Latest from Hong Kong
  Hong Kong makes history with distinguished results at Tokyo Olympics
Hong Kong has its best-ever Olympics, increasing its medal haul to six at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.  In addition to a gold medal by fencer Cheung Ka-long and two swimming silvers by Siobhan Bernadette Haughey, three bronze medals were grabbed by karate athlete Grace Lau, cyclist Lee Wai-Sze and table tennis athletes Lee Ho-ching, Doo Hoi-kem, Soo Wai-yam and Zhu Chengzhu in the last week of the tournaments.  Congratulating the athletes, the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), Mrs Carrie Lam, expressed her utmost admiration for the athletes’ best results in Hong Kong history and her gratitude for the staunch support of various sectors to the athletes.  “We are moved by the courage and perseverance of all the athletes in competitions, with a number of them breaking Hong Kong records or their own records.  Hong Kong athletes’ performances have made Hong Kong people feel proud.  I extend my sincere congratulations to them,” she said.  HKSAR Government and the Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China on 19 August co-organised the Welcome Home Reception for the Hong Kong, China Delegation to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games to greet the Delegation on their triumphant return from the Games.  Mrs Lam officiated at the reception and presented certificates of commendation to the Hong Kong athletes who participated in the Games.  She said that the HKSAR Government has been proactively allocating resources to develop elite sports in the past decade or so, and that it will continue efforts to further its support for sports development.  A bus parade was also arranged for the Hong Kong athletes, where members of the public were able to get up close and greet the athletes with cheers.

See the Chief Executive’s congratulations here.

See Welcome Home Reception’s details here.

Chief Executive announces measures to further promote sports development
The Chief Executive of HKSAR, Mrs Carrie Lam, together with the Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Caspar Tsui, announced on 10 August various measures conducive to the sustainable development of sports in Hong Kong, which include expediting the new building project of the Hong Kong Sports Institute, establishing a fund to enhance the competitiveness of athletes, strengthening sports development at the school level, strengthening support for elite athletes’ dual career development in sports and academic pursuits, and development of the sports industry.  Mrs Lam said that the performance of the Hong Kong, China Delegation at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games was distinguished, with it achieving the best results in Hong Kong history.  In addition to the own efforts of the Hong Kong athletes and the support of different sectors, the Government's policy directives and its resource allocation were also indispensable.  She pointed out that the Government has allocated $60 billion of new resources from 2017 to date, and the recurrent expenditure on support for sports development has been increasing.

Details here.

Real GDP up 7.8% in first half of 2021
The Government released on 13 August the Half-yearly Economic Report 2021, together with the revised figures on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the second quarter of 2021.  Hong Kong’s economy remains on track for recovery, with real GDP growing notably by 7.6% in the second quarter over a year earlier due to the improving global economic conditions and the receding local epidemic.  For the first half of 2021 as a whole, real GDP grew by 7.8% year-on-year.  Total goods exports grew robustly by 20.2% as strong revival of import demand in major economies and vibrant production activity in the region supported Hong Kong’s export performance.  The underlying Composite Consumer Price Index rose modestly by 0.3% year-on-year, while the labour market showed improvement, with unemployment rate declined to 5.5% in the second quarter as economic activity continued to recover.  Hong Kong’s economy should stay on the path to recovery for the rest of 2021.  However, the COVID-19 pandemic remains a key source of uncertainty with the more infectious Delta variant posing a threat to the global economy.  The real GDP growth forecast for 2021 as a whole is revised upwards to 5.5%-6.5%, while underlying and headline consumer price inflation forecasts for this year are 1% and 1.6%.

Details here.
Results of monthly survey on business situation of small and medium-sized enterprises for July 2021
The Census and Statistics Department on 10 August released the results of the Monthly Survey on Business Situation of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) for July.  The current diffusion index (DI) on business receipts amongst SMEs increased from 45.1 in June in the contractionary zone to 46.6 in July, whereas the one-month’s ahead (i.e. August 2021) outlook DI on business receipts was 52.0.  Analysed by sector, the current DIs on business receipts for many surveyed sectors rose by varying degrees in July as compared with the previous month, particularly for the logistics (from 44.3 to 48.6) and import and export trades (from 43.7 to 47.4).  Business sentiment among SMEs continued to improve in July amid vibrant external demand and the stabilised local epidemic situation.  The expected business situation in one month’s time likewise saw a notable improvement, particularly so in the retail trade, logistics and restaurants sectors.

Details here
Mid-year population for 2021
The provisional estimate of the Hong Kong population at mid-2021 was 7 394 700, down 1.2% year-on-year.  There were 38 500 births and 50 400 deaths, resulting in a natural population decrease of 11 800.  There was also an inflow of 13 900 one-way permit holders and a net outflow of 89 200 other Hong Kong residents, resulting in a net outflow of 75 300 people.  Population inflow had been interrupted by the flight boarding restrictions imposed on arrivals from certain places from time to time in the first half of 2021 due to the COVID-19 situation.  Residents who had left Hong Kong before the pandemic may have chosen to remain outside the city or could not return due to flight unavailability.  All these might have contributed to the net outflow of Hong Kong residents during the period.  Net movement, which includes the movement of residents into and out of Hong Kong for various purposes including work and study, is conceptually different from immigration and emigration.  Being an international city, Hong Kong’s population has always been mobile.

Details here.
Medical Registration (Amendment) Bill 2021
The HKSAR Government proposed changes to the Medical Registration (Amendment) Bill 2021 on 31 August to reinforce its efforts to attract more qualified non-locally trained doctors to practise in Hong Kong.  The Bill was introduced into the Legislative Council in June to meet the service demand and alleviate the frontline manpower shortage.  One of the proposed changes is to allow non-Hong Kong permanent residents holding recognised medical qualifications and specialist qualifications to apply for special registration in Hong Kong.  The Government also proposes to enable non-locally trained medical graduates who are Hong Kong permanent residents and possess the recognised medical qualifications to be eligible to take the Licensing Examination in Hong Kong, irrespective of whether a period of internship is inclusive in their medical training.  A bridging arrangement is also being proposed for limited registration doctors to migrate to a special registration regime. The Secretary for Food and Health, Professor Sophia Chan, said that safeguards will be in place to ensure that only those who are qualified are allowed to work in Hong Kong.

See the Secretary for Food and Health’s remarks here.

For details of the Bill, please visit the website.
HKSAR Government strongly opposes US Government’s memorandum related to Hong Kong
The HKSAR Government on 6 August expressed strong opposition to the latest actions by the United States Government against the HKSAR under the so-called “Memorandum on the Deferred Enforced Departure for Certain Hong Kong Residents” (the Memorandum).  A HKSAR Government spokesman said that the Government strongly objects to the baseless and purely politically oriented comments in the Memorandum smearing the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (Hong Kong National Security Law).  National security is a matter within the purview of the Central Authorities.  It is the legitimate right and duty of every country to safeguard its national security.  Enacting laws on national security with extraterritorial effect is also squarely in line with international practice.  The US has prolific laws on national security but chooses to smear the Hong Kong National Security Law out of political motivation and is clear hypocrisy and demonstrates double standards.  The spokesman also stressed that anyone who violates the law should be responsible for his or her own behaviour.

Details here.
Chief Executive inspects the Kai Tak Development Area
The Chief Executive of HKSAR, Mrs Carrie Lam, on 13 August inspected the Kai Tak Development Area to learn more about the works progress of the Kai Tak Sports Park project.  Mrs Lam noted that the project is expected to be completed in the second half of 2023.  The Kai Tak Sports Park will include a world-class and all-weather venue accommodating 50 000 spectators for sports competitions and performances, a 10 000-seat indoor sports centre and a 5 000-seat public sports ground.  Mrs Lam highlighted that the commissioning of the Kai Tak Sports Park will enable Hong Kong to host more international competitions, which will be conducive to the professionalisation of sports and the development of the sports industry.  She also visited the Kai Tak Sky Garden and the Kai Tak River where improvement works have been completed.

Details here.
Chief Executive visits research centres under InnoHK research clusters
The Chief Executive of HKSAR, Mrs Carrie Lam, on 26 August visited two research centres at the Hong Kong Science Park there were established by the University of Hong Kong and the Chinese University of Hong Kong in collaboration with world-renowned universities and research institutes under the HKSAR Government’s InnoHK research clusters.  The InnoHK research clusters are a major initiative of the current-term HKSAR Government on innovation and technology development and aim to pool together talents from around the world to establish Hong Kong as the hub for global research collaboration.  The clusters have so far focused on healthcare technologies and artificial intelligence and robotics technologies.  25 research centres that have been selected to set up a presence at the Science Park have already completed renovation works in their laboratories and have commenced operation progressively.  Two other research centres are expected to commence operation later this year.  She also toured the Experience Centre and witnessed the signing of memoranda of understanding between the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation and local universities as well as an international enterprise.

Details here.
Chief Executive visits the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
The Chief Executive of HKSAR, Mrs Carrie Lam, on 6 August visited scientific research facilities at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) to learn more about the institution’s research projects.  Accompanied by the Chairman of the Council of HKUST, Mr Andrew Liao, and the President of HKUST, Professor Wei Shyy, Mrs Lam received briefings from different research teams on their projects.  The projects included those that help with the fight against the epidemic or enhancement of public health, the Personalised Real-Time Air Quality Informatics System for Exposure - Hong Kong, the launch of Hong Kong’s largest solar energy generation project on the campus and an intelligent hearing aid.  Mrs Lam said that as a world-class research university, HKUST’s teachers and students give full play to their creativity and are committed to scientific research, demonstrating excellence in delivering research achievements, application of technology and commercialisation. The university has also nurtured a number of unicorns and its achievements are encouraging.

Details here.
Greater Bay Area seminar outlines prospects of Hong Kong legal sector
“Success through Synergy” seminar on opportunities for Hong Kong’s legal industry in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA), organised by the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Law Society of Hong Kong, was held on 13 August.  Participants conducted an in-depth discussion on the important role played by the Hong Kong legal sector in the development of the GBA, urging the legal sector to seize the opportunities and proactively integrate into the overall development of the country.  The Secretary for Justice, Ms Teresa Cheng, SC, said in her opening remarks that Hong Kong can utilise the unique advantages under the “one country, two systems and three jurisdictions” in the GBA.  She added that ample opportunities have been opened up after the DoJ reached a number of co-operation arrangements with the Mainland and encouraged the legal sector to treasure the opportunities.  Speakers attending the panel discussions also welcomed the implementation of the GBA Legal Professional Examination.  They opined that the arrangement will allow Hong Kong legal practitioners to provide clients in the GBA with Hong Kong and Mainland legal services and safeguards, which are conducive to promoting closer integration of legal services, attracting more investments and opening up new business opportunities in the GBA.

Details here.
Government provides special further support to tourism-related sectors
The Government announced on 5 August that a provision of about HK$377 million will be earmarked under the Anti-epidemic Fund for providing special further support to the tourism and related sectors, as well as the cross-boundary passenger transport trade, which are still seriously affected by the negative impact of the COVID-19 epidemic.  The Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Edward Yau, said that restrictions on cross-boundary/border travel and anti-epidemic measures implemented by various places have ground the tourism industry to a halt, resulting in related sectors such as cross-boundary transport, hotel and retail being seriously affected as well.  They have all yet to recover up till now.  Taking into account the grave challenges faced by the tourism industry continuously, the Government has decided to provide a round of special further subsidies to continue to support the relevant trades and tide over practitioners during this challenging period.

Details here.
  Updates on Hong Kong’s anti-epidemic measures
  • The Government announced that it would maintain most of the social distancing measures currently in place until 15 September.
    • 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.

  • In light of the latest development of the pandemic on the Mainland, Hong Kong residents returning to Hong Kong from Mainland areas other than Guangdong Province will not be exempted from quarantine under the Return2hk Scheme from 5 August.   Details of the Return2hk Scheme are available at COVID-19 Thematic Website.

  • From 20 August, the quarantine requirements for persons arriving from 16 overseas places and the border control measures for all persons arriving from overseas will be tightened:
    • 15 overseas places will be upgraded from Group B specified places (medium-risk) to Group A specified places (high-risk): Bangladesh, Cambodia, France, Greece, Iran, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Spain, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United States of America.
    • Australia will be upgraded from Group C specified place (low-risk) to Group B specified place (medium-risk).
      • Hong Kong residents and non-Hong Kong residents from Australia has to comply with the following basic requirements before arrival at Hong Kong: a negative result proof of a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based nucleic acid test for COVID-19 conducted within 72 hours before the scheduled time of departure of the aircraft and, confirmation of room reservation at a designated quarantine hotel for the period of compulsory quarantine as required.
        If fully vaccinated
      • Required to undergo compulsory quarantine for 14 days and undergo 4 tests during compulsory quarantine.
        If not fully vaccinated
      • Hong Kong residents who have not been fully vaccinated will be required to undergo compulsory quarantine for 21 days and undergo 6 tests during compulsory quarantine.
      • Non-Hong Kong residents who do not hold a recognised vaccination record are not allowed to board flights for Hong Kong.
    • Hong Kong residents and non-Hong Kong residents from New Zealand (Group C specified place (low-risk)) has to comply with the same basic requirements on PCR-based nucleic acid test and confirmation of room reservation at a designated quarantine hotel as above before arrival at Hong Kong.
      • If fully vaccinated
      • Required to undergo compulsory quarantine for 7 days and undergo 2 tests during compulsory quarantine.
        If not fully vaccinated
      • Required to undergo compulsory quarantine for 14 days and undergo 4 tests during compulsory quarantine.
    • More information on boarding, quarantine and testing arrangements applicable to the each of the overseas groups can be found here.

  • Regarding the boarding, quarantine and testing requirements for persons arriving at Hong Kong from overseas places and Taiwan effective on 20 August, the requirements on vaccination records for persons arriving at Hong Kong will be slightly adjusted.  For persons arriving at Hong Kong who have stayed in medium-risk Group B specified places, Taiwan or low-risk Group C specified places, if they hold vaccination records that are issued by the relevant authorities or relevant institutions where the vaccines were administered, they will be regarded as fulfilling the boarding and compulsory quarantine period-related vaccination record requirements.  For persons arriving at Hong Kong who had stayed in high-risk Group A specified places, they must hold recognised vaccination records so as to be regarded as fulfilling the relevant requirements.
Read more at the Fight Against COVID-19 website.
HKETO events
  Director of HKETO Sydney attended a seminar organised by the Western Australia Chapter of the Hong Kong Australia Business Association
The Director of HKETO Sydney, Miss Trista Lim, virtually attended a seminar organised by the Western Australia Chapter of the Hong Kong Australia Business Association on 18 August for promoting Hong Kong as an international innovation and technology hub.  Miss Lim gave the attendees an update on the latest development of innovation and technology in Hong Kong.  She said that Hong Kong was encouraged for the first time in the National 14th Five-Year Plan to develop as an international innovation and technology hub and the Hong Kong Government has committed over HK$100 billion to promote innovation and technology development.  Miss Lim also highlighted that the Government is pressing ahead with the development of the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park.
  Director of HKETO Sydney attended the Gala Dinner organised by the Hong Kong New Zealand Business Association
The Director of HKETO Sydney, Miss Trista Lim, virtually attended the Hong Kong New Zealand Business Association Gala Dinner on 6 August.  Miss Lim gave the attendees an update on the latest developments and the COVID-19 situation in Hong Kong.  She also said that Hong Kong, being the gateway, springboard and intermediary, will actively integrate into the development of the Mainland and capture the opportunities arising from the national development plans, in particular the National 14th Five-Year Plan of the Central Government.
  Deputy Director of HKETO Sydney attended the “Hong Kong Movie Night” organised by the Hong Kong New Zealand Business Association
The Deputy Director of HKETO Sydney, Mr Henry Mak, shared with the attendees of the “Hong Kong Movie Night” event organised by the Hong Kong New Zealand Business Association on 12 August virtually.  Mr Mak gave the attendees an update on the latest development of the West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong, which is one of the largest cultural projects in the world.  He said that the National 14th Five-Year Plan of the Central Government also encouraged Hong Kong to develop as a hub for arts and cultural exchanges between Mainland China and the rest of the world for the first time.
Upcoming events
  Jewellery and Gem WORLD Hong Kong 2021 ((Hong Kong and online)
The September Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem WORLD (JGW) continues to attract key players in the world’s jewellery industry, a hallmark of a truly successful fair.  The physical show welcomes trade professionals, social buyers and jewellery lovers from 17 to 20 September at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.  JGW Virtual offers sourcing opportunities for the global B2B buyer community from 13 to 30 September.  The virtual show will enable trade participants to either prepare for JGW’s live days if they were already in Hong Kong or do business remotely with their shortlisted suppliers from anywhere in the world.

More information here.
  HOFEX 2021 (Hong Kong)
The biennial 19th International Exhibition will land from 7 to 9 September at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre to bring the global F&B scene back to life after the pandemic.   As a supportive industry partner, HOFEX will serve up new products, trends and innovations to reconnect businesses and restart the challenging market.  Over 1 000 international brands will showcase a wide range of food & beverages, coffee, wine and spirits, innovative equipment and hospitality technologies across the exhibition halls.

More information here.
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