Financial Secretary Paul Chan today said the Government will provide additional funding to further assist Hong Kong enterprises and investors in opening up markets.
Delivering his Budget, Mr Chan stressed that in support of the Belt & Road Initiative, Hong Kong will explore and tap emerging markets such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa while maintaining ties with the European and American markets.
The Government will provide additional funding of $550 million to the Trade Development Council in the five financial years starting from 2023‑24.
Mr Chan explained that such funding aims to help Hong Kong enterprises seize opportunities arising from the Belt & Road Initiative and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area development and tap into emerging markets as well as step up global promotional efforts.
The Financial Secretary also proposed to further inject $500 million into the Dedicated Fund on Branding, Upgrading & Domestic Sales (BUD Fund) and launch BUD Easy to expedite the processing of applications, enabling more small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to make use of the funding to develop their business.
Additionally, the Government will allocate $100 million to the Productivity Council to strengthen assistance for SMEs in applying for government subsidies.
Mr Chan highlighted that the National 14th Five‑Year Plan supports Hong Kong to develop into a regional intellectual property trading centre.
To encourage the innovation and technology sector to forge ahead with more research and development (R&D) activities and create more patented inventions with market potential, the Government will introduce a “patent box” tax incentive to provide tax concessions for profits sourced in Hong Kong from qualifying patents generated through R&D activities.
The Government will consult the trade on the “patent box” tax arrangements within this year and formulate a competitive concessionary tax rate applicable to Hong Kong. Its target is to submit the legislative amendments to the Legislative Council in the first half of 2024.
Meanwhile, the Government will provide additional funding totalling $10 million to the Intellectual Property Department in the next two years for employing and nurturing its patent examiners as well as progressively developing a talent pool, with a view to acquiring institutional autonomy in conducting substantive patent examination by 2030.
The finance chief added that the Government will continue to strive to consolidate the strategic positioning of Hong Kong as a centre for international legal and dispute resolution services in the Asia-Pacific region under the National 14th Five Year Plan.
The Department of Justice will seek to establish and promote the use of a common online mediation platform for dispute resolution in the Greater Bay Area, with a view to providing a more convenient, efficient and cost‑effective means for people and businesses in the bay area to settle cross‑boundary disputes online.