No.2  February, 2021  
Latest from Hong Kong

The Financial Secretary of the Hong Kong SAR announced the 2021-22 Budget
The Financial Secretary of Hong Kong SAR, Mr Paul Chan, announced his 2021-22 Budget on 24 February, unveiling wide-ranging measures to revive Hong Kong's economy and help people to overcome financial difficulties amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This year's Budget focused on stabilising the economy and relieving people's burden. It aimed to alleviate the hardship and pressure caused by the economic downturn and the epidemic through the introduction of counter-cyclical measures costing over HK$120 billion (about AUD$19.4 billion), and sought to create a leverage effect to benefit people, workers as well as enterprises. Mr Chan forecasted economic growth of between 3.5 per cent and 5.5 per cent in real terms in 2021, and average annual growth of 3.3 per cent from 2022 to 2025, while the underlying inflation rate was expected to be 2 per cent on average. To help businesses weather the current economic downturn, Mr Chan announced a HK$9.5 billion (about AUD$1.5 billion) package of financial relief measures, including reducing profits tax up to a ceiling of HK$10,000 (about AUD$1,620), waiving business registration fees for 2021-22 and reducing various government fees and charges. To encourage and boost local consumption and stimulate the economy, the Government would issue, in instalments, electronic consumption vouchers with a total value of HK$5,000 (about AUD$810) to eligible Hong Kong permanent residents and new arrivals aged 18 or above. Mr Chan also set out initiatives to support the recovery and boost development of key industries, including innovation and technology, financial services, tourism, air cargo and creative industries.

Read the full budget speech
Learn more about the Budget

Lunar New Year Greetings from the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong SAR
On the occasion of the Lunar New Year, the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong SAR, Mrs Carrie Lam, wished Hong Kong citizens living overseas good fortune and good health in the Year of the Ox. Mrs Lam was pleased to say that the latest wave of the COVID-19 epidemic is now apparently under control. With the full implementation of stringent anti-epidemic measures and the rolling out of a government vaccination programme in due course, the city would be able to gradually resume normal activities. Apart from the pandemic, Mrs Lam said that Hong Kong is fully participating in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area development with the support of the Central Government and is seizing the unlimited opportunities it brings. She said Hong Kong welcomes talents from all over the world, in particular overseas Hong Kong citizens, to return to Hong Kong for development, adding that the government has implemented several measures to assist the second generation of Hong Kong people who have moved overseas to return to Hong Kong. A new Global STEM Professorship Scheme would be introduced to attract innovation and technology talents from all over the world. She welcomed everyone to make use of these policies and come back to build Hong Kong together and contribute to our country.

Watch the Chief Executive’s Lunar New Year Greetings here.
The Chief Executive addresses European business community on Hong Kong development
The Chief Executive of the Hong Kong SAR, Mrs Carrie Lam, highlighted Hong Kong's unique advantages for doing business and shared prospects for overseas firms establishing in Hong Kong during an online dialogue with more than 700 entrepreneurs and business executives from different corners of continental Europe on 5 February. Mrs Lam said that with Hong Kong's strategic location and unique advantages under "One Country, Two Systems", including the capitalist system, the rule of law, judicial independence, the free flow of capital and a low and simple tax regime, Hong Kong represents the ideal gateway for European companies to access the vast market in the Mainland of China, in particular, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (Greater Bay Area). Mrs Lam and officials addressed wide-ranging questions from the participants, covering topics such as the National Security Law, the strategy to control COVID-19, cooperation between Hong Kong and Shenzhen in technology development, and the business prospects of the Greater Bay Area.

Details here.
Hong Kong is ready to join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership
The Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Edward Yau, shared his insights on the trade landscape under the COVID-19 pandemic on 22 February during the four-day Asia Trade Week 2021 organised by the Economist Events. During an online interview, Mr Yau said that the pandemic has brought an uneven impact on the trade in Hong Kong, as commodity trade has not been much affected but trade in services has taken a heavier toll. Nevertheless, he noted that some areas such as financial services and information and technology have still achieved robust growth. He said there are good developments on the global trade scene. Citing the conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), Mr Yau said that high-standard free trade agreements could strengthen the multilateral trading system, enhance regional trade co-operation and remove trade barriers. Mr Yau emphasised that Hong Kong is ready to join the RCEP, adding that among the 15 economies of the RCEP, the city has direct free trade agreements with 13 members, including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Australia and New Zealand.

Details here.
Arbitration law changes proposed
The Government would introduce legislative amendments to the Arbitration Ordinance. The amendment aimed to fully implement the Supplemental Arrangement Concerning Mutual Enforcement of Arbitral Awards between the Mainland and the Hong Kong SAR signed between the Hong Kong SAR Government and the Supreme People's Court of the People's Republic of China last year. The purpose of signing the supplemental arrangement was to bring it more fully in line with the current practice of international arbitration, including aligning the definition of the scope of arbitral awards with the prevalent international approach of "seat of arbitration" under the New York Convention. It also allowed parties to make simultaneous applications to both the courts of the Mainland and the Hong Kong SAR for enforcement of an arbitral award. The Government noted that the implementation of the supplemental arrangement in full will be conducive to the promotion of the development of Hong Kong's legal and dispute resolution services. Hong Kong's status as an international legal hub for legal, deal-making and dispute resolution services would be further enhanced.

Details here.
  Updates on Hong Kong’s anti-pandemic measures
  • The Government would launch the citywide COVID-19 Vaccination Programme from 26 February and five priority groups may make an appointment via the online booking system from 23 February. Twenty-nine Community Vaccination Centres will be set up in the 18 districts across the city. Among the vaccination centres, five will provide the Sinovac vaccine, while 24 will provide the Fosun Pharma/BioNTech one.

  • A COVID-19 Vaccination Programme website was launched to provide official and up-to-date information about COVID-19 vaccines on a one-stop basis.

  • The Chief Executive of the Hong Kong SAR, Mrs Carrie Lam, and a number of Principal Officials on 22 February took the lead to receive their first dose of the Sinovac vaccine.

  • Government began to relax social distancing measures in a gradual and orderly manner :
    From February 18:
    • Some scheduled premises can be open (including amusement game centre, fitness centre, place of amusement, place of public entertainment, beauty parlour and massage establishment, sports premises)
    • Dine-in service until 10 pm; no more than four persons at one table
    • Catering premises and scheduled premises should ensure users scan the "LeaveHomeSafe" QR code or register their names, contact numbers and the dates and times of their visits; arrange for all staff involved in the operation of the premises to undergo COVID-19 test once every 14 days
    • Number of persons allowed in group gatherings in public places relaxed from two to four from 24 February
    • Mandatory mask-wearing until 3 March

  • In view of the latest developments of the epidemic situation, government departments fully resumed normal public services from 18 February.

  • From 1 March, government employees and members of the public would be required to use the "LeaveHomeSafe" mobile app before entering government buildings or offices.

  • Testing and isolation arrangements for exempted persons, including air crew members, sea crew members of goods vessels entering Hong Kong for cargo operations and other exempted persons, would be tightened with effect from 20 February.
Read more from the Fight Against COVID-19 website.
  “Hong Kong Welcomes U” portal updated
The one-stop web portal “Hong Kong Welcomes U”, which provides information for people considering a move to Hong Kong to work, invest or study, was recently updated. It has adopted a new web responsive design to facilitate viewers using different devices. The portal would provide a wide range of information on employment, education, investment and immigration matters as well as social, recreational and cultural activities, along with a handy reference to a range of initiatives and support for those wanting to learn more about relocating to and living in Hong Kong.

Details here.
  CEDB to create 200 internship jobs in collaboration with international chambers and HKFYG
The Commerce and Economic Development Bureau would launch two internship programmes, namely the Future International Talent programme and the Telecommunications Opportunities Programme in collaboration with six international chambers of commerce in Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups respectively. The programmes would create some 200 full-time entry-level job opportunities for young people in the creative industries and telecommunications sectors. Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Edward Yau said on 24 January that the two programmes would also provide much-needed job opportunities for our young people at this difficult time.

Details here.
HKETO events
  Chinese New Year networking events hosted by HKABA and HKNZBA
The Director of HKETO Sydney, Ms Winnie Chan, along with Deputy Director, Mr Henry Mak, virtually attended the Chinese New Year networking events hosted by Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia chapters of the Hong Kong Australia Business Association; and the Hong Kong New Zealand Business Association, in February. In celebration of the Year of the Ox, Ms Chan wished the attendees a healthy and rewarding year ahead. She gave an update on the latest developments in Hong Kong, noting that Hong Kong has demonstrated the resilience and stability of its financial system in the faces of pandemic and global economic downturn. One of the key developments to further strengthen Hong Kong’s competitive edges would be the development of the city as an international innovation and technology hub, with many exciting collaborative and innovative projects in the pipeline. With the Greater Bay Area an important entry point for Hong Kong, there would be lots of opportunities for businesses in Australia and New Zealand and Hong Kong would definitely be their partner in tapping the business potential, Ms Chan added. Mr Mak said HKETO, Sydney would continue to connect with interlocutors in the virtual arena despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and organise virtual events to promote Hong Kong.

Details here.
  “Transforming Chinese Cultural Wisdom into Modern Creative Art” webinar
To celebrate the Year of the Ox, HKETO Sydney hosted the virtual event “Transforming Chinese Cultural Wisdom into Modern Creative Art” on 26 February with Alex Ma - a leading Hong Kong Australian designer - as guest speaker. Participants learned how a traditional idea can be transformed with a modern twist into an innovative artistic creation fitting the present day and time. Participants also had the opportunity to create something of their own unique for everyone. By turning used red packets and old magazine covers into creative expression of the 12 Chinese zodiac signs, the concept of environmental sustainability were shared and promoted among the participants during this festive season.
Upcoming events
  Greater Bay Area Symposium (Sydney)
On 1 March, Invest Hong Kong of the HKSAR Government will showcase to Australian businesses at the “Hong Kong: Your Greater Bay Area Partner in Expanding Your Global Business” Symposium the important position and role of the Greater Bay Area for the Mainland China’s economic development and opening up, and Hong Kong as an ideal partner to access the business opportunities in the region. During this half-day event to be held in Sydney, Australia, HKSAR Government officials will speak on the attractiveness and benefits of the Greater Bay Area. Panel speakers from prominent companies with presence in both Australia and the Greater Bay Area will share valuable experiences to highlight the advantages, opportunities and importance of collaboration between the two places.

Find out more here.
  FILMART Online 2021
FILMART Online, the digital version of HKTDC Hong Kong International Film and TV Market, will return from 15 to 18 March. It aims to unite even more international industry executives in its marketplace to connect and collaborate. Industry leaders and veterans will be invited to share their views about market outlooks, macro developments, technological advancements etc. in a series of online seminars and business events.

Find out more here.
  Together, we fight the virus!
  Useful links  
  Tender notifications  
safehuarding National Security in Hong Kong
Updates on Latest Situation in Hong Kong
HKETO Sydney website Find us on FacebookLinkedin Find us on Facebook