Continuation for the Small Medium Businesses: The Hong Kong Government’s Response
Head of Business and Professional Services, Invest HK
Invest Hong Kong is the department of the Hong Kong SAR Government responsible for Foreign Direct Investment, supporting overseas, Mainland and Taiwanese businesses to set up and expand in Hong Kong. The department provides free advice and customised services to help businesses succeed in the city's economy.
Hong Kong has been amongst the most effective places in the world at suppressing the transmission of the virus thanks to a collaborative population which has meant that the outbreaks are not as massive as some other places in the world.
While fighting the pandemic, what has been done on the government level to ensure that small businesses are able to operate and grow even through challenging time?
Helping SMEs through Digitisation & Technology
The significant economic impact of Covid-19 has impacted the global supply chain. The globalisation and digitisation of supply chains will see Hong Kong survive and thrive but there is a need to be even more agile as we serve future digital supply chains with next-generation data analytics, AI and automation. Talent development and upskilling our people is critical for future survival. It’s important to develop an international business mindset and encourage innovative thinking to stay ahead of this current challenge, and future challenges.
The Government has spared no efforts in helping businesses survive and thrive through several rounds of its anti-epidemic fund. For instance, the Distance Business Programme launched in May 2020 has so far approved more than 17,000 applications involving subsidies of some HK $970 million. These involve supporting enterprises to adopt IT solutions to continue their business and services during the pandemic.
Another area is family office business which is becoming an important growth segment in the wealth and asset management industry. To further develop the family office business in Hong Kong, InvestHK will set up a dedicated team to step up promotion of our advantages in local and other major markets, and offer one-stop support services to family offices which are interested in establishing a presence here.
Innovation is Key
Our pillar sectors such as financial services, business and professional services, logistics remain resilient in this challenging time. While sectors like retail, tourism and hospitality are the most hard-hit, companies are quickly adapting to the new normal. We are seeing phenomenal developments in innovation and technology sectors, e.g. in ICT, A.I., robotics, biotech, smart cities and of course, FinTech, which leverage Hong Kong's role as one of the leading global international financial centres.
Covid-19 has further accelerated our home-grown innovation, for example, three innovative local high-tech firms have developed robots that can check for body temperature and kill the virus with ultraviolet guns; wearable tech that enables healthcare professionals to monitor Covid-19 patients in real-time; and a rapid testing system which the English Premier League has also adopted.
3 Reasons Why Hong Kong will Remain a Good Place for Business
Even while fighting the pandemic, Hong Kong still has medium and long term opportunities that Hong Kong has to offer. The economy is mature and regulated with sophisticated consumers and world-class businesses.
Hong Kong has weathered one crisis after another
As an international financial centre, Hong Kong has weathered one crisis after another. Its financial system remains stable and resilient. Its linked exchange rate system has been operating smoothly and the aggregate balance of the banking system has increased significantly in the past year, reflecting continued investors’ interest and confidence in Hong Kong’s capital market.
Strategically placed in Asia
Being in the heart of Asia, we are able to capture opportunities anywhere in the region. So there is an opportunity for almost any company and InvestHK is ready to work with companies or entrepreneurs to figure out what the best strategy is for them to address the market opportunities in Asia markets from Hong Kong.
A crucial role in the development of the Greater Bay Area
What makes Hong Kong even more unique is its strategic role in the Greater Bay Area development. The Greater Bay Area is the closer economic integration between Hong Kong and Macao, as special administrative regions of China, and nine key cities in Guangdong - with a population of 70 million people all living within roughly one hour's travelling, producing an economy that is already the size of South Korea or Australia.
Being the most open and international city in the Greater Bay Area, Hong Kong is known for its status as international financial, transportation, trade centre and aviation hub as well as its renowned professional services. Enjoying the dual advantages of "one country, two systems", Hong Kong plays an important role in the Greater Bay Area Development.
On the one hand, Hong Kong will facilitate and support the economic development of the region, with a view to enhancing the role and functions of the Greater Bay Area in the country’s two-way opening up; on the other hand, we will facilitate the development of industries in which Hong Kong’s strengths lie in the Greater Bay Area, capitalising on Hong Kong’s strengths to serve the country's needs.