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Dedicated Fund on Branding, Upgrading and Domestic Sales starts accepting applications today (with photos)

     The Government has launched the $1 billion Dedicated Fund on Branding, Upgrading and Domestic Sales (the BUD Fund) and started accepting applications today (June 25).

     Officiating at the launching ceremony of the fund, the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, said, "The National 12th Five-Year Plan has established the directions for economic development for the next few years, and the emphasised areas include expanding domestic demand as well as the upgrading and restructuring of industries. Undoubtedly, this opens up enormous opportunities for Hong Kong businesses.

     "At present, many other countries and places have been competing to enter into the Mainland market. Hong Kong enterprises have to make good use of the opportunities and enhance their competitiveness in the Mainland market for sustainable development."

     Mr So pointed out that the establishment of the BUD Fund aimed at assisting Hong Kong enterprises in enhancing their competitiveness and facilitating their business development in the Mainland market, through developing brands, upgrading and restructuring their business operations and promoting domestic sales.

     "I am confident that the BUD Fund can provide the necessary and adequate support to the trade," Mr So said.

     The BUD Fund comprises the Enterprise Support Programme and the Organisation Support Programme. The two programmes provide funding support for individual enterprises and non-profit-distributing organisations respectively to undertake projects to develop brands, upgrade and restructure business operations and promote sales in the Mainland market.

     The Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC) is acting as the Secretariat to assist the implementation of the Enterprise Support Programme. All non-listed companies registered in Hong Kong under the Business Registration Ordinance (Chapter 310) with substantive business operations in Hong Kong are eligible to apply. Applicant enterprises should provide a holistic business plan to show how the proposed measures can enhance their competitiveness and facilitate their business development on the Mainland. Funding would be provided on a matching basis, i.e. the Government will cover a maximum of 50 per cent of the total approved project cost, and the enterprise has to contribute no less than 50 per cent of the total approved project cost in cash. During the tenure of the BUD Fund, each enterprise may obtain funding for a maximum of three approved projects. The cumulative funding ceiling per enterprise is $500,000. Each funded project should be completed within 24 months.

     The Trade and Industry Department (TID) is implementing the Organisation Support Programme, which provides funding support for non-profit-distributing organisations (such as industrial and trade organisations, professional bodies and research institutes) to undertake large-scale projects that can assist Hong Kong enterprises in general or in specific sectors to develop brands, upgrade and restructure business operations and promote domestic sales so as to increase their overall competitiveness in the Mainland market. The maximum amount of funding support for each project is $5 million, or 90 per cent of the approved project expenditure, whichever is less. The organisation has to contribute the remaining 10 per cent of the approved project expenditure in cash, in kind or in the form of sponsorship. The maximum duration of a project will be three years.

     Mr So said, "I encourage the trade, regardless of individual enterprises or industrial or trade organisations, to make the best use of the support of the BUD Fund to capitalise on the opportunities to develop and explore the Mainland market, so as to contribute to the long-term economic development of Hong Kong."

     To assist Hong Kong enterprises in capturing the opportunities arising from the National 12th Five-Year Plan, the Chief Executive announced in the 2011-12 Policy Address the proposal to set up a dedicated fund of $1 billion to encourage enterprises to move up the value chain and explore and develop the Mainland market through developing brands, upgrading and restructuring as well as promoting domestic sales. The Government has consulted various trade and industrial organisations, small and medium enterprise associations and related parties, and the trade generally welcomes and supports the setting up of the BUD Fund.

     Subject to the funding balance, the BUD Fund will be open for application for five years up to June 2017.

     The Acting Director-General of Trade and Industry, Ms Carol Yuen; the Chairman of the HKPC, Mr Clement Chen; and the Executive Director of the HKPC, Mrs Agnes Mak, also officiated at today's launching ceremony. After the ceremony, representatives of the HKPC and the TID introduced the details of the Enterprise Support Programme and the Organisation Support Programme respectively. Representatives of several Hong Kong enterprises were also invited to share their experience in developing brands, upgrading and restructuring business operations and promoting sales in the Mainland.

     Enterprises and non-profit-distributing organisations interested in applying for the BUD Fund may contact the HKPC or the TID for enquiries and submission of applications. The contact details are as follows:

Enterprise Support Programme

Hong Kong Productivity Council
Telephone: 2788 6088

Organisation Support Programme

Trade and Industry Department
Telephone: 2398 5128

Ends/Monday, June 25, 2012
Issued at HKT 18:11


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