No.9  September, 2018  
Latest from Hong Kong
Express Rail Link enters a new era
The Hong Kong Section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL) commenced service on 23 September. It has a total length of 26 kilometres and connects with the Mainland Section of the XRL as well as the 25,000 km-long national high speed rail network. The 44 destinations that the direct XRL trains can reach comprise six short-haul destinations and 38 long-haul destinations. The Chief Executive, Mrs Carrie Lam, said the Hong Kong Section of the XRL would link up the three rapidly-developing leading cities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, namely Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong. In addition to enhancing the high speed passenger transport network in the Bay Area and promoting the economic, social and cultural exchanges in the area, it would also link Hong Kong with the Capital Economic Circle and Yangtze River Delta Region through the Beijing-Guangzhou Passenger Line and the Hangzhou-Fuzhou-Shenzhen Passenger Line, thereby strengthening the synergy effect among the regions and creating more development opportunities. Find out more about the operating arrangements for the Hong Kong Section of the XRL.
Hong Kong releases its first Talent List to attract professionals
The Hong Kong Government has promulgated the first Talent List of Hong Kong, aiming to attract quality people from around the world in a more effective and focused manner to support Hong Kong’s development as a high value-added and diversified economy. The list contains 11 professions including waste treatment specialists, asset management professionals, marine insurance professionals, actuaries, fintech professionals, data scientists and cyber security specialists, innovation and technology experts, naval architects, marine engineers and superintendents of ships, creative industries professionals, and dispute resolution professionals and transactional lawyers. The Talent List has displayed what professions are the talents that Hong Kong needs most and are eligible for the immigration facilitation under the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme (QMAS). Meanwhile, the QMAS continues to welcome talents from other industries and sectors not covered by the Talent List. Find out more about the Talent List here.
Hong Kong once again regarded as freest economy in the world
The Hong Kong Government welcomed on 26 September that the Fraser Institute once again ranked Hong Kong as the freest economy in the world in the Economic Freedom of the World 2018 Annual Report. Among the five areas of assessment, Hong Kong was ranked top in “Freedom to Trade Internationally” and “Regulation”. A Government spokesman said the hard-earned results vividly reflected Hong Kong’s steadfast commitment to building a free economy with a level playing field. The Government will continue to build a robust institutional framework, uphold the fine tradition of rule of law and maintain an efficient government, so as to provide a level playing field. This should provide a favourable environment for our economy to thrive, the spokesman added. Read more about the Government’s response and the report.
  Moves to strengthen Hong Kong’s fintech capabilities
Speaking at the launch reception of Hong Kong Fintech Week 2018 on 12 September, the Chief Executive, Mrs Carrie Lam, said Hong Kong is determined to rise as the region’s and one of the world’s Fintech hubs. For Fintech investors, Hong Kong has become their first choice in East Asia outside the Mainland. Fintech investment in Hong Kong has spiralled in recent years, from about US$108 million (AUD$150 million) in 2015 to US$216 million (AUD$300 million) in 2016, and some US$546 million (AUD$759) last year. To fast-track that momentum, the Hong Kong Government and Hong Kong’s regulators are ready to launch a raft of Fintech initiatives. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) will very soon begin the long-anticipated Faster Payment System which will set in motion full connectivity between banks and stored value facility operators. A common QR code enabling mobile payment is also on the way. Virtual banking is primed to transform the industry and it is understood that the HKMA hopes to start granting licences to virtual banks by the first quarter of next year. Find out more here.
  Hong Kong is conducive for insurance industry
Speaking at the Conference on the Future Development of Insurance Industry on 10 September, the Financial Secretary, Mr Paul Chan, said the Hong Kong Government will continue to maintain a conducive environment to help the insurance sector capture the massive opportunities ahead, in particular those arising from continued economic transformation and development of the motherland. The Government will enhance Hong Kong’s attractiveness as a domicile for captive insurers set up by the Mainland enterprises. It will also explore further tax incentives and regulatory changes to spur the development of marine insurance, specialty insurance and reinsurance in Hong Kong. He said the Germany-based International Union of Marine Insurance chose Hong Kong as its first overseas hub, adding that marine insurance can be another area that the Hong Kong insurance industry can flourish. Read more here.
  HKTDC Research publishes new market profile of Australia
The Hong Kong Trade Development Council Research (HKTDC Research) has published a new market profile of Australia, featuring in depth coverage of trade and foreign direct investment policies, new trade agreements, taxation, investment and visa issues concerning Australia. The market profile was published following a recent visit to Australia, where key influencers and experts from business and government were interviewed in detail by HKTDC Research. It provides an economic overview on the current and future opportunities and challenges, political analysis and trade data of Australia. Read the research here.
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