Latest from Hong Kong
  M+ opens to public
M+, Asia’s first global museum of contemporary visual culture, officially opened on 12 November in Hong Kong, showcasing approximately 1 500 works across 33 galleries and spaces in the museum.  Speaking at the M+ Opening Ceremony on 11 November, the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), Mrs Carrie Lam, said that with the grand opening of M+, not only will the West Kowloon Cultural District, an integrated district with world-class arts and cultural facilities, welcome a key new member, but Hong Kong will be on par with cities like London and New York with a sizeable and significant contemporary arts museum.  She added that Under the “One Country, Two Systems” policy and the explicit support for our positioning as an East-meets-West centre for international cultural exchange in the nation’s 14th Five-Year Plan promulgated in March this year, Hong Kong will continue to thrive as an international cultural hub.  The Government will continue to roll out policies and measures to develop facilities, nurture talents and establish international and Mainland collaboration.

Details here.
Hong Kong participates in APEC 2021 Economic Leaders’ Week
Hong Kong, China has actively participated in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2021 Economic Leaders’ Week, pledging support for international cooperation in fighting against the pandemic and championing free trade as a solution for the post-pandemic global economy recovery.  APEC 2021 is hosted by New Zealand under the theme of “Join, Work, Grow.  Together.” Speaking at the Economic Leaders’ Meeting on 12 November, the Chief Executive of HKSAR, Mrs Carrie Lam, highlighted Hong Kong’s determination to join all APEC member economies to navigate through the pandemic, and the importance to guard against resurgence of the pandemic which would set back some of the progress made on the road to recovery.  She said that efforts in achieving a full-fledged economic recovery must go hand in hand with unimpeded progress towards sustainable development goals.  She introduced some of the key measures, including the recently announced Hong Kong’s Climate Action Plan 2050, the development of Hong Kong into a green finance hub, the development of a complete innovation and technology ecosystem in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, and more.  At the end of the meeting, Mrs Lam and Leaders of other APEC member economies endorsed the Aotearoa Plan of Action to implement the APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040.

Details here.

The Chief Executive’s speech at APEC 2021 Economic Leaders’ Meeting can be found here.
Real GDP grows 5.4% in third quarter of 2021
The Government on 12 November released the Third Quarter Economic Report 2021, together with the revised figures on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the third quarter of 2021.  Hong Kong’s economic recovery became more entrenched with its third quarter real GDP up 5.4% year-on-year due to further revival of global economic activity and the stable local epidemic situation.  Supported by the continued revival of major economies and vibrant regional trade flows, total exports of goods grew notably by 14.2% year-on-year in the third quarter.  Private consumption expenditure rose by 7.1% year-on-year while the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 4.5% from the previous quarter’s 5.5%.  Real GDP growth forecast for 2021 is revised to 6.4%, close to the upper bound of the forecast range of 5.5%-6.5% as announced in mid-August.

Details here.
HKSAR Government’s Green Bonds Offering
The Government announced on 24 November the successful offering of RMB5 billion offshore renminbi green bonds (the Green Bonds) under the Government Green Bond Programme.  This is the HKSAR Government’s inaugural offering of renminbi-denominated bonds, setting an important new benchmark for the offshore renminbi market.  The Financial Secretary, Mr Paul Chan, said that the landmark offering by the Government further enriches the range of offshore renminbi financial products available in Hong Kong, consolidates Hong Kong’s role as the premier offshore renminbi centre, and contributes to promoting the internationalisation of the renminbi.  It also strengthens the Hong Kong platform to better serve renminbi issuers who raise green financing in support of low-carbon transition efforts.

Details here.
Hong Kong business environment remains favourable and vibrant
The Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Edward Yau, assured that the business environment of Hong Kong remains favourable and vibrant, saying that with the implementation of the National Security Law and improvements to the electoral system, Hong Kong is back on the right track of “One Country, Two Systems”, with developments characterised by safety, security and stability.  Speaking at a webinar of the 2021 World Alliance Forum on 19 November, Mr Yau illustrated Hong Kong’s recent achievements, including being ranked the world’s sixth largest merchandise trading economy in terms of total merchandise trade value last year; being ranked the third largest recipient of foreign direct investment in 2020 by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development report; and first in Asia and second worldwide in the World Digital Competitiveness Ranking 2021.  Mr Yau added that Hong Kong is particularly keen on developing biotechnology.  Having reformed the listing requirement three years ago to allow pre-revenue biotechnology enterprises to raise funds through listing in Hong Kong, Hong Kong is now already the largest biotech fundraising hub in Asia, second only to the Nasdaq in the world.  Hong Kong is also the first in the world regarding clinical data being recognised by authoritative medicine regulatory authorities in Mainland China, the United States and the European Union concurrently.

Details here.
Hong Kong FinTech Week 2021
Hong Kong FinTech Week (HKFW) 2021 ended on 5 November, closing a global conference exploring an array of business opportunities for the fintech industry in Hong Kong and across the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.  The five-day event championed “Scaling FinTech Future Together”, a celebration of Hong Kong as an attractive hub for start-ups and scale-ups in the region, and a showcase of exciting fintech collaboration.  HKFW attracted over 20 000 attendees.  The conference was host to over 300 speakers, more than 400 exhibitors, and 39 international delegations and representatives.  27 satellite events and thousands of business meetings were arranged through the event and via the online platforms.  This was the first HKFW in a hybrid format, drawing more than four million online views and providing a seamless experience to worldwide audiences from 87 economies to learn more about the city’s fast-growing fintech ecosystem.  The Financial Secretary, Mr Paul Chan, said, “Despite COVID-19 and numerous other challenges, Hong Kong remains a prime international financial centre.  The National 14th Five-Year Plan supports Hong Kong’s continuing efforts to reinforce the city’s status as a global financial centre and offerings, and backs the development of Hong Kong as an international innovation and technology hub.  Thanks to our ‘One Country, Two Systems’ institutional strength, Hong Kong remains the destination of choice for fintech companies looking to operate or expand, locally, regionally and globally.”

Details here.
Hong Kong participates actively in fourth China International Import Expo
The fourth China International Import Expo (CIIE) was held from 5 to 10 November at the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai.  About 240 Hong Kong enterprises participated in it to promote a wide array of quality Hong Kong products and services to exhibitors and buyers from around the world.  Among the participating Hong Kong enterprises this year, 57 of them showcased their products and services at the Hong Kong Services Zone and the Hong Kong Product Zone set up by Hong Kong Trade Development Council at the CIIE venue.  The Hong Kong Services Zone, under the theme “Channelling Global Business through Hong Kong”, highlighted the opportunities and role of Hong Kong under the National 14th Five-Year Plan.  The exhibition area of Invest Hong Kong in the Zone underlined Hong Kong’s advantages and role as a connecting platform under the national dual circulation strategy, while that of Hong Kong Tourism Board promotes Hong Kong’s diverse tourism appeals.

Details here.
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority launches the Anti-Money Laundering Regtech Lab
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority launched the first Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Regtech Lab (AMLab) on 5 November, in collaboration with Cyberport and supported by Deloitte, to further encourage the use of Regtech under the “Fintech 2025” strategy.  AMLab will strengthen banks’ capabilities to protect customers from fraud and financial crime losses, reduce risk displacement across the banking sector and raise the overall effectiveness of the AML ecosystem.  This AMLab focuses on using network analytics to address the risks of fraud-related mule accounts, enhancing data and information sharing through public-private partnership efforts in AML.

More details here.
Asia Summit on Global Health
The Asia Summit on Global Health was held on 24 November with the theme of “Shaping a Resilient and Sustainable Future”.  It provided a timely and invaluable forum for government officials, scientists, healthcare practitioners, corporate leaders and investors to exchange views on a wide range of issues, such as developments and trends in global public health, medical technology, digital health, health equity, healthcare innovation and investment.  Speaking at the opening session of the summit, the Chief Executive of HKSAR, Mrs Carrie Lam, highlighted that with the staunch support of the Central Government, Hong Kong has overcome the political challenges that have impeded its progress in many respects and has been given the mission to develop an international innovation and technology hub under the country’s 14th Five Year Plan, the Government will spare no efforts in building on its strengths to drive Hong Kong’s healthcare development.  As outlined in the 2021 Policy Address, the Government does have some ambitious plans to strengthen capabilities on various fronts, in order to prepare Hong Kong for the enormous opportunities ahead in the area of health and life sciences.  Hong Kong is willing and ready to play a pivotal role in promoting better understanding of global health issues, in pursuing research excellence and medical innovation to tackle some growing health issues, and in matching businesses with trade and investment opportunities in the Asian region.

Details here.
Government appoints Special Registration Committee under Medical Registration Ordinance
The Government announced on 12 November the establishment of the Special Registration Committee (SRC) in accordance with the amended Medical Registration Ordinance and the appointment of Professor Grace Tang Wai-king as the SRC Chairperson, and Mr Chan Wing-kai, Ms Tennessy Hui Mei-sheung and Mr Anthony Wu Ting-yuk as members.  As a statutory body under the Medical Council of Hong Kong, the SRC is responsible for determining the list of recognised medical qualifications after reviewing programmes offered by non-local medical schools with quality comparable to those provided by the two medical schools in Hong Kong.  It will submit the list to the Registrar of Medical Practitioners (i.e.  the Director of Health) for promulgation.  Non-locally trained doctors who possess the recognised medical qualifications, subject to their fulfilment of certain criteria, may apply for special registration to practise in the public healthcare institutions.  After serving for a certain period, obtaining recognised specialist qualifications and passing stringent assessment, they would be granted full registration to practise in Hong Kong.

Details here.
Second meeting on Mainland and Hong Kong anti-epidemic work achieves good progress
The Mainland epidemic prevention and control expert delegation paid a four-day visit to Hong Kong to learn about the local anti-epidemic measures.  During the visit from 20 to 23 November, the expert delegation visited local institutions and facilities related to anti-epidemic work and meet with relevant personnel to exchange views and share experiences.  The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr John Lee, then led representatives of the HKSAR to Shenzhen to attend the second meeting on the anti-epidemic work of the Mainland and Hong Kong on 25 November hosted by Deputy Director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, Mr Huang Liuquan.  The experts of the National Health Commission briefed the meeting on their comments and observations during their visit to Hong Kong and both sides had a detailed and constructive discussion.  The Mainland experts affirmed that Hong Kong has strengthened a series of anti-epidemic measures and fostered a favourable environment for resumption of quarantine-free travel.  The experts considered that Hong Kong has basically achieved the conditions of resumption of quarantine-free travel.  Both sides agreed to submit reports on the relevant anti-epidemic measures and the implementation plan of resumption of quarantine-free travel in accordance with relevant procedure.  Afterwards, further exchange of views would be conducted if needed, with a shared objective of pressing ahead with the orderly resumption of quarantine-free travel.  The HKSAR Government is now moving on to get fully prepared for the implementation of orderly resumption of quarantine-free travel, including the roll-out of the ”Hong Kong Health Code”, the plan of workflow at boundary control points, the allocation of manpower, the co-operation mechanism between Hong Kong and the Mainland, as well as the mechanism to identify high risk persons.

Details of Mainland expert delegation’s visit to Hong Kong here.

Details of second meeting on the anti-epidemic work of the Mainland and Hong Kong here.
  Updates on Hong Kong’s anti-epidemic measures
  • The Government announced that it would maintain most existing social distancing measures for 14 days till 8 December.
    • 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.
    • From 1 December, the passenger capacity limit of cruise ships will be adjusted to 75 per cent of the normal capacity.
    • From 9 December, the requirement to use the “LeaveHomeSafe” mobile application will be extended to all premises regulated under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Requirements and Directions) (Business and Premises) Regulation (Cap. 599F).
  • In view of the World Health Organization’s latest announcement about the Omicron variant, the Government has tightened the boarding and quarantine requirements.  From 2 December, as a preventive measure, the Government will specify places which have detected imported Omicron cases as Group A specified places, including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Israel and Italy.  Non-Hong Kong residents who have stayed in the above nine places within 21 days are not allowed to enter Hong Kong.  For Hong Kong residents, they can only board a flight for Hong Kong if they have been fully vaccinated and hold a recognised vaccination record.  They have to undergo compulsory quarantine in a designated quarantine hotel (DQH) for 21 days upon arrival at Hong Kong, with six tests to be conducted during quarantine, followed by compulsory testing on the 26th day of arrival in Hong Kong.
  • From 30 November, Angola, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Zambia have been specified as Group A specified places.  The most stringent quarantine and testing requirements have also been implemented for the relevant inbound travellers.  Non-Hong Kong residents who have stayed in these places within 21 days are not allowed to enter Hong Kong.  Hong Kong residents arriving at Hong Kong from these four places are required to undergo quarantine at the Penny’s Bay Quarantine Centre for the first seven days, during which they have to undergo daily tests.  After seven days, they will be allowed to finish the remaining 14 days of compulsory quarantine at the DQH which they have reserved with frequent testing, followed by compulsory testing on the 26th day of arrival in Hong Kong.  This quarantine and testing arrangement has also been applicable to inbound travellers from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe from 28 November.
  • From 17 November, New Zealand has been specified as a medium-risk Group B specified place in view of the latest developments of the COVID-19 epidemic situation.  Fully vaccinated persons who have stayed in Group B specified places on the day of arrival at Hong Kong or during the 14 days before that day will be subject to 14-day compulsory quarantine at DQHs.  Hong Kong residents who are not fully vaccinated will be subject to 21-day compulsory quarantine at DQHs.  Non-Hong Kong residents who are not fully vaccinated will not be allowed entry.
  • Quarantine exemption arrangements have been comprehensively tightened since 12 November.  Monitoring on exempted persons has also been strengthened.  The new measures include:
    • Cancellation of quarantine exemption arrangements for most of the exemption categories of persons upon their arrival in Hong Kong.  Only categories that are necessary to maintain the continuing functioning of the community and supply of necessities will be retained (i.e.  cross-boundary goods vehicle/coach drivers, crew members of aircraft, sea crew of cargo vessels loading/unloading in Hong Kong, government officials, etc.); and
    • Requiring consular and diplomatic officers to be subject to self-isolation at DQHs upon their arrival in Hong Kong.  Home isolation is not allowed (except for consuls general or representatives in Hong Kong at equivalent/higher level).
  • The Government announced that COVID-19 testing arrangement for persons arriving at Hong Kong has been adjusted from 23 November onwards.  Nucleic acid tests with deep throat saliva specimen would no longer be accepted.  Persons arriving at Hong Kong must attend a Community Testing Centre to undergo testing with combined nasal and throat swabs.  Details on the corresponding boarding, compulsory quarantine and testing requirements for relevant specified places can be found here.
  • Persons under compulsory quarantine at DQHs and their accompanying carer must not wear a mask with any exhalation valve or vent.  The Centre for Health Protection advised that the relevant persons should wear surgical masks properly during check-in or when the hotel room door is opened during the quarantine period in order to effectively prevent the transmission of COVID-19.
Read more at the Fight Against COVID-19 website.
HKETO event
  Director of HKETO Sydney attended “Preview of Hong Kong Forum” Seminar
The Director of HKETO Sydney, Miss Trista Lim, attended the event “Welcome Back to HK House - Preview of Hong Kong Forum” organised by the New South Wales Chapter of the Hong Kong Australia Business Association on 17 November.  Miss Lim gave the audience an update on the latest development of Hong Kong and its exciting business opportunities.  She said that Hong Kong’s record highs in trade and investment have demonstrated fully that Hong Kong’s business outlook remains vibrant and it continues to be an ideal place for companies to set up or expand their businesses and for start-ups to flourish.  Citing the highlights of the Chief Executive’s 2021 Policy Address and the 14th Five-Year Plan of the Central Government, she stressed that Hong Kong will continue to strive to help businesses grasp the tremendous opportunities arising from the development of Mainland China as well as its integration with the region and the global market.
Upcoming event
  Business of Intellectual Property Asia Forum
Jointly organised by the HKSAR Government, Hong Kong Trade Development Council and Hong Kong Design Centre, BIP Asia Forum brings IP professionals and business leaders from all over the world to discuss the latest developments in the IP world, and to explore business collaboration opportunities.  The tenth edition of the Forum was held online on 3-4 December 2020 with great success, featuring over 60 prominent speakers sharing their insights and attracted more than 10 000 IP professionals and industry leaders to attend.  The next edition will be held online on 2-3 December 2021.

More details here.
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