No.2  February, 2018  
2018-19 Budget – Billions to buttress long-term development
The Financial Secretary, Mr Paul Chan, announced in his 2018-19 Budget on 28 February that Hong Kong had forecast a fiscal surplus of HK$138 billion (AUD$23 billion) in 2017-18 financial year. Mr Chan was also upbeat about the city’s economic prospects, predicting GDP growth of between three and four per cent for 2018. The budget initiatives are designed to diversify the economy, invest for the future and for “caring and sharing”. Hong Kong’s innovation and technology (I&T) sector received a massive boost with more than HK$50 billion (AUD$8.3 billion) earmarked to support Hong Kong’s overall I&T development. Sectors including financial services, business and professional services, arts and culture, tourism and sports also received large allocations. Read the full text of the Budget speech here.
Hong Kong ranked world’s freest economy for 24th consecutive year
Hong Kong was ranked world’s freest economy for the 24th consecutive year by the Heritage Foundation. In this year’s Index of Economic Freedom report by the Heritage Foundation released on 2 February, Hong Kong’s overall score improved by 0.4 point to 90.2 compared to last year, making Hong Kong the only economy with an overall score of more than 90. Among the 12 components measured in the report, Hong Kong achieved high scores of 90 or above in eight, and obtained top scores in Fiscal Health, Business Freedom, Trade Freedom and Financial Freedom. The Foundation recognised Hong Kong’s economic resilience, high-quality legal framework, low tolerance for corruption, high degree of government transparency, efficient regulatory framework and openness to global commerce. Find out more about the report here.
Volvo Ocean Race came to Hong Kong
The prestigious Volvo Ocean Race came to Hong Kong for the first time in January 2018 with the Hong Kong Stopover from 17 to 31 January. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag, representing Hong Kong in the round-the-world race, won the Melbourne to Hong Kong leg and led the fleet into their home port of Hong Kong. A Race Festival was staged at the Hong Kong Kai Tai Runway Park from 17 to 31 January for members of the public to learn more about sailing and participation in water sports through seeing the race boats at close quarters, exhibitions, fun games and virtual reality experience. The fleet left Hong Kong for Auckland at the start of the sixth leg of the race on 7 February and arrived Auckland, New Zealand on 27 February. Find out more about the Volvo Ocean Race Hong Kong Stopover here and the Auckland Stopover here .
  Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, Sydney celebrated Year of the Dog in Australia and New Zealand
To celebrate the Year of the Dog, the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, Sydney (HKETO), is co-hosting Chinese New Year receptions in major cities of Australia and New Zealand with the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, Invest Hong Kong, the Hong Kong-Australia Business Association and the Hong Kong-New Zealand Business Association under the theme of “Connectivity” this year. Speaking at the Chinese New Year reception in Sydney on 23 February, the Director of the HKETO, Mr Raymond Fan, said the expanding network of cross-boundary transport infrastructure would boost Hong Kong's links within the prosperous Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area, which would open up co-operation, trade and people-to-people connections in Asia like never before. He said Hong Kong, as the single biggest economy in the Bay Area, would be the key driver of integration and connectivity, creating favourable conditions for promoting innovation and technology development as well as discovering new business opportunities for Australian and New Zealand companies. Read more here.
  Hong Kong Team competed in City of Sydney Dragon Boat Races
To share the joy of the Chinese New Year with members of the public in Australia, HKETO participated in the City of Sydney Chinese New Year Dragon Boat Races at Darling Harbour on 24 and 25 February. A “Hong Kong Team” was formed to compete in the Social/Community category of the races on 25 February. Two races were named “Hong Kong Super Cup” and “Hong Kong Dragon Cup” respectively and the trophies were presented by the Director of the HKETO, Mr Raymond Fan. HKETO also set up a stall to promote Hong Kong during the two-day event. Souvenirs with Hong Kong’s characteristic and promotional materials on the latest development of Hong Kong were distributed to the public. Find out more here.
  HKETO participated in Auckland Lantern Festival
To celebrate the Year of the Dog with members of the public in New Zealand, HKETO has once again participated in the Auckland Lantern Festival. Eight giant pillar lanterns were displayed with beautiful Hong Kong photos to showcase Hong Kong’s unique culture and diversity during the Festival from 1 to 4 March at Auckland Domain. HKETO also operated a Hong Kong marquee with free give-away souvenirs. Read more here.
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