Hong Kong Budget 2016: What’s In It For Small Businesses?

March 1, 2016
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Hong Kong announced last week in its 2016-17 Budget a series of support measures ranging from tax cuts to promotional campaigns aimed at helping small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

In light of the new announcements by the Financial Secretary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) government John Tsang Chun-wah, small businesses in Hong Kong can now expect:

  • Business registration fee waiver for registrations from 1 April; and
  • A Pilot Technology Voucher Program under the Innovation and Technology Fund that will provide subsidies for use of technological services and solutions to improve productivity and upgrade business processes.

To boost Hong Kong’s position as a leading financial hub, additional measures included:

  • Extension of the application period for Special Concessionary Measures under the SME Financing Guarantee Scheme, reducing in the annual guarantee fee rate for the measures by 10 percent; and removing the minimum guarantee fee;
  • Injecting HKD 5 billion into the Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF) and various additional measures to encourage private enterprises to invest in R&D and applied technology; and
  • Setting up of a HKD 2 billion ITF that will co-invest with private venture capital funds on a matching basis in local technology start-ups (view all Budget 2016 highlights by PwC here).

The attention toward SMEs is part of an effort to elevate the long-term competitiveness of the sector, which accounts for nearly half the nation’s total employment (Support and Consultation Centre for SMEs, 2015).

snappa-1456982540Currently, business registration fees costs SMEs in Hong Kong HKD 2,000 for a year’s certificate and HKD 5,200 for a three-year certificate plus a HKD 250 levy fee (see the Inland Revenue Department’s Business Registration Fee and Levy Table here).

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* Until such initiatives in the Hong Kong Budget 2016-17  are enacted, they can be subject to modification. 

 

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