Posts

Sun Dong begins visit in Saudi Arabia

Image
Secretary for Innovation, Technology & Industry Prof Sun Dong led a delegation to begin their visit to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.   Upon their arrival in Riyadh, they visited King Abdulaziz City for Science & Technology and met its President Munir Eldesouki.   The group was briefed on the tech city's innovative projects and solutions for research applications, such as the Saudi semiconductor and genome programmes and water harvesting from thin air, and visited an innovation centre for promoting advanced manufacturing and a number of laboratories as well as satellite manufacturing facilities.   They went on to The Garage in the tech city, an accelerator providing support to local and international emerging startups in Riyadh with the required infrastructure and a range of supportive integrated services. Prof Sun engaged in exchanges with technology enterprises of the accelerator.   Prof Sun noted that support for startups is essential to building a vibrant innovat

HK, Bahrain sign investment pact

Image
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Bahrain today entered into an investment promotion and protection agreement (IPPA) in Manama, Bahrain, with a view to enhancing investors’ confidence, expanding investment flows and strengthening economic and trade ties.   Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Algernon Yau, on his visit to Manama, signed the agreement with Bahrain Minister of Finance & National Economy Shaikh Salman bin Khalifa Al Khalifa.   Under the IPPA, Hong Kong and Bahrain undertake to provide investors of the other side with fair, equitable and non-discriminatory treatment of their investments, compensation in the event of expropriation of investments, and the right to free transfers abroad of investments and returns. It also provides for settlement of investment disputes under internationally accepted rules.   The pact will come into force after the fulfilment of relevant internal procedures on both sides.   Mr Yau said the IPPA is

Jan retail sales up 0.9%

Image
The value of total retail sales in January, provisionally estimated at $36.5 billion, rose 0.9% compared with the same month in 2023, the Census & Statistics Department announced today.   After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the provisional estimate represents a 1.2% year-on-year decrease.   Of the total retail sales value in January, online sales accounted for 6.5%. Provisionally estimated at $2.4 billion, the value of this segment went down by 20.9% compared with a year earlier.   Noting that retail sales tend to show greater volatility in the first two months of a year due to the timing of the Lunar New Year, the department said the year-on-year comparison of the figures might have been affected to a certain extent.   The value of sales of jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts increased 25.2% compared with January 2023.   Increases were also recorded in the sales of other consumer goods not elsewhere classified (up 7

Tenders invited for operation contract

Image
The Housing Bureau today invited tenders for the operation and management contract of the first Light Public Housing (LPH) project, and encouraged capable and experienced organisations to submit bids.   The project, located at Yau Pok Road in Yuen Long, will provide about 2,100 LPH units, with intake tentatively scheduled in the first quarter of next year.   The scope of the contract mainly covers occupant management, property management, daily maintenance as well as the provision of social services, and the management and operation of ancillary facilities.   To encourage participation of different stakeholders in the community, the bureau welcomes tenders from all capable and experienced service providers, including non-government organisations and those with a valid property management company licence, or a collaboration between them.   The bureau will carry out a technical assessment based on the management capability, relevant experience and past service performance

FS outlines fiscal consolidation plan

Image
In the 2024-25 Budget announced today, Financial Secretary Paul Chan proposed a number of measures to increase revenue and outlined a fiscal consolidation programme which aims to restore fiscal balance in a few years’ time.   Mr Chan said even though the Government strived to reduce expenditure as the COVID-19 pandemic had subsided, the total expenditure for 2023-24 reached $727.9 billion, representing an increase of 36.9% compared with 2018-19, of which operating expenditure rose substantially by 40.2% whereas operating revenue increased only 13.1%.   On capital works, owing to the fact that the Government has been pressing ahead with land and housing supply projects, along with other infrastructure works for improving the environment and people’s livelihood, the average annual expenditure has increased from about $76 billion over the past five years to about $85 billion in 2023-24.   Fiscal reserves have dropped to the current level of $733.2 billion.   Fiscal consoli

Govt forecasts $48.1b deficit

Image
Financial Secretary Paul Chan said today that as the external environment is likely to remain complicated in the coming year and revenues related to asset markets in Hong Kong require some time to fully recover, the Government will continue to provide resources to strengthen momentum in the economy and to enhance public services.   In his Budget speech, Mr Chan said he expects that, taking into account the Government’s $120 billion bond issuance, 2024-25 will see a $48.1 billion deficit and fiscal reserves will decrease to $685.1 billion.   He stressed that substantial resources will still be allocated to livelihood-related policy areas including health, social welfare and education, representing 59.3% of recurrent expenditure. Following the pandemic, non-recurrent expenditure will substantially decrease.   On the revenue side, he expected earnings and profits tax, land premiums, and revenue from stamp duty to increase over the revised estimate for 2023-24.   The Financ

FS: HK can be supply chain hub

Image
Financial Secretary Paul Chan today announced a series of measures on finance, trade and the maritime and aviation sectors, and vowed to develop Hong Kong into a multinational supply chain management centre that provides consulting services, trade financing and corporate training to enterprises.   Delivering his Budget, Mr Chan said the Government will look at establishing a single window to provide one-stop trade services, in addition to stepping up efforts to attract Mainland manufacturing enterprises to set up offices in the city.   The Government is also planning to issue $70 billion worth of retail bonds, including $50 billion in Silver Bonds and $20 billion in green bonds and infrastructure bonds, to achieve financial inclusiveness and a sense of participation in the city’s infrastructure and sustainable development among the public.   To press ahead with the development of an offshore renminbi ecosystem in Hong Kong, the Government will continue to deepen mutual-mark