No.12  December, 2020  
Latest from Hong Kong
Hong Kong's core values continue to be upheld
The Chief Executive of Hong Kong SAR, Mrs Carrie Lam, assured the international business community that the rule of law, judicial independence and people's rights and freedoms, the core values underpinning Hong Kong's success, will continue to be upheld under “One Country, Two Systems”. Speaking during an interview by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) as part of the programme of the WSJ CEO Council Summit held on 8 December (US Eastern Time) online, Mrs Lam pointed out that the “One Country, Two Systems” policy, which aims at preserving as much as possible the way of life and the systems in the city, is built on the firm foundation of Hong Kong being an inalienable part of the People's Republic of China and must not move away from the principle of "One Country". Mrs Lam said that, with law and order in the city restored by the implementation of the National Security Law, and that Hong Kong will play an active role in the national development with the support of the Central People's Government, with particular reference to the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, Hong Kong has promising prospects and it is an opportune time for businesses to invest in Hong Kong.

Details here.
  Updates on Hong Kong’s anti-pandemic measures
  • Government tightens social distancing measures :
    • Catering premises must stop selling or supplying food or drink for consumption on their premises from 6pm to 4.59am; 2 people per table; 50% of normal seating capacity;
    • Fitness centres, beauty parlours, massage establishments, sports premises, swimming pools to close;
    • Group gathering limit of 2 in public;
    • Mask wearing in public remains compulsory;
    • 7 epidemic control laws extended until 31 March 2021 (i.e. Cap 599-C to Cap 599-I).

  • From 25 December, all persons arriving at Hong Kong (either via the airport or land boundary control points) who have stayed in places outside China on the day of arrival at Hong Kong or during the 21 days before that day have to undergo compulsory quarantine for 21 days in designated quarantine hotels.

  • The Government has reached a preliminary agreement with Sinovac Biotech (Hong Kong) Limited to provide 7.5 million doses of vaccine to Hong Kong. The first batch of one million vaccine doses is expected to be delivered to Hong Kong in January 2021 the earliest.

  • The Government has reached an agreement with Fosun Pharma to procure a maximum of 7.5 million doses of the vaccine developed by Fosun Pharma in collaboration with the German drug manufacturer BioNTech. The first batch of one million doses is expected to be delivered in the first quarter of 2021 the earliest.

  • The Government will enter into an agreement with AstraZeneca to procure 7.5 million doses of the vaccine it developed in collaboration with the University of Oxford. Doses are expected to start arriving in Hong Kong by batches by the end of the second quarter of 2021 the earliest.

  • The Government on 17 December sought funding approval of HK$6.4 billion from the Legislative Council to launch a new round of the Anti-epidemic Fund to help sectors hard hit by COVID-19.

  • Canada (from 25 December), Romania and Ukraine added to Hong Kong’s COVID-19 high-risk list.

  • The Government banned flights from the United Kingdom starting on 22 December in view of the discovery of a more infectious strain of coronavirus in the United Kingdom.

  • The Airport Authority Hong Kong’s relief package for the airport community will continue for another three months to March 2021 in view of the prolonged impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Read more from the Fight Against COVID-19 website.
  Hong Kong-Singapore Air Travel Bubble deferred to beyond 2020
In view of the recent developments of the COVID-19 epidemic in Hong Kong, the governments of the Hong Kong SAR and Singapore have decided to defer the commencement of the Hong Kong-Singapore Air Travel Bubble (ATB) to beyond 2020 and will review the arrangement for 2021 towards late December. A spokesman for the Hong Kong SAR Government said on 1 December that subsequent to the deferral announcement on 21 November, the two Governments have been closely monitoring the epidemic situation in both places. The decision on a further deferral of the launch date of the ATB was taken in view of the severity of the epidemic situation in Hong Kong with the number of local cases of unknown sources increasing rapidly.

Details here.
  Hong Kong is keen to strengthen collaboration with Belt and Road economies
The fifth Belt and Road Summit opened on 30 November with over 6,000 government officials, entrepreneurs and professionals from about 80 countries and regions signed up to participate online. In her opening address, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong SAR, Mrs Carrie Lam, highlighted the importance of global collaboration at this time of profound changes, which had the potential to unleash innovation and create opportunities. She said that Hong Kong, as an active player in the Belt and Road Initiative, is keen to strengthen collaboration and partnership with other Belt and Road economies on various fronts, including the sharing of its home-grown, anti-epidemic technology. Addressing a business plenary, the Financial Secretary, Mr Paul Chan, said Hong Kong was increasingly turning to green and sustainable finance to drive initiatives in public health, climate resilience and financial development. He noted that Hong Kong would capitalise on the unprecedented green and sustainable finance opportunities presented by the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the Belt and Road Initiative.

Details here.
  FS at Hong Kong Forum: Hong Kong a prime platform and key link for Belt and Road Initiative
Speaking at the 21st Hong Kong Forum on 1 December, the Financial Secretary, Mr Paul Chan, said Hong Kong, as an international financial centre with world-class professional services, has what the Belt and Road Initiative needs to finance and service its infrastructure projects. “To realize that far-reaching promise, Hong Kong must enhance its position as the ‘prime platform and a key link’ for the Belt and Road Initiative,” he said, adding that the Hong Kong SAR Government is working to bring the soft power of the city's professional services into play in Belt and Road projects. “We are supporting capacity-building collaboration and, in the coming year, plan to roll out a Mainland Enterprises Partnership Exchange and Interface Program,” Mr Chan said. Under the "One country, Two systems" framework, Hong Kong has much to offer the Greater Bay Area (GBA) and that the GBA will be the natural conduit for Hong Kong to participate in and benefit from Mainland's domestic circulation. Hosted by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, the 21st Hong Kong Forum from 1-3 December was the annual flagship event of the Federation of Hong Kong Business Associations Worldwide, a unique network of 46 Hong Kong Business Associations in 35 countries and regions with more than 11,000 individual business executives and professionals from around the world as member associates. The Forum provides latest insights and information on doing business in Hong Kong and mainland China, with programmes including panel discussions and topical addresses.

Read more about FS’ speech and the Hong Kong Forum.
  Latest smart city blueprint unveiled
The Hong Kong SAR Government on 10 December released the Smart City Blueprint for Hong Kong 2.0 with more than 130 smart city initiatives. The Secretary for Innovation and Technology, Mr Alfred Sit, said implementation of a smart city aims to bring benefits and convenience to the public by making use of the research and development results to drive Hong Kong forward. He said among the 76 initiatives under six smart areas (i.e. "Smart Mobility", "Smart Living", "Smart Environment", "Smart People", "Smart Government" and "Smart Economy") in the Smart City Blueprint for Hong Kong published in December 2017, more than 40 initiatives were completed or under completion in stages. Blueprint 2.0 includes initiatives that are under implementation or of an ongoing nature such as open data and on-street parking meters supporting remote payment. Blueprint 2.0 has also put forward the idea of smart village pilot initiatives to explore the use of technologies to address daily life issues faced by residents living in the countryside and further remote areas, such as medical consultation for the elderly and traffic arrangements.

Details here.
  Smart and green key to future of shipping
Being smart and green is key to the future of shipping, and this is particularly true in 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic had given the impetus to accelerate the adoption of technologies, the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Mr Frank Chan, said at the 2nd Annual Capital Link Hong Kong Maritime Forum on 1 December. He noted that smart solutions ranging from e-certs and e-communication, to automation, robotics and artificial intelligence were adopted to help reduce manual processes and thus minimised human contact. Technologies not only mitigated immediate operational challenges, but also capture far-reaching business opportunities. Hong Kong would work in tandem with both the local and global shipping community to explore further and together. “To foster continual growth of our maritime cluster and attract more maritime principals to Hong Kong, we are examining further tax incentives for shipping commercial principals,” Mr Chan added.

Details here.
  Hong Kong Immigration Department wins awards at Hong Kong ICT Awards 2020
The Next Generation Smart Identity Card System (SMARTICS-2) introduced by the Hong Kong Immigration Department (ImmD) has won the Smart Business Grand Award and the Smart Business (Solution for Business and Public Sector Enterprise) Gold Award at the Hong Kong ICT Awards 2020. The award presentation ceremonies were held on 28 October and on 4 December respectively. The ImmD introduced SMARTICS-2 in November 2018 and rolled out the "Territory-wide Identity Card Replacement Exercise" in December 2018. By making good use of information technology at every point of contact with residents, from appointment booking to registration and collection of Hong Kong identity cards, SMARTICS-2 offers a completely new public service experience to all Hong Kong residents.

Details here.
  Far-reaching prospects for insurance industry
Speaking at the online Asian Insurance Forum 2020 on 8 December, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong SAR, Mrs Carrie Lam, said Hong Kong would take full advantage of the opportunities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area development and the Belt and Road Initiative as the city continued its transformation into a regional insurance hub and global risk-management centre. The Hong Kong SAR Government is in an advanced stage of discussion with the Mainland on the proposed establishment of after-sale service centres, marking a breakthrough in financial connectivity, and making it much easier for holders of policies issued in Hong Kong and Macao to acquire comprehensive customer support in the Mainland cities of the Greater Bay Area.

Details here.
  Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival concludes successfully
The 2020 Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival officially drew to a close on 15 December. It was the first time the Hong Kong Tourism Board had adopted an “online + offline” format for the mega event. During the five consecutive weeks it was held (11 November to 15 December), the Festival had laid a full table of gastronomic experiences. The Online Masterclasses – a new “ingredient” of this year’s Festival – became a go-to programme at home for many people during the COVID-19 outbreak. A total of 34 classes were held during three weekends, generating almost 850,000 views. About 30% of the viewers came from the short- and long-haul markets, such as India, Taiwan, the UK, France, the US and Canada.

Details here.
HKETO event
  The Director of HKETO Sydney, Mr Raymond Fan, attended the live stream event of the 21st Hong Kong Forum arranged by HKABA (National Chapter) on 1 December at Hong Kong House. Before the start of live streaming of the Hong Kong Forum, Mr Fan gave an opening remarks on the latest development of Hong Kong, including major initiatives of the Chief Executive's 2020 Policy Address, to all the attendees. During the live stream event, attendees got an update on Hong Kong’s business opportunities from a speech of the Financial Secretary, Mr Paul Chan.  
Upcoming event
  Asian Financial Forum (Hong Kong)
The Asian Financial Forum, Asia's premier platform for global leaders in government, finance and business to exchange insights, intelligence as well as business and investment opportunities, will be held virtually on 18 and 19 January 2021. Under the theme “Reshaping World Economic Landscape”, the forum will examine the challenges at hand and strategise the road to recovery and beyond with more than 150 influential global financial experts, policymakers, business leaders, economists, investors and entrepreneurs. The AFF’s virtual platform will offer comprehensive business showcasing, networking and matchmaking services, including the Fintech Showcase, FintechHK Startup Salon, AFF Deal Flow Matchmaking Session, InnoVenture Salon and Global Investment Zone, providing interactive connections between global investors, project owners and start-up enterprises.

Find out more here.
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