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The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (the Government) is committed to providing maximum support and world-class infrastructure for the development of industry and commerce in a business-friendly and level-playing environment. Under the leadership of the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau (CEDB) assumes overall policy responsibility for work in the three areas described below.
The Government maintains close liaison with the business sector to listen to their views about the latest business environment and understand their needs and issues. The Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development chairs the Trade and Industry Advisory Board to tap the business sector’s inputs to help formulate government policies and programmes for driving economic development
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of Hong Kong's economy, accounting for about 98% of Hong Kong’s enterprises. CEDB assumes overall policy responsibility for SME support and provides services via the Trade and Industry Department (TID) and various bodies, including:
- Funding schemes that help SMEs explore the Mainland and overseas markets, obtain financing and enhance their competitiveness. For example, the Dedicated Fund on Branding, Upgrading and Domestics Sales (BUD Fund) under TID provides funding support to enterprises for developing markets with which Hong Kong has signed Free Trade Agreements and/or Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements; the SME Export Marketing Fund (EMF) under TID provides funding support to SMEs for undertaking promotion activities; the SME Financing Guarantee Scheme administered by HKMC Insurance Ltd. helps SMEs obtain commercial financing through providing loan guarantees by the Government; and the Trade and Industrial Organisation Support Fund (TSF) under TID provides funding support to non-profit-distributing organisations to implement projects that aim at enhancing the competitiveness of Hong Kong enterprises in general or in specific sectors. To help SMEs better utilise Government funding schemes, TID has set up the “SME ReachOut” team to support SMEs in identifying suitable funding schemes, and answering questions relating to applications via telephone, emails, face-to-face meetings as well as activities such as seminars and visits to chambers.
- To enhance SMEs’ understanding of the Government’s various support measures with a view to facilitating better utilisation of various funding schemes and support services, the Government has since October 2019 consolidated the services of four SME centres, namely, TID’s Support and Consultation Centre for SMEs (SUCCESS), “SME Centre” under the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC),“SME One” under the Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC), and “TecONE” under the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation, so that SMEs can receive one-stop consultation and referral services in any one of these centres. SMEs can also access comprehensive information and support services on the online platform “SME Link”.
- Engagement and consultation with SMEs has been conducted through the Small and Medium Enterprises Committee, which advises the Government on matters relating to the development of SMEs. The Government also supports SMEs through non-government subvented bodies, such as HKTDC which helps enterprises explore markets opportunities and HKPC which promotes productivity excellence through integrated advanced technologies and innovative service offerings to support enterprises.
With the supervision of CEDB:
- the statutory Hong Kong Trade Development Council actively promotes the external trade of Hong Kong; and
- the statutory Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation provides insurance protection for local exporters against risks of non-payment, arising from commercial and political events, for goods sold or services rendered to overseas customers.
CEDB administers the Professional Services Advancement Support Scheme to provide funding support for non-profit-distributing organisations to carry out projects to facilitate external promotion and enhancement of Hong Kong’s professional services.
To reduce the paperwork involved in trading and improve efficiency, the Government constantly looks for ways to upgrade systems for business-to-government (B2G) transactions. CEDB assumes policy responsibility for the Government Electronic Trading Services which supports the electronic submission and processing of the main trade-related documents, and has been working with relevant government departments to roll out the Trade Single Window as a one-stop electronic platform for lodging import and export trade documents with the Government for trade declaration and customs clearance purposes.