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Source: Hong Kong Information Services

Measures are in the pipeline to help enterprises amid the economic downturn and consolidate Hong Kong’s status as an international financial hub, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said.

Outlining her 2020 Policy Address initiatives today, Mrs Lam said as a result of the uncertainties surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, prices and demand for non-residential properties have been falling.

“The Government considers now the right time to abolish the doubled ad valorem stamp duty imposed on non-residential properties.”

The Executive Council approved the proposal this morning and it will take effect on November 26, she added.

Meanwhile, various measures are being considered to develop Hong Kong into a vibrant real estate investment trusts market in Asia.

Mrs Lam said: “This will strengthen the capital raising function of Hong Kong as a premier asset and wealth management centre, and broaden the investment options with a relatively stable return for local investors.”

The Government will provide tax concession for carried interest issued by private equity funds, with a view to consolidating Hong Kong’s position as Asia’s premier fund hub for private equity.

More aid for SMEs, tourism

Turning to the support for small and medium enterprises, the Chief Executive said the scope of the SME Export Marketing Fund will be expanded for two years so that enterprises affected by the epidemic can fully utilise both online and offline sales channels.

The Government will also set aside $50 million under the Professional Services Advancement Support Scheme to help professional bodies step up promotion in the Greater Bay Area and overseas.

For the tourism industry which has been hardest hit by the epidemic, Mrs Lam said additional relief measures totaling about $600 million will be rolled out.

On convention and exhibition (C&E) industry, the Government will make use of a $1 billion subsidy scheme to provide impetus for the industry in the next year or so.

More exhibition facilities

It will take forward the plan to redevelop the sites of the three government towers in Wan Chai North and the Kong Wan Fire Station into convention and exhibition facilities, hotels and offices. Together with the development of AsiaWorld-Expo phase two, Hong Kong’s C&E facilities will increase more than 40%.

Mrs Lam also told lawmakers that the Government’s pledge and determination to vigorously promote the development of the creative industries remain unchanged.

“I propose to inject an additional $1 billion into the CreateSmart Initiative to further promote the development of the creative industries in Hong Kong and provide support for them to adapt to the impact arising from the ‘new normal’ under the epidemic.”

Noting the integration of arts and innovation and technology has become a new trend in arts development, Mrs Lam said an inter-bureau task force will be set up to promote and develop art tech.

A total of $100 million under various funds will be set aside to provide state-of-the-art venues and complementary facilities for experimental use, she added.

MIL OSI Asia Pacific News