Latest from Hong Kong
  The Chief Executive's speech at National Day reception
Speaking at the National Day Reception in Celebration of the 72nd Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China on 1 October, the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), Mrs Carrie Lam, said that Hong Kong has truly got on the right track of “One Country, Two Systems” under the double safeguards of the Hong Kong National Security Law and an improved electoral system.  Hong Kong is now in the best position ever since the return to the Motherland to leverage its unique advantages under “One Country, Two Systems” in seeking to integrate into the overall development of our country, thereby creating prosperity and a bright future for Hong Kong.  “With Hong Kong back on the right track of ‘One Country, Two Systems’, and as long as we all remain steadfast on safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development interests, and ensuring the principle of ‘patriots administering Hong Kong’, I am sure Hong Kong enterprises, Hong Kong businessmen and Hong Kong people will only have more and more opportunities and scope for development in the Mainland,” Mrs Lam said, adding that the country’s strong support for Hong Kong in the National 14th Five-Year Plan, the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, the country’s dual circulation development strategy of domestic and international circulations, plus the “Qianhai Plan” and “Hengqin Plan” promulgated last month, will together create unlimited opportunities for Hong Kong.

More details here.
Numbers of overseas and Mainland companies and start-ups in Hong Kong reach record high
The number of overseas and Mainland companies as well as start-ups in Hong Kong have reached record highs, demonstrating fully that Hong Kong’s business environment remains favourable, which makes Hong Kong an ideal place for companies to set up or expand their businesses.  According to the latest survey jointly conducted by Invest Hong Kong and the Census and Statistics Department, the number of overseas and Mainland companies in Hong Kong increased by 10% from 8 225 in 2017 to 9 049 in 2021.  Among them are 1 457 companies operating as regional headquarters, 2 483 as regional offices and 5 109 as local offices.  The city’s start-up scene remains vibrant, with the number of start-ups increasing by 68.5% from the 2017 figure to 3 755 this year.  The Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Edward Yau, said that “despite the social and economic challenges faced by Hong Kong over the past two years, Hong Kong remained resilient and maintained our unique advantages and attractiveness to the international and Mainland business community.  The start-up community in Hong Kong has also flourished with impressive growth in numbers.  With these remarkable achievements, the Government will continue to strengthen efforts in investment promotion with a view to attracting more overseas and Mainland companies to do business in Hong Kong, and strive to nurture start-ups, with a view to injecting new impetus into our economy”.

More details here.
Financial Secretary attends APEC Finance Ministers’ Meeting 2021
The Financial Secretary, Mr Paul Chan, attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Finance Ministers’ Meeting (FMM) 2021 on 22 October, which was convened virtually.  Mr Chan addressed the meeting on the HKSAR Government’s fiscal strategies for addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, and the opportunities and challenges presented by the pandemic for the global economy.  Sharing the experience of Hong Kong with meeting participants, Mr Chan underlined the importance of timely expansionary fiscal policy, coupled with effective anti-epidemic measures.  “Hong Kong’s real GDP rebounded strongly by 7.8 per cent year on year in the first half of 2021, and the unemployment rate fell significantly from the peak of 7.2 per cent to 4.5 per cent in recent months.  With the local epidemic situation under control in the past few months, we are now adopting measures to promote steady economic recovery,” he said.  The meeting concluded with the issuance of an FMM Statement, in which finance ministers reaffirmed their commitment to adopt fiscal and budget policy to tackle long-standing challenges, encourage digital transformation, and continue co-ordinated multilateral co-operation in supporting strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive recovery.

More details here.
HKSAR Government welcomes OECD’s announcement of BEPS 2.0 implementation plan
The HKSAR Government on 9 October welcomed the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)’s announcement of the framework for international tax reform on base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) (commonly known as BEPS 2.0) and its implementation plan.  As an international financial and commercial centre, Hong Kong will actively participate in and implement this BEPS 2.0 package.  The Government noted that the BEPS 2.0 package targets primarily large multinational enterprise (MNE) groups and will not affect small and medium-sized enterprises in Hong Kong.  The headline tax rate of Hong Kong’s profits tax at 16.5% is competitive internationally and the city’s simple and transparent tax regime is well-received by investors.  The OECD aims at completing the drafting of the BEPS 2.0 model rules by the end of this year to early next year to enable participating jurisdictions to roll out their domestic legislative exercises in 2022 and implement the package from 2023.  The Government said that it will carefully study recommendations of the Advisory Panel on BEPS 2.0 and, in consultation with stakeholders, undertake the domestic legislative exercise to implement the tax measures under BEPS 2.0 based on the BEPS 2.0 model rules to be finalised by the OECD.  At the same time, Hong Kong will maintain the strengths of its tax system and endeavour to minimise the compliance burden of the large MNE groups.

More details here.
Ministry of Finance’s issuance of US dollar sovereign bonds in Hong Kong
The Ministry of Finance of the Central Government issued US dollar sovereign bonds totalling US$4 billion in Hong Kong on 19 October.  The bonds would be issued in 3-year, 5-year, 10-year and 30-year tenors.  A HKSAR Government spokesman said that the Government welcomed the Ministry of Finance’s issuance of US dollar sovereign bonds in Hong Kong again, which demonstrated clearly the Central Government’s support in reinforcing Hong Kong’s status as an international financial centre as well as Hong Kong’s unique role as the gateway for international capital to access the Mainland, which was conducive to promoting the sustainable development of the bond market in Hong Kong.

More details here.
List of eligible banks in Hong Kong for launching Cross-boundary Wealth Management Connect Pilot Scheme announced
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) announced 19 eligible banks in Hong Kong which can launch Cross-boundary Wealth Management Connect (Cross-boundary WMC) services (Southbound participating banks, Northbound participating banks) on 18 October.  These banks, together with their respective Mainland partner banks whose eligibility for providing pilot Cross-boundary WMC services have been confirmed by the relevant Mainland regulatory authorities, can start providing Cross-boundary WMC services together on 19 October the earliest.  The Chief Executive of the HKMA, Mr Eddie Yue, said that “we will collaborate with the industry to explore enhancement measures to the scheme as and when appropriate, with a view to providing more growth opportunities for Hong Kong’s banking and wealth management industry”.

See list of eligible Hong Kong banks on the HKMA’s dedicated Cross-Boundary WMC webpage.

More details here.
HKSAR Government announces Hong Kong’s Climate Action Plan 2050
The HKSAR Government unveiled Hong Kong’s Climate Action Plan 2050 on 8 October, outlining the strategies and targets for combating climate change and achieving carbon neutrality.  To achieve the carbon neutrality target, the Chief Executive of HKSAR, Mrs Carrie Lam, announced in the Policy Address this year that Hong Kong’s Climate Action Plan 2050 would set out more proactive strategies and measures on reducing carbon emissions, and would pursue more vigorous interim decarbonisation targets to reduce Hong Kong’s carbon emissions by 50% before 2035 as compared to the 2005 level.  The four major decarbonisation strategies and measures are net-zero electricity generation, energy saving and green buildings, green transport and waste reduction.  In the next 15 to 20 years, the Government will devote about $240 billion to take forward various measures on climate change mitigation and adaptation.  The Environment Bureau will also set up a new Office of Climate Change and Carbon Neutrality to strengthen co-ordination and promote deep decarbonisation.  A dedicated advisory committee on combating climate change will be formed to encourage different sectors in the community, including young people, to participate actively in climate actions.

More details on the announcement here.

More details on Hong Kong’s Climate Action Plan 2050 here.
Passage of Medical Registration (Amendment) Bill 2021
The Medical Registration (Amendment) Bill 2021 was passed at the Legislative Council on 21 October.  The Hospital Authority (HA) welcomed the passage of the Bill and believed that the amendment can attract more qualified non-locally trained doctors to practise with special registration in Hong Kong.  The HA will collaborate with the Government to promote the special registration programme under the amended Bill.  It has proceeded with the two 10-year hospital development programmes to provide more hardware facilities for public healthcare.  As such, the demand for doctors in public hospitals will also increase correspondingly.  The recruitment into the public healthcare sector of more qualified non-locally trained doctors under special registration can help tackle the rising service demands.

More details here.
HKSAR Government strongly rejects and condemns interference from foreign politicians
In response to unwarranted statements by individual foreign politicians, a HKSAR Government spokesman on 22 October said that the Government strongly rejects and condemns the biased and groundless statements from individual foreign politicians on so-called issues relating to human rights, freedoms and political participation in the HKSAR.  “Statements issued by individual foreign politicians from the US, the UK, the EU, Australia etc. are flagrant and unsubstantiated attacks on the HKSAR and provocative interventions of the internal affairs of the People’s Republic of China,” the spokesman said, adding that the oath-taking of District Council members is conducted in full compliance with the Basic Law.  The HKSAR Government strongly deplores and condemns the smearing and unfair comments by foreign governments of this legitimate oath-taking process and the subsequent rightful decisions to disqualify those whose oaths are invalid for failing to meet the legal requirement to uphold the Basic Law and bear allegiance to HKSAR.  The Hong Kong National Security Law ensures the resolute, full and faithful implementation of the policy of “One Country, Two Systems” - it will not change Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy or undermine the legitimate rights and freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kong people under the Basic Law.

More details here.
Chief Executive visits Guangzhou
The Chief Executive of HKSAR, Mrs Carrie Lam, met with the Secretary of the CPC Guangzhou Municipal Committee, Mr Zhang Shuofu, the Mayor of the Guangzhou Municipal Government, Mr Wen Guohui and other officials of the Guangzhou Municipal Government during her visit to Guangzhou.  Mrs Lam introduced to them the 2021 Policy Address delivered, in particular the chapter on Hong Kong’s integration into the national development, which expressly stated that Hong Kong would leverage the Central Government’s policies in support of the HKSAR and give full play to its unique strengths to bring continuous impetus to the economy.  Noting that Guangzhou and Hong Kong have respective strengths in such areas as finance and technology, and are core cities of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, Mrs Lam said that the two cities can strengthen co-operation to complement each other.  Mrs Lam also attended the opening ceremony of the 130th session of the China Import and Export Fair and the Pearl River International Trade Forum.  She listened to the keynote speech of Premier Li Keqiang and toured the fair.

More details here.
First-ever “City I&T Grand Challenge” Grand Pitch concluded
Organised by the Innovation and Technology Commission together with the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation, Hong Kong’s first ever City I&T Grand Challenge concluded its two-day Grand Pitch and Finale at Hong Kong Science Park on 16 October.  Winners from four categories were selected by a judging panel consisting of nine representatives from the Government, industry, academic and research sectors, the competition concluded with a great success.  At the award presentation ceremony, the Chief Executive of HKSAR, Mrs Carrie Lam, said that the innovation and technology (I&T) development in Hong Kong is highly recognised and supported by the Central Government.  In particular, the National 14th Five-Year Plan clearly supports Hong Kong to develop as an international I&T hub.  The 2021 Policy Address also announced further measures, including providing an additional 150 hectares of land in the Northern Metropolis plan for I&T use, developing the San Tin Technopole and setting up of InnoLife Healthtech Hub.  Mrs Lam was confident that Hong Kong’s future I&T development would turn Hong Kong into an international I&T hub which would complement Hong Kong’s position as an international financial centre in driving its future economic development.

More details here.
Chief Executive welcomes return of Hong Kong, China Delegation to Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games
The HKSAR Government hosted a welcome home ceremony on 18 October to greet the Hong Kong, China Delegation to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games on their return from the Games.  The Chief Executive of HKSAR, Mrs Carrie Lam, officiated at the ceremony and presented certificates of commendation to the Hong Kong athletes in recognition of their perseverance and exemplary show of sportsmanship at the Games.  Mrs Lam said that the athletes’ strong will and hard work in the competitions fully demonstrated their admirable sportsmanship and perseverance, and the Government will continue to allocate more resources to promote the Hong Kong sports industry.  A total of 24 Hong Kong athletes took part in eight competition events at the Games, namely archery, athletics, boccia, equestrian sport, swimming, table tennis, wheelchair fencing and badminton, which was a newly added sport in this Paralympic Games.  Hong Kong Delegation claimed a total of five medals at the Games, comprising two silver medals in the events of boccia and badminton and three bronze medals in the events of table tennis, boccia and badminton.

More details here.
  Updates on Hong Kong’s anti-epidemic measures
  • The Government announced that it would maintain the existing social distancing measures until 10 November.
    • Prohibition on group gatherings of more than four persons in public places to continue.
    • Mandatory mask-wearing requirement to continue.
    • All catering businesses must operate according to one of the operating modes among Types A, B, C and D Mode of Operation.
  • Persons aged 12 to 17 who have received one dose of Comirnaty vaccine at least 14 days ago are deemed to have completed the COVID-19 vaccination course and complied with the relevant requirement of social distancing measures.  Inbound travellers aged 12 to 17 who have received one dose of Comirnaty vaccine at least 14 days ago are also deemed to have complied with the requirements of completing the COVID-19 vaccination course under boarding and quarantine requirements.
  • For Hong Kong residents who have received one dose of recognised COVID-19 vaccine and hold a recognised vaccination record, they are exceptionally allowed to board for Hong Kong from Group A specified places if they were certified by a medical practitioner that they were unfit to receive the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine because of health reasons after receiving the first dose of vaccine.
  • From 11 October, the UK Government recognised Hong Kong’s updated COVID-19 vaccination records for travel to England.
  • The HKSAR Government has accepted vaccination records issued by Cambodia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Guernsey, Jersey and some British Overseas Territories (including Anguilla, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar and Montserrat, as well as Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha).  The Government will also accept the vaccination records issued by non-Group A specified places including Kazakhstan and British Virgin Islands for boarding flights for Hong Kong by Hong Kong residents who have stayed in Group A specified places.  List of places of issuance of recognised vaccination records can be found here.
  • The HKSAR Government announced a total of 40 hotels providing about 11,500 rooms under the sixth cycle of the Designated Quarantine Hotel Scheme.  In view of the strong demand for rooms under the fifth cycle and the several long public holidays to be covered under the sixth cycle, more hotel rooms have been made available under the new cycle in anticipation of a possible increase in market demand.
  • The HKSAR Government announced from 2 November the quarantine exemption arrangement for persons arriving in Hong Kong from Macao under the Return2hk Scheme and the Come2hk Scheme will resume as the COVID-19 pandemic situation in Macao has stabilised.  The online booking systems of the two Schemes will be open for quota application for people entering Hong Kong from Macao.
Read more at the Fight Against COVID-19 website.
HKETO events
  Director of HKETO Sydney attended “HKABA Business Profile: The Jeanswest Story” webinar
The Director of HKETO Sydney, Miss Trista Lim, virtually attended the “HKABA Business Profile: The Jeanswest Story” webinar hosted by the New South Wales Chapter of the Hong Kong Australia Business Association on 30 September.  Miss Lim gave the audience an overview on the Government’s recently published “Report on Hong Kong’s Business Environment: A Place with Unique Advantages and Unlimited Opportunities”, which set out Hong Kong’s current business environment and advantages, as well as the development opportunities available to Hong Kong under the Mainland’s new phase and pattern of development.  She stressed that Hong Kong will continue to serve as the gateway connecting our country and the rest of the world and perform the functions of a “super-connector”, a high-value-added services platform, an international talent and capital pool and more, and also be an internationally preferred place of doing business.
  Career Talk 2021
HKETO, Sydney organised an online career talk on 30 September.  Our Deputy Director, Mr Henry Mak, shared with Hong Kong students studying in Australia and New Zealand an overview of the job market in Hong Kong and the various schemes and initiatives of the Government for attracting talents to Hong Kong.  Mr Mak also provided the students with details on the career opportunities in the civil service in Hong Kong, especially the Administrative Officer Grade, and the recruitment exercise in Hong Kong this year.  HKETO would continue to share relevant information with the students to help them plan for the future.
Upcoming events
  Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival 2021 (Hong Kong)
Organised by the Hong Kong Tourism Board, the Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival will be held from 1 to 30 November with unique gastronomic experiences for foodies and wine lovers, showcasing fine wines, bubblies and delicacies in town.  Meet wine masters in our on-air programmes with special tasting kits delivered to your door, which will inspire your next palate adventure.  Embark on a new self-guided wine tasting journey in four districts with our e-wine pass.  Let your taste buds wander as you soak up the glamour of restaurant celebrations in this Culinary Capital of Asia.

More information here.
  150th anniversary of the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens Ceremony (Hong Kong)
Located at the heart of the city, nestled among towering and densely packed commercial and residential buildings, the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens (HKZBG) is the oldest and most popular park in Hong Kong which occupies an area of 5.6 hectares.  This year is the 150th anniversary of the HKZBG.  To commemorate the event, the HKZBG will launch a series of celebratory programmes, including horticultural and zoological education exhibitions, guided visits, roving exhibitions, thematic talks on greening and conservation, music performances, etc., for public enjoyment.

More details here.
  Roar Out Your Talent Year of the Tiger Lunar New Year Design Competition
Organised by Maritime Silk Road Society and Silk Road Economic Development Research Center, the competition aims to gather like-minded people from all around the globe to gain deeper appreciation of the Chinese culture, including Chinese traditional festivals, national customs and traditional virtues and values such as “Seeking harmony in diversity”, “Co-existence and co-prosperity” through participation in the design competition.  It also hopes to promote the friendly neighbour and cultural exchanges advocated in the Belt and Road Initiative.  The Design Competition is composed of three categories: Emoticon Sticker Design, Creative Chinese Calligraphy Design-Chinese Character Fu and Red Packet Design.  Deadline of the submission is 19 December.

More details here.
  Global Financial Centres Index Questionnaire
Z/Yen’s Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI) is a ranking of the competitiveness of financial centres based on a number of existing indices in combination with a regular questionnaire of senior industry figures from around the world.  A copy of the latest GFCI report, published in September 2021 is available to download here.  You are cordially invited to participate in this survey on a regular basis.  Opinions on any financial centres in which you have done business will be used in the compilation of GFCI.  Please be assured that answers will be kept confidential.

Participate in the survey here.
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