Budget Speech by the Financial Secretary (4)

Attract Enterprises

Office for Attracting Strategic Enterprises

64. With a new mindset to proactively reach out, we have established the Office for Attracting Strategic Enterprises (OASES), the Advisory Committee on Attracting Strategic Enterprises and the Dedicated Teams for Attracting Businesses and Talents, with the purpose of attracting representative and high potential strategic enterprises from around the globe, thereby enhancing our competitiveness and accelerating the development of industries. Since its establishment at the end of last year, OASES has already contacted quite a number of strategic enterprises. It is actively following up on these cases, assisting these enterprises in establishing or expanding their business in Hong Kong.

Attracting Overseas Companies to Re-domicile in Hong Kong

65. Hong Kong has enjoyed the competitive edge as a hub for multinational enterprises and as a headquarters economy. To further explore market opportunities, we will introduce a mechanism to provide facilitation for companies domiciled overseas, particularly enterprises with a business focus in the Asia-Pacific region, for re-domiciliation to Hong Kong, so that these companies may utilise our favourable business environment and professional services. We will conduct consultation and submit legislative proposals in 2023-24.

Hong Kong Investment Corporation Limited

66. In his 2022 Policy Address, the Chief Executive proposed to establish the Hong Kong Investment Corporation Limited (HKIC) to optimise the use of fiscal reserves for promoting the development of the economy and industries. The HKIC enhances our ability to attract enterprises and investment, and facilitates industrial co-operation between Hong Kong and our sister cities in the GBA. The HKIC has commenced operation and is identifying quality partners to make strategic investments in a timely manner.

Pooling Talent

Measures to Attract Talents

67. The 2022 Policy Address has proposed an array of initiatives to trawl for outside talents alongside the Government's efforts to nurture local talents, with a view to contributing to our economic development. These initiatives include the Top Talent Pass Scheme and the establishment of Hong Kong Talent Engage. Furthermore, the Labour and Welfare Bureau (LWB) is currently updating the Talent List, for completion within next month, to better reflect the manpower demands of different professions. The LWB will also commence a new round of manpower projections in the middle of this year to help the Government formulate appropriate strategies to address the overall manpower demand.

Capital Investment Entrant Scheme

68. With a view to further enriching the talent pool and attracting more new capital to Hong Kong, we will introduce a new Capital Investment Entrant Scheme. Applicants shall make investment at a certain amount in the local asset market, excluding property. Upon approval, they may reside and pursue development in Hong Kong. Details of the Scheme will be announced later.

Actively Align with National Development Strategies

69. All along, Hong Kong's destiny has been closely intertwined with the destiny of our country. In the prosperous development of our country over a long period, Hong Kong has always actively participated and made irreplaceable contributions, and at the same time it has achieved a higher level of development in a wider range of areas.

70. Our country is advancing towards the second centenary goal and is now in a critical opening period of the journey. As Hong Kong integrates into the national development, we must fully leverage our unique advantages and irreplaceable role under "One Country, Two Systems" to make proactive contributions to the modernisation of our country.

71. The GBA is the best entry point for Hong Kong to integrate into the national development. It has a population of 86 million, and is also the country's most affluent area. Innovative and vibrant, the GBA economy has full-fledged and high-quality production chains and strong complementarity with the Hong Kong economy. By joining hands with our GBA sister cities to achieve synergy in the development of a number of major industries, Hong Kong can certainly spearhead high quality development of the entire GBA.

International Innovation and Technology Centre

72. Hong Kong has to better capitalise on its advantage as an international I&T centre. Apart from strengthening co-operation with the Mainland and overseas, we should also make good use of the vast Mainland market as well as the regional advantages of the GBA. Furthermore, we have to pool the efforts of Government, industry, academic and research sectors to commercialise research and development (R&D) results and promote the development of I&T industry.

73. The Government has been stepping up efforts in promoting I&T development through an array of measures over the past few years, which have begun to yield solid results. The number of start-ups in Hong Kong has increased to about 4 000 with over 10 unicorns. Hong Kong has been Asia's largest and the world's second largest fundraising hub for biotechnology companies in recent years.

74. To seize the immense opportunities arising from the 14th Five-Year Plan and the GBA development, the Government promulgated the Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Development Blueprint at the end of last year to map out the broad development directions and major strategies of future I&T development from the perspective of top-level planning, with a view to charting Hong Kong in moving full steam towards the vision of an international I&T centre.

Life Technology and Artificial Intelligence

75. I announced in my last Budget that $10 billion would be earmarked to further promote the development of life and health technology in Hong Kong. In a bid to enhance support for the transformation of R&D outcomes as well as R&D activities related to life and health technology, I will set aside $6 billion out of the above provision to provide subsidies for universities and research institutes to set up thematic research centres. The aims are to foster cross-university, cross-institutional and multi-disciplinary co-operation. We will invite universities and research institutes interested in setting up life and health technology research institutes to submit proposals in 2023-24.

76. To further enhance basic research in frontier technology fields such as AI and quantum technology and to better realise our basic technology research capabilities in making breakthroughs out of the blue, I will earmark $3 billion to promote the development of relevant facilities, in particular, to leverage Hong Kong's unique advantage as a platform for international scientific research collaboration and attract leading I&T talents, research teams and enterprises from the Mainland and overseas to Hong Kong, thereby promoting cross-sectoral research cooperation.

Microelectronics Research and Development Institute

77. Microelectronics is the core technology in high-tech and information industries. Given the rapid growth of its global demand, microelectronics has infinite room for development and Hong Kong must seize this opportunity. The Government will support the establishment of a Microelectronics Research and Development Institute to promote microelectronics development in Hong Kong, aiming to make it a leading organisation for supporting microelectronics development in the Asia-Pacific region. The Institute will be tasked with strengthening collaboration with universities, R&D centres and the industry and expediting the "1 to N" transformation of technological outcomes. This will help pool together Mainland and overseas talents in relevant fields and strengthen the nurturing of local R&D talents, thereby further enhancing the I&T ecosystem.

Nurture Start-ups

78. The Government has been supporting the sustainable development of the I&T ecosystem in Hong Kong through the HKSTPC and Cyberport. To step up investment in technology start-ups, the HKSTPC will inject $400 million into its Corporate Venture Fund to help more technology start-ups with potential. In addition, the HKSTPC will, through consolidating its existing Acceleration Programme and injecting an additional amount of $110 million, launch the Co-acceleration Programme in collaboration with cooperation partners to support the growth of technology start-ups with high potential into regional or global enterprises.

79. To tie in with the policy of developing smart city and digital economy, I will earmark $265 million for Cyberport to launch a dedicated incubation programme for smart living start-ups, under which a maximum grant of $500,000 as well as targeted professional support and counselling will be provided. It is anticipated that about 90 eligible start-ups will benefit from the programme in each of the next five years.

New Industrialisation

80. Advanced manufacturing activities generate R&D demand and encourage private enterprises to invest more resources in R&D work, thereby supporting Hong Kong in developing into an international I&T centre. The Advanced Manufacturing Centre (AMC) in the Tseung Kwan O InnoPark was opened in April 2022, providing advanced manufacturing space of about 110 000 square metres. Tenants which have already moved in include enterprises engaged in the manufacturing of civilian satellites and advanced materials as well as provision of smart logistics-related services. To tie in with the policy objectives of attracting strategic enterprises to establish a presence in Hong Kong and promoting new industrialisation, the Government will plan ahead to provide more advanced manufacturing space, including to support the setting up of the second AMC, on which the HKSTPC is currently conducting a feasibility study.

(To be continued.)

Ends/Wednesday, February 22, 2023
Issued at HKT 11:47