In recognition of a turbulent 12 months Mrs Lam said the title of the policy address, Striving ahead with renewed perseverance, acknowledged she and members of the public have been through a difficult time in the past year and it is time to move forward.
In a speech delivered on November 25 2020 Mrs Lam said the foremost priority was controlling the Covid-19 epidemic before pressing on with a series of initiatives to promote the economy and peoples livelihood. She said Hong Kong was the country's international financial centre and a number of policy initiatives facilitated the mutual access to the mainland's capital market and the expansion of Hong Kong's financial services.
Mrs Lam said: "In the coming year, the HKSAR Government will double its efforts to get the epidemic under control, revive the economy, restore social order, rebuild Hong Kong's international reputation and people's confidence in the Government, with a view to relaunching Hong Kong."
She then went on to say:
• The family office business has flourished in recent years, becoming an important growth segment in the wealth and asset management industry. To assist further development InvestHK will set up a dedicated team to promote our advantages in local and other major markets and offer one-stop support services to family offices interested in establishing a presence in Hong Kong.
• With a view to consolidating Hong Kong's position as Asia's premier fund hub for private equity, we will provide tax concession for carried interest issued by private equity funds operating in Hong Kong subject to certain conditions. We have consulted the industry with the aim of introducing an amendment bill into the LegCo shortly.
• Capitalising on its advantages in terms of geographical location and management, the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) will commission a third runway in 2022.
• Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK), which has been operating and managing the Zhuhai Airport under a franchise since 2006, will be injecting equity into Zhuhai Airport to intergrate the mainland aviation network. Thee will also be a cross-boundary commercial helicopter service between Guangdong and Hong Kong.
• To further promote Smart Government and the digital transformation of the whole society iAM Smart will launch in December. It will offer more than 20 frequently used public services initially with other public utilities invited to provide services on the platform. We hope the commercial sector will actively participate.
• This year marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone. Central Government strongly supports the co-operation between Hong Kong and Shenzhen in developing an international I&T hub in the Greater Bay Area (GBA) and has agreed to their joint development of the Shenzhen/Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Co-operation Zone (SITZ), which comprises the Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Zone and the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park (HSITP) at the Lok Ma Chau Loop.
• The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) will launch a one-stop GoGBA platform in collaboration with the Guangdong Province to provide multi-faceted support for Hong Kong enterprises, including market information, enquiry service and training, as well as business promotion and development. In addition, the HKTDC will help Hong Kong enterprises gain access to the large-scale e-commerce platforms in the mainland as well as promoting the awareness and image of Hong Kong products. HKTDC will also use its physical network in the mainland to provide business support for Hong Kong enterprises in handling operational issues such as import declaration, logistics and settlement of payment.
• A total of 15 economies including Australia, China, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement on 15 November 2020. Under the RCEP, over 90% of merchandise trade will eventually enjoy zero tariff treatment, which will increase regional trade and investment and provide impetus for global economic growth.
• Launch the Fintech Proof-of-Concept Subsidy Scheme to encourage traditional financial institutions to partner with start-ups to conduct proof-of-concept projects.
• Expand the scope of subsidy under the Small and Medium Enterprises Export Marketing Fund for two years so enterprises affected by the epidemic can fully utilise both online and offline sale channels.
Managing director of ILS World's Hong Kong office, Lilian Cheung said: "The past year has certainly generated many challenges but Hong Kong continues to be attractive both regionally and internationally with its sophisticated financial services offer. It continues to be a hugely successful platform for those seeking a gateway through Asia."