment under the Scheme, banks will, upon a customer’s request, consider extending the duration of the partial principal repayment, allow the customer to choose a lower proportion of partial principal repayment or even offer principal moratorium. The above-mentioned arrangements are also applicable to taxi loans, public light bus loans and commercial vehicle loans taken out by personal customers.

(5) Offer credit products that better serve SMEs’ needs and other support services: Leveraging financial technology including the Commercial Data Interchange (CDI) launched by the HKMA, banks will actively explore the launch of bespoke credit products for SMEs such as unsecured loans with fast approval. Apart from credit products, banks will offer other services to support the business development of SMEs. Examples include cross-border banking services, digital business services, and services related to e-commerce and ESG to assist SMEs in their business expansion, upgrade and transformation.

(6) Actively consider lowering interest charges and fees: Banks will improve the transparency of fees for SME banking services. For SME customers in need, banks will also consider offering fee waivers, interest or other concessions to ease their financial burden.

Enhancing the bargaining power of SMEs

(7) Set up a one-stop platform for providing information on banking services for SMEs: To facilitate SMEs to compare and select banking services of different banks, the HKMA will create a dedicated web page to provide information on banks’ SME lending services, including their service hotlines and credit products offered. The HKMA will also create a dedicated email account ( and an enquiry hotline (2878 1199) to collect and convey feedback received from SMEs on banking services.

(8) Provide convenience to customers to switch lending banks: Banks will undertake to provide assistance to SME customers who wish to switch to another lending bank. Through the HKMA’s Interbank Account Data Sharing (IADS) initiative, the original lending bank will provide a customer’s bank account data to the new lending bank with the customer’s consent. In addition, the original lending bank will commit to provide the customer’s existing credit information to the customer within seven working days, so that the customer can pass on such information to the new lending bank to expedite their account opening and loan applications. For credit facilities that are secured by property, the original lending bank will endeavour to release the charge over the collateral within six weeks after receipt of the relevant legal instructions, except in exceptional circumstances.

Strengthening communication

(9) Regular meetings with business sectors to understand the needs of SMEs: The Hong Kong Association of Banks (HKAB) and Chinese Banking Association of Hong Kong (HKCBA) will take lead in arranging regular meetings between the banks and the business sectors to understand the needs of SMEs. This will enable banks to continuously enhance their banking services and strengthen their support for SMEs. The HKAB and HKCBA will regularly communicate with the HKMA on the progress of their outreach.

The HKMA will follow up on the above measures via the Mechanism, and maintain close communication and join hands with the banking and commercial sectors in supporting the continuous development of SMEs.


The Mechanism was established by the HKMA in October 2019. Participants include 11 banks that are most active in SME lending. The HKAB and the HKMC Insurance Limited are also represented in the Mechanism. During the pandemic, the Mechanism rolled out several rounds of relief measures for corporates, including the Pre-approved Principal Payment Holiday Scheme. An orderly exit from the Scheme commenced at the end of July 2023, with the focus of the Scheme moving from tiding corporates over the pandemic to assisting their return to normal repayment. Participating corporates may choose to repay 20 per cent of the original principal repayment amount with a duration of 18 months, or 50 per cent of the original principal repayment amount with a duration of 30 months. For corporates which are not financially able to transition to partial principal repayment, banks will continue to offer principal moratorium on a case-by-case basis.

For relevant press release, please visit

Clansmen Culture Promotion Scheme starts application from 1 April 2024

The Home Affairs Department (HAD) announced on 28 March 2024 that the Clansmen Culture Promotion Scheme will be open for application from 1 April 2024 to provide funding subsidy for clansmen associations to organise activities promoting hometown culture.

The Chief Executive announced in his 2023 Policy Address the launch of the Clansmen Culture Promotion Scheme for a period of three years, with a total funding of $30 million earmarked for application by clansmen associations to organise activities promoting hometown culture. The scheme aims to deepen the public’s understanding of and sense of belonging to their hometowns, thereby fostering the spirit of loving the motherland, Hong Kong and their hometowns. The HAD will earmark a dedicated funding of $10 million for each of the next three financial years for application by clansmen associations.

Any locally registered clansmen associations with good reputation and track record; which have all along been committed to promoting hometown culture and fostering exchanges between Hong Kong and hometowns in order to promote the spirit of loving the motherland, Hong Kong and hometowns; and with experience in organising relevant activities, are eligible to apply for subsidy under the scheme to organise relevant activities to promote and preserve hometown culture, unite clansmen in Hong Kong and facilitate exchanges between the two places. There is no restriction on the form of the activities. As long as the activities are non-profit-making in nature and in line with the objectives of the scheme, applicant associations can make applications under the scheme. Generally speaking, the funding ceiling for each activity is $200,000; applications exceeding the funding ceiling will be considered on a discretionary basis, taking into account the scale, creativity and content of the activities.

The HAD will accept funding applications for 2024-25 from clansmen associations starting from 1 April 2024, and hold briefings on 2 and 5 April 2024 to introduce the details of the scheme to eligible applicant associations. Application for 2024-25 will be open until 30 April 2024. For enquiries, please contact the HAD by email (

For relevant press release, please visit

Inland Revenue (Amendment) (Tax Concessions for Intellectual Property Income) Bill 2024 gazetted

The Government published the Inland Revenue (Amendment) (Tax Concessions for Intellectual Property Income) Bill 2024 in the Gazette on 28 March 2024 to implement the “patent box” tax incentive, thereby encouraging enterprises to forge ahead with more research and development (R&D) activities and promote intellectual property (IP) trading, strengthening Hong Kong's competitiveness as a regional IP trading centre.

A spokesman for the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau said, “The relevant amendments aim to put into effect a major policy measure under the Chief Executive’s 2023 Policy Address to promote the development of IP trading, which provides tax concessions for profits sourced in Hong Kong and derived from eligible IP created through R&D activities.”

The 2023 Policy Address has announced that the concessionary tax rate for the “patent box” tax incentive will be set at 5 per cent, which is substantially lower than the prevailing normal profits tax rate in Hong Kong (i.e. 16.5 per cent). This aims to encourage the innovation and technology (I&T) sector to actively engage in more R&D activities and conduct commercialisation transactions making use of patents and other IP protections, and create more IPs with market potential as a catalyst for promoting I&T and IP trading activities.

In addition, to encourage and promote more filings under the local patent system (in particular the original grant patent (OGP) system) for obtaining legal protection locally, if the relevant eligible IP is a patent filed or granted outside Hong Kong, the Government proposes to additionally require that there must already be an application for or a grant of an OGP or a short-term patent (STP) in Hong Kong for the underlying invention in order to qualify for the “patent box” tax incentive. A post-grant substantive examination request must also be filed for an STP. The relevant requirement will apply to those applications for registration of an eligible IP which are filed after the period of 24 months following the commencement date of the Bill.

“The increase in IP trading activities will be conducive to creating more business and employment opportunities for relevant professional services such as legal, valuation, management, consultation and agency services, thereby further developing and strengthening the IP ecosystem. All these will help foster Hong Kong’s development into an international I&T centre and a regional IP trading centre as set out in the 14th Five-Year Plan,” the spokesman added.

The Bill will be introduced into the Legislative Council for first and second readings on 10 April 2024.

For relevant press release, please visit

United Nations Sanctions (Libya) Regulation 2019 (Amendment) Regulation 2024 gazetted

The Government gazetted the United Nations Sanctions (Libya) Regulation 2019 (Amendment) Regulation 2024 (the Amendment Regulation) on 28 March 2024, which came into operation on the same day.

“The Amendment Regulation amends the United Nations Sanctions (Libya) Regulation 2019 to give effect to certain decisions relating to sanctions in the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 2664 and 2701 in respect of Libya,” a Government spokesman said.

The amendments renew the sanctions measures in respect of preventing illicit petroleum exports from Libya, and reflect the latest exemption arrangements in respect of arms embargo and asset freeze.

For relevant press release, please visit

United Nations Sanctions (Yemen) Regulation 2019 (Amendment) Regulation 2024 gazetted

The Government gazetted the United Nations Sanctions (Yemen) Regulation 2019 (Amendment) Regulation 2024 (the Amendment Regulation) on 28 March 2024, which came into operation on the same day.

"The Amendment Regulation amends the United Nations Sanctions (Yemen) Regulation 2019 to give effect to certain decisions relating to sanctions in the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2707 in respect of Yemen," a Government spokesperson said.

The amendments renew the financial sanctions and travel ban.

For relevant press release, please visit

Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Mediator Accreditation Rules (Hong Kong Special Administrative Region) officially promulgated

The Working Group on the Greater Bay Area Mediation Platform, comprising representatives from legal departments of Guangdong Province, the HKSAR and the Macao Special Administrative Region, was established in August 2021 to assist and support the operation of the Greater Bay Area (GBA) Mediation Platform. The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Mediator Accreditation Standards were promulgated by the GBA Mediation Platform, for reference of the legal departments of the three places when laying down the local accreditation rules. The third meeting of the Working Group was held on 24 November 2023. The discussion focused on their respective local accreditation rules for accreditation of GBA mediators formulated by each of the three places as well as the requirements for the GBA mediator training courses.

At the Fifth Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Legal Departments Joint Conference on 7 December 2023, the three parties had in-depth discussions on topics including their respective local accreditation rules for accreditation of GBA mediators and taking forward the establishment of a GBA mediator panel, based on the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Mediator Accreditation Standards. The three parties reached an agreement to promulgate and implement their respective local accreditation rules for accreditation of GBA mediators in the first quarter of 2024.

The Working Group on the Greater Bay Area Mediation Platform promulgated the local accreditation rules for accreditation of GBA mediators of the three places on 28 March 2024. The Department of Justice of Hong Kong formulated the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Mediator Accreditation Rules (Hong Kong Special Administrative Region) applicable to the accreditation through Hong Kong, based on the requirements of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Mediator Accreditation Standards.

The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Mediator Accreditation Rules (Hong Kong Special Administrative Region) are available on the Department of Justice website.

For relevant press release, please visit

Dentists Registration (Amendment) Bill 2024 to be introduced into LegCo

The Dentists Registration (Amendment) Bill 2024 (the Bill) was gazetted on 28 March 2024, with the First Reading at the Legislative Council scheduled for 10 April 2024, to amend the legislative framework that has been in place since 1959.

The Bill proposes to create new pathways for admitting qualified non-locally trained dentists to practise in Hong Kong, introduce an internship for local dental graduates and a period of assessment for non-locally trained dentists to enrich their clinical experience, as well as update the regulatory regime for dental hygienists and dental therapists to tie in with the Government's policy direction of promoting oral health and dental care. The introduction of the Bill aims to increase dental manpower in Hong Kong to support public and subsidised dental services and enhance the overall standards of dental professionals to better protect users of dental services.

Admission of non-locally trained dentists

Hong Kong is now facing an acute shortage of dentists, with only 0.37 dentist per 1 000 population. This ratio is considerably lower than that in Mainland China and other advanced economies. Such a manpower shortage persists despite the fact that the Government had increased the number of local training places for dentists on four occasions (from 50 per year in the 2008-09 academic year to 90 per year in the 2022-23 academic year). In recent years, the manpower shortage has been particularly severe in the public sector which offers, amongst others, school dental care and other public dental services. As at 1 January 2024, the vacancy rate of the Dental Officer grade of the Department of Health (DH) has reached 27 per cent (100 vacancies out of 370 posts).

With reference to the experience of admitting non-locally trained medical practitioners, the Bill will introduce new pathways for admitting qualified non-locally trained dentists, including the limited registration (LR) to be open to all dentists and the special registration (SR) to be provided for specialist dentists. For any non-locally trained dentist who is selected for full-time employment in a specified institution, including the DH, the Hospital Authority, the University of Hong Kong and the Prince Philip Dental Hospital, he or she may submit an LR or SR application to the Dental Council of Hong Kong (DCHK), and, upon approval, directly practise in the aforementioned specified institution.

If a non-locally trained dentist has served in a specified institution(s) for at least five years in aggregate and is certified by the employing specified institution(s) to have served satisfactorily, an LR dentist will be exempted from taking part of the licensing examination while an SR dentist may be exempted from taking part or all of the licensing examination subject to the DCHK's consideration in accordance with the nature of work undertaken by the dentist. The non-locally trained dentist will be eligible for full registration to practise in any institution in Hong Kong after passing the required part of the licensing examination.

The Bill will also introduce temporary registration (TR) to enable dentists from other jurisdictions to perform clinical teaching or research in Hong Kong for a period not exceeding 14 days. A TR dentist cannot migrate to full registration.

Internship and period of assessment

To further enhance the professional standard of dentists, the Bill will require local dental graduates and non-locally trained dentists who opt to take the licensing examination directly to undergo a one-year internship or period of assessment before obtaining full registration by modelling on the prevailing practice for medical practitioners. The requirement will enhance their clinical experience in real-life work settings and enable them to get familiar with the practice in Hong Kong, thereby safeguarding patients' safety to a greater extent.

Under the new requirement, local dental graduates will need to undergo a one-year internship before obtaining full registration. As students of the local Bachelor of Dental Surgery programme about to graduate this summer have started to seek employment, the internship requirement will apply to local dental graduates of the class of 2025 and thereafter at the earliest.

As for non-locally trained dentists who are not admitted to Hong Kong through LR or SR but opt to take the licensing examination directly, they will, upon passing the licensing examination, need to undergo a period of assessment for one year (or a duration specified by the DCHK, subject to the dentist's clinical experience) before obtaining full registration.

The exact timing for implementing the above arrangements for internship and period of assessment will hinge on the actual legislative progress.

Registration system for dental care professionals

At present, two categories of ancillary dental workers in Hong Kong directly provide dental care services to patients under the supervision of dentists. They include:

(1) Dental hygienists (Note): To perform preventive dental care (e.g. oral examination, education, teeth cleaning and polishing, fluoride application, as well as scaling); and

(2) Dental therapists: Currently employed by the DH only to provide school dental care service and perform preventive dental care and basic curative dental care (e.g. filling and extraction).

The Bill will update the regulatory regime for ancillary dental workers by introducing a statutory registration system, while retitling the relevant workers as dental care professionals (DenCPs). Meanwhile, the Bill will suitably adjust the scope of practice of dental hygienists and dental therapists on a risk-based approach by specifying the types of dental work they can perform and the related conditions. This serves to establish the professional status of these workers, while ensuring their service quality under a more formalised regulatory regime to safeguard the rights of patients.

Upon legislative amendment, dental hygienists and dental therapists must be engaged by a registered dentist(s), or a partnership, organisation, establishment or body corporate which has engaged registered dentist(s), for practice. The Government expects the DCHK to put in place the statutory registration system for DenCPs within three years after passage of the Bill to enable dental therapists to work in organisations other than the DH (including those in the public or private sector).

Other amendments

The Bill will specify continuing professional development as a mandatory requirement for dentists and DenCPs in a bid to maintain their professional competencies, and also revamp the composition and structure of the DCHK to cater for its additional statutory functions. Furthermore, the Bill will make other technical amendments, such as updating the definition of practising dentistry, to bring the regulatory regime up to date.

Note: The existing Chinese title of dental hygienists (牙齒衞生員) is not in line with that of dental therapists (牙科治療師). Their current scope of work is not limited to teeth (牙齒) (such as taking x-ray films inter-orally or extra-orally for the investigation of lesions of the mouth, jaw, teeth and associated structures). The Government will rename the title as "牙科衞生員" when introducing the statutory registration system.

For relevant press release, please visit

CE signs Safeguarding National Security Ordinance

The Chief Executive, Mr John Lee, signed on 22 March 2024, in accordance with Article 48(3) of the Basic Law, the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance passed by the Legislative Council. The Ordinance took effect upon gazettal on 23 March.

"The Safeguarding National Security Ordinance officially took effect on 23 March 2024, ensuring the effective protection of national security. It signifies that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) has fulfilled its constitutional responsibility as stipulated in Article 23 of the Basic Law to enact local legislation to safeguard national security, and accomplished a historic mission, living up to the trust placed in us by the Central Authorities and the country," Mr Lee said.

"The completion of the legislation of Article 23 of the Basic Law is essential to the implementation of the principle of 'one country, two systems', ensuring the effective protection of national security of 'one country' and the long-term prosperity and stability of the HKSAR under 'two systems'."

"The Safeguarding National Security Ordinance will bring safety to society. With safety comes stability; with stability comes prosperity. A safe and stable environment is crucial to the success of business activities and enterprises, without which businesses might suffer financial losses, and their investments and operations could be sabotaged or come under attack. Therefore, a safe and stable environment will make Hong Kong an attractive place for enterprises and investments."

"While safeguarding security, the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance ensures human rights and freedoms are protected, and the principles of protecting human rights and freedoms have already been clearly and explicitly stipulated in the legal provisions, indicating that, under the Ordinance, human rights are to be respected and protected, and the rights and freedoms, including the freedoms of speech, of the press and of publication, the freedoms of association, of assembly, of procession and of demonstration, enjoyed under the Basic Law and the provisions of two international covenants as applied to the HKSAR, namely the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, are to be protected in accordance with the law. The Ordinance also, as stipulated, ensures the property and investment in the HKSAR are protected by the law."

"The Ordinance fully implements the requirements set out in Article 23 of the Basic Law, the Decision of the National People's Congress on Establishing and Improving the Legal System and Enforcement Mechanisms for the HKSAR to Safeguard National Security (5.28 Decision), and the Hong Kong National Security Law for improving the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for the HKSAR to safeguard national security, ensuring the comprehensiveness and effectiveness of the protection of national security. The HKSAR Government will effectively discharge its responsibilities and carry out the work under the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance. It will also continue to enhance public education and publicity to deepen public understanding of the necessity of safeguarding national security and its pivotal role in maintaining the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong."

"From tomorrow on (23 March 2024), the national security of the HKSAR will be more effectively safeguarded, allowing Hong Kong to move forward without worries or burden. The HKSAR Government will continue to lead Hong Kong in fully focusing on economic development, improving people's livelihoods, and maintaining the long-term prosperity and stability of the city, with a view to creating a brighter and more abundant future together."

For relevant press release, please visit

HKMA and SFC further consult on enhancements to Hong Kong's OTC derivatives reporting regime

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) launched on 22 March 2024 a joint further consultation on enhancements to the over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives reporting regime in Hong Kong.

To align with global standards, the HKMA and the SFC conducted a consultation in April 2019, and one of the proposed requirements was identifying transactions submitted to the Hong Kong Trade Repository (HKTR) for the reporting obligation by a Unique Transaction Identifier (Notes 1 and 2).

The current joint further consultation consults on the implementation of the Unique Transaction Identifier, together with the mandatory use of Unique Product Identifier and Critical Data Elements for submission of transactions to the HKTR (Notes 3 and 4). These proposals ensure that Hong Kong's reporting regime keeps up with international developments.

The HKMA and the SFC also concluded that the list of designated jurisdictions for the masking relief of the reporting obligation remains unchanged (Note 5).

The joint consultation paper can be downloaded from the websites of the HKMA or the SFC. Interested parties are invited to submit comments to the HKMA or the SFC on the proposals by 17 May 2024.

For relevant press release, please visit

Note 1: Phase 2 reporting of the OTC derivatives transactions came into effect on July 1, 2017, covering all five major asset classes (interest rates, foreign exchange, credit, commodities and equities) of the OTC derivatives.

Note 2: Unique Transaction Identifier is a unique identifier assigned to identify each reported OTC derivatives transaction with the structure and format as set out in the Technical Guidance on Harmonisation of the Unique Transaction Identifier issued by the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures (CPMI) and the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) in February 2017.

Note 3: Unique Product Identifier is a unique identifier to denote a specific OTC derivatives product with the structure and format as set out in the Technical Guidance on Harmonisation of the Unique Product Identifier issued by the CPMI and IOSCO in September 2017.

Note 4: Critical Data Elements are a standard set of OTC derivatives transaction data elements (other than Unique Transaction Identifier and Unique Product Identifier), formats and allowable values published by the CPMI and the IOSCO in April 2018 and by the Regulatory Oversight Committee of the Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation in September 2021 and September 2023.

Note 5: Masking relief was introduced when phase 1 reporting took effect in July 2015 to deal with situations where a reporting entity is prevented from submitting certain information identifying the counterparty to the HKTR due to legal or regulatory barriers in certain jurisdictions. This enables reporting entities to mask counterparty information when they encounter reporting barriers in a jurisdiction that is on the SFC's designated list. In 2019, the SFC consulted the industry on revising the designated list in view of international developments and as a housekeeping exercise.

Second round of Labour Importation Scheme for Transport Sector - Public Light Bus/Coach Trade opens for applications till 26 April 2024

The second round of the Labour Importation Scheme for the Transport Sector - Public Light Bus/Coach Trade (Scheme) is open for application from 25 March 2024.

The application procedures and operational details of the Scheme are similar to those of the first round of application. Applicants who are interested in importing public light bus or coach drivers shall submit the completed application form together with the required documents to the Transport Department (TD) between 25 March and 26 April. An interdepartmental liaison group comprising representatives from the Transport and Logistics Bureau, the Labour Department (LD) and the TD will vet the applications, and approval decisions will be made by the Commissioner for Transport. The approval process will be completed in about two months' time after the end of the application period.

The TD will continue to engage in regular meetings with the stakeholder consultative group to listen to the views of stakeholders, including employers and labour representatives, on the Scheme. Information dissemination will also be enhanced through the consultative group in order to facilitate the smooth implementation and execution of the Scheme.

The Scheme details and application form can be found on the TD's website ( For enquiries, please call 2804 2600.

Premised on safeguarding the employment of local labour, the Scheme was introduced in July 2023 to allow the transport sector to suitably import labour with a view to relieving the acute manpower shortage and facilitating the provision of reliable public transport services. A total of 969 quotas were approved under the first round of the Scheme in September 2023, with about 70 per cent having submitted to the Immigration Department visa applications for imported labour. For about half of these submitted applications, the drivers have arrived to undergo driving training and driving tests in Hong Kong and have been/will be deployed to assigned routes.

For relevant press release, please visit


Topical Issues

Support Measures relating to Liquidity

In view of the cash-flow pressure of SMEs, SUCCESS has compiled a summary of support measures relating to liquidity.

More Details

SME ReachOut

“SME ReachOut”, a dedicated service team operated by HKPC, has commenced operation since 1 January 2020 to enhance SMEs’ understanding of the Government’s funding schemes, with a view to encouraging better utilisation of the support provided by the Government. The team would help SMEs identify funding schemes that suit their needs, and answer questions relating to applications.

The Government has allocated $100 million to HKPC to gradually enhance the services of “SME ReachOut” in the ensuing five years starting from 2023. HKPC has enhanced the services of “SME ReachOut” in October 2023, including arranging visits to more chambers of commerce, commercial and industrial buildings and co-working spaces, and increasing the publicity in social media so as to step up the promotion of government funding schemes. At the same time, more one-on-one consultation sessions will be provided to assist SMEs in applying for government funding and building their capacities, focusing on areas such as ESG, technology transformation, digitalisation and cyber security, with a view to enhancing their competitiveness through leveraging new technologies.

For further information or enquiries on “SME ReachOut”, please contact “SME ReachOut” Hotline / WhatsApp (Text Message Only) at 2788 6868 or email by or visit

Dedicated Fund on Branding, Upgrading and Domestic Sales (BUD Fund)

Following the signing of the Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement between Hong Kong and Bahrain, the geographical scope of funding support of the BUD Fund has been extended to Bahrain with effect from 3 March 2024 to further support Hong Kong enterprises in developing their businesses in the market. The total number of economies covered under the BUD Fund is thereby increased to 391 .

The HKPC as the BUD Fund implementation partner regularly organises seminars/webinars in order to enhance enterprises’ understanding of the BUD Fund, including "Easy BUD". For more details of the BUD Fund, please visit its website ( or contact the HKPC at 2788 6088.

1Besides the newly added economy of Bahrain, the other 38 economies covered under the BUD Fund are the Mainland, New Zealand, the four member states of the European Free Trade Association (i.e. Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), Chile, Macao, the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (comprising Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam), Georgia, Australia, Austria, Belgo-Luxembourg Economic Union, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Mexico, the Netherlands, Sweden, Türkiye, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.

Corruption Prevention Advisory Service (CPAS) of ICAC

A good governance system is vital for SMEs' effective operation, and can help sustain their company image and hence counterparts' confidence in doing business with them. The Corruption Prevention Department of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has launched the Corruption Prevention Advisory Service (CPAS). The CPAS is a specialised unit dedicated to providing tailor-made, free and confidential corruption prevention advice on system control in common business areas such as procurement and staff administration. Enterprises can access its user-friendly web portal ( for details of the services and to get timely and useful resources on corruption prevention such as staff code of conduct, corruption prevention guides and tools, case studies, quick tips and red flags. To receive regular updates on corruption prevention, please click here to subscribe to the CPAS e-news.

Free IP Consultation Service

The IPD, supported by the Law Society of Hong Kong, now provides FREE One-On-One IP Consultation Service for SMEs. To obtain more information and/or apply for the Service, please visit IPD's dedicated website "Hong Kong – Regional IP Trading Centre":

Business News

GDETO Newsletter

The latest issue of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Guangdong (GDETO) Newsletter has been published.

More Details (in Chinese only)

Commercial Information Circulars (CICs) of the Mainland

The TID issued a number of Commercial Information Circulars (CICs) on the Mainland's trade and economic rules and regulations.  The latest CICs have been published. 

More Details

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