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Speech by SCED at StartmeupHK Festival 2022 - Scaleup Impact Summit (English only)
     Following is the speech by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Algernon Yau, at StartmeupHK Festival 2022 - Scaleup Impact Summit today (September 6): 
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good afternoon. It is my pleasure to join you all at Scaleup Impact Summit 2022. I must congratulate our startups and young entrepreneurs on the ability to stay strong in the face of adversity, as they continue to unlock new and exciting opportunities with stakeholders and business partners from around the world, using Hong Kong as their gateway to success.  
     The pandemic has resulted in a major shift in the way businesses in Hong Kong and the world operate. We are also witnessing numerous novel applications of artificial intelligence technology, robotics and other technologies to meet the demands of the "new normal". Another important area that has seen significant growth in Hong Kong is the metaverse and web 3.0. Today's Scaleup Impact Summit 2022 organised by WHub will showcase some of the exciting ways of how businesses, startups and investors are deploying this "virtual universe" to try out new business models, and seek new ways to deepen their engagements with customers and other stakeholders.
     Today is an exciting opportunity for every one of us here, including some of you who are joining me in person, and also those of you joining me virtually and via the 3D world of the metaverse. This demonstrates once again how innovation and technology (I&T) is changing the way we live, work and interact.
     The ever-increasing significance of digital behaviour in businesses and consumers alike is a driving force for specific startup sectors to grow at a faster pace. We are seeing major developments in e-commerce and fintech, remote learning and edtech as well as arttech, where more industries are recognising the importance of cultivating a creative economy. Backed by the Central Government's strong support for Hong Kong to develop into an international hub as reflected in the National 14th Five-Year Plan, there are plenty of business opportunities for startups and scaleups in Hong Kong.
     The Commerce and Economic Development Bureau is committed to supporting the growth of enterprises, both local and non-local, in various aspects.
     We provide a business-friendly environment and the best support for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to thrive and flourish in Hong Kong. Our success in this regard has been demonstrated not only by Hong Kong's many economic achievements in the past decades, but also by our vibrant ecosystem that has facilitated the growth of startups into scaleups.
     Over the years, we have provided multi-pronged support to SMEs, including funding, comprehensive market information and technical advice. For instance, the well-received Dedicated Fund on Branding, Upgrading and Domestic Sales (BUD Fund) and the SME Export Marketing Fund (EMF) have helped enhance the competitiveness of SMEs through upgrading their products and systems, developing brand names, as well as conducting promotion activities for exploring markets and promoting business outside Hong Kong.
     We also implement the SME Financing Guarantee Scheme (SFGS) to help address SMEs' liquidity problem. As at end July 2022, over $7 billion of funding had been approved under the BUD Fund and the EMF, benefiting about 55 000 enterprises; and over $211 billion of loans had been extended to over 50 000 enterprises under the SFGS. These funding schemes have been instrumental to the development of SMEs in Hong Kong, in particular startups and scaleups, into successful enterprises.
     Another area that we think is important as supporting infrastructure to our startups and scaleups is 5G. The characteristics of 5G - namely, stable, speedy, reliable, cost-effective, anytime and anywhere - have pushed the limits of imagination and creativity, and brought about abundant opportunities to I&T and the economy. 5G has accelerated development of different novel technologies, including the metaverse. The launch of 5G services, with transmission speeds up to 100 times faster than 4G, is an essential infrastructure catalyst which helps the metaverse and web 3.0 evolve faster with ubiquitous access, thereby allowing our startups and scaleups to capitalise on those opportunities. Being a leading telecommunications hub, there are now more than 3.3 million 5G users in Hong Kong, with 5G network coverage topping 90 per cent, being one of the highest globally.  
     To provide financial incentives to encourage faster and wider 5G application across sectors, we have launched since 2020 the Subsidy Scheme for Encouraging Early Deployment of 5G through $100 million funding support to private and public companies. So far, more than 140 projects including remote real-time healthcare system, construction safety monitoring system, remote mechanical maintenance, e-sports car racing, 4K/8K live broadcast, etc, have benefitted from the funding scheme. As a liberalised telecommunications market, we welcome all firms from every part of the world, which of course include our startups and scaleups, to capitalise on Hong Kong's well-built and sophisticated infrastructure for fostering innovation and smart applications.
     With the strong and dedicated efforts of my team at Invest Hong Kong, I am glad to see that Hong Kong continues to attract a large number of startups and scaleups. There were 3 755 startups choosing Hong Kong as their base in 2021, a very healthy 12 per cent increase when compared with 2020. This clearly demonstrates our competitive landscape, with easy access to an international and regional market, our simple tax system and low tax rate, vast business opportunities in the Mainland, and a deep pool of startup funding.
     The Scaleup Impact Summit today showcases the impact that can be achieved by our startups and scaleups, especially how the up-and-coming digitalisation trends can grow within Hong Kong and further strengthen our city's infrastructure. I hope you will enjoy today's event and the rest of the StartmeupHK Festival this week. Thank you.
Ends/Tuesday, September 6, 2022
Issued at HKT 16:18
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