LCQ10: BUD Fund
The Government set up a Dedicated Fund on Branding, Upgrading and Domestic Sales (BUD Fund) in 2012 to assist Hong Kong enterprises in exploring and developing the Mainland market, and subsequently extended the geographical coverage of the funding support to include other economies with which Hong Kong has signed Free Trade Agreements and/or Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements. To expedite the vetting and approval of applications, the 2023-2024 Budget announced the launch of "BUD Easy" to enable more small and medium enterprises to make use of the funding to develop their business. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) of the expected time for launching "BUD Easy" officially;
(2) of the expected extent to which "BUD Easy" can streamline the application procedures of the BUD Fund, shorten the time needed for vetting and approval, and enhance the efficiency of the vetting and approval process;
(3) as quite a number of members of the industrial and commercial sectors have relayed that the applicant enterprises of the BUD Fund need to comply with stricter procurement requirements (e.g. obtaining a minimum of two quotations for the procurement or lease of equipment, goods or services with an aggregate value of over $2,000 but not exceeding $50,000), which have dampened the desire of some enterprises to apply for the Fund, whether the Government will consider relaxing the procurement requirements of the Fund; and
(4) how the Government will, through strengthening e-Government services and promoting smart government, optimise the electronic application platform of the BUD Fund and the consultation service provided to enterprises?
The Government strives to assist local enterprises in enhancing competitiveness and exploring more diversified markets. Among others, the Dedicated Fund on Branding, Upgrading and Domestic Sales (BUD Fund) provides funding support to non-listed Hong Kong enterprises to develop business in 37 economies with which Hong Kong has signed Free Trade Agreements and/or Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements. The Financial Secretary announced in the 2023-24 Budget the launch of "BUD Easy" to expedite the processing of applications, thereby enabling more enterprises to make use of the funding to develop their business.
We plan to launch "BUD Easy" in June 2023. Under "BUD Easy", the application form and the requirements for supporting documents will be further simplified. The vetting of applications involving a funding amount of $100,000 or below (such as the placement of advertisements, participation in exhibitions, production or enhancement of company websites or mobile applications, trademark registration, and testing and certification) will be expedited. The performance pledge is to complete the processing of an application within 30 working days, which is significantly reduced by half as compared with the 60-working-day pledge for general applications of the BUD Fund.
Apart from launching "BUD Easy", we will further streamline the procurement procedure requirements for BUD Fund approved projects and allow enterprises not to submit quotations for procurement items with values of $5,000 or below (the relevant ceiling is $2,000 at the moment), so as to provide further facilitation to enterprises and lower their administrative cost. The relevant measure will be applicable to "BUD Easy" and general applications of the BUD Fund.
An online application service has been provided for the BUD Fund since 2020 to facilitate the submission of applications by by enterprises. This service will also apply to "BUD Easy".
In addition, "Biz Expands Easy" (BEE), an online platform of the Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC), has incorporated the BUD Fund. The "BEE ePass" service on this online platform allows enterprises to apply for the BUD Fund and other government funding schemes implemented by the HKPC by using one single account. Moreover, the HKPC will soon launch a mobile phone booking service to facilitate consultation with applicant enterprises via telephone, online or face-to-face meetings.
Ends/Wednesday, March 22, 2023
Issued at HKT 12:00
Issued at HKT 12:00