Tag Archives: China

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Bogus calls related to WeChat Pay Hong Kong Limited

The following is issued on behalf of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority:
 
     The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) wishes to alert members of the public to a press release issued by WeChat Pay Hong Kong Limited relating to bogus calls. The relevant stored value facility (SVF) licensee has reported the case to the HKMA.
      
     The HKMA wishes to remind the public that anyone who has provided his or her personal information or account credentials, or who has conducted any financial transactions, in response to bogus calls, should contact the relevant SVF licensee, and report to the Police or contact the Anti-Deception Coordination Centre of the Police at 18222.

Keynote speech by SITI at seminar “How Global Start-ups Succeed in Asia through Hong Kong’s Innovation Ecosystem?” of VivaTech 2024 in Paris (English only) (with photos)

     Following is the keynote speech by the Secretary for Innovation, Technology and Industry, Professor Sun Dong, at the seminar “How Global Start-ups Succeed in Asia through Hong Kong’s Innovation Ecosystem?” of VivaTech 2024 in Paris today (May 24, Paris time):

Shirley (Special Representative for Hong Kong Economic and Trade Affairs to the European Union, Ms Shirley Yung), Silas (Regional Director, Europe, Central Asia and Israel of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), Mr Silas Chu), Chris (Director, France, Spain and Portugal of the HKTDC, Mr Chris Lo), distinguished speakers, guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good morning. Bonjour. It is my great pleasure to join you all today at VivaTech 2024, Europe’s largest tech event here in the romantic and beautiful city of Paris.

     This year marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of China-France diplomatic ties, and the Paris Olympic Games will officially begin just in two months. It makes me particularly excited to visit Paris this special year, and on this special occasion, I would like to shine a spotlight on Hong Kong and show the world how this Pearl of the Orient is transforming into an international innovation and technology (I&T) centre.

Hong Kong’s ever-growing start-up scene

     Start-ups are the engine of innovation, the source of jobs and talent, the spirit of entrepreneurship, and the future of economic growth. According to the Global Start-up Ecosystem Report 2023, Hong Kong ranks the second in the world and the first in Asia in the top 100 emerging ecosystems, and is the only Asian city in the top 10. As of 2023, the number of start-ups in Hong Kong reached about 4 300, an increase of one-third as compared to 2019. Among them, a quarter of the start-up founders are non-locals, and founders from France account for 10 per cent of them. As “Asia’s world city” with an increasingly vibrant I&T ecosystem, Hong Kong has so much to offer.

Proactive government initiatives

     Similar to the France 2030 plan, which aims to develop industrial competitiveness and future technologies, the Hong Kong SAR (Special Administrative Region) Government promulgated the Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Development Blueprint in December 2022 to establish a clear development path and systematic strategic planning for Hong Kong’s I&T development over the next five to 10 years, charting Hong Kong in moving full steam towards our vision of developing into an international I&T centre.

     To realise our grand vision, we have been adopting a multipronged approach to perfect our I&T ecosystem and promote industry development of strategic importance, including life and health technology, AI (artificial intelligence) and data science, as well as new energy and advanced manufacturing industries. We value the potential and contributions of start-ups. Let me share with you why Hong Kong is one of the best destinations for global start-ups to thrive and flourish.

Strong R&D (research and development) capability promoting global I&T collaborations

     The greatest asset of Hong Kong’s I&T development is our strong research capability. As a knowledge-based society, Hong Kong is the only city in the world housing five of the world’s top 100 universities. We are also home to two world’s top-40 medical schools. Hong Kong is an R&D powerhouse and an active promotor of global I&T collaboration. We support global start-ups with readily available sources of R&D capabilities, knowledge and talent, as well as a vibrant I&T culture and atmosphere.

     Yesterday, I got a chance to visit the renowned Institut Pasteur, which has been collaborating with the University of Hong Kong on infectious disease research projects for nearly 25 years with remarkable achievements. Yet, this is just one example among many global R&D collaborations taking place in Hong Kong. Under our flagship R&D initiative, InnoHK, a total of 29 research laboratories have been set up by 30 world-renowned universities and research institutes under two research clusters focusing on AI and robotics, and health technologies respectively, to conduct high-quality collaborative research. Our ultimate goal is to translate global innovations into values, and I believe that this is also the aspiration of many start-ups.

Comprehensive support to start-ups with a business friendly environment

     We are also committed to providing comprehensive support to start-ups at different stages of their development. Like many start-up incubators and accelerators here with us today, the two I&T flagships in Hong Kong, namely the Hong Kong Science Park and the Hong Kong Cyberport, play a vital role in nurturing and supporting start-ups in Hong Kong through various entrepreneurship schemes and incubation programmes, providing infrastructure, technical and funding support for their start-ups. For example, Science Park’s Corporate Venture Fund and Cyberport Macro Fund have altogether attracted more than HK$14.3 billion, equivalent to around 1.7 billion euros, of private investment over the years. Together with other government and private investment funds, there are multifundraising channels for start-ups.

     Funding aside, Hong Kong also offers a simple tax system with a low tax rate, a mature legal system and robust IP protection regime, world-class logistics and infrastructure, and a bilingual working culture with flexible and hard-working people. All these favourable factors create a business-friendly environment for start-ups to grow, expand and succeed in Hong Kong.

The bridge connecting East and West

     Enjoying the dual advantages under “one country, two systems” and strategic location on the doorstep of Mainland China, Hong Kong is well positioned to be the bridge connecting East and West. Its prime location puts Hong Kong within a five-hour flight of most major cities and markets in Asia and half the world’s population. In other words, setting up a business in Hong Kong gives you much more than just a single market, but an ideal gateway to the gigantic market in the Greater Bay Area, Mainland China and Asia with boundless opportunities.

     In addition to markets, a solid industry chain and supply chain are also essential for start-ups. You may wish to know that the Shenzhen-Hong Kong-Guangzhou science and technology cluster continues to rank second in the world for the fourth consecutive year in the Global Innovation Index 2023. With a stable supply of talent and materials, the prospects and synergies of the Greater Bay Area will be unlimited.

     To capitalise on Hong Kong’s I&T strength and advantages, we are moving at full steam to develop I&T infrastructure in the Hong Kong Park of Shenzhen-Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Co-operation Zone located in the Lok Ma Chau Loop, and at the same time attracting representative tech enterprises from mainland and overseas to set root or expand their business in Hong Kong.

Concluding remarks

     Ladies and gentlemen, innovation knows no boundaries and opportunities are within reach. I hope my sharing today can give you a refreshing idea of Hong Kong’s ever-growing start-up scene. In addition, I visited the “So French So Innovative” Pavilion at InnoEX, the annual flagship I&T event in Hong Kong and I was deeply impressed by the I&T showcase of the French exhibitors. There is indeed so much we can do together in AI, green, waste management, climate change and so on. We welcome start-ups and enterprises from France as well as from all over the continent to set up or expand their businesses in Hong Kong. I am sure that the Hong Kong Trade and Development Council, and our Economic and Trade Offices in Europe will be more than happy to connect you with Hong Kong. Let us join hands to embark on an I&T journey across borders.

     In closing, may I wish VivaTech another year of great success and everyone here a fruitful exchange. Merci beaucoup.

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AFCD signs contract for Pilot Project on Urban Farming in Ma On Shan Sai Sha Road Garden (with photos)

     â€‹The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) signed a contract today (May 24) with Farm66 Investment Limited for the Pilot Project on Urban Farming in Ma On Shan Sai Sha Road Garden (MOSSSRG).
      
     An AFCD spokesman said, “The Pilot Project on Urban Farming is one of the key measures of the Blueprint for the Sustainable Development of Agriculture and Fisheries. The overall concept of urban farming is to integrate agriculture into the city and provide urban dwellers with high-quality, fresh and low-carbon food, as well as green landscapes and modernised farming experience, while improving the quality of urban life and liveability.”
      
     Under the five-year pilot project, a modernised indoor crop farm with a land area of around 500 square metres will be set up in the MOSSSRG. The farm is expected to start production in the fourth quarter this year, with a view to providing the public with fresh agricultural products from farm to table with low-carbon footprints, as well as offering venues within easy reach for leisure, education and parent-child activities.
The AFCD will continue to search for suitable venues to conduct similar pilot projects.
      
     The Government will continue to implement measures related to urban farming through a multipronged approach, including introducing urban farming elements into the planning stage of New Development Areas (NDAs), making effective use of urban spaces in the Northern Metropolis and other NDAs. The Government will also set up modernised hydroponic farms and stalls on suitable rooftops of public markets. The concept of “harvest-to-sale” will first be adopted in Tin Shui Wai Public Market, which is under construction.
      
     Additionally, the Government will encourage business enterprises to develop modern urban farms, and explore the possibility of setting urban farming as one of the indicators of green buildings through working with public bodies or non-profit making organisations related to green buildings. At present, the urban farms of some projects are recognised by Building Environmental Assessment Method Plus (BEAM Plus) as innovative measures and rated. The Government will also explore officially incorporating urban farming facilities into the assessment scheme of BEAM Plus to encourage business enterprises to integrate elements of urban farming when planning property development projects, so as to blend agriculture into urban life, promote the physical and mental well-being of users of the building, and enhance Hong Kong’s development and standards in sustainable architecture.

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Speech by FS at Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and Europe (France) Economic and Trade Cooperation Conference in Paris (English only) (with photos)

     Following is the speech by the Financial Secretary, Mr Paul Chan, at the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and Europe (France) Economic and Trade Cooperation Conference in Paris, France, today (May 24, Paris time):

尊敬的王�中�長 (Governor of Guangdong Province, Mr Wang Weizhong), 盧沙野大使 (Chinese Ambassador to France, Mr Lu Shaye), �陽瑜�長 (Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture of the Macao Special Administrative Region, Ms Ao Ieong U), Mr Garault (Vice-President of the Society for the Encouragement of National Industry, Mr Gilles-Henry Garault), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     Bonjour, Mesdames et Messieurs. It gives me great pleasure to be back in Paris again, and in the springtime, no less. As some of you know, I was here last September, for Hong Kong’s well-received “Think Business, Think Hong Kong” promotion.

     Earlier this month, President Xi Jinping concluded his third, highly successful state visit to France, marking the 60th anniversary of China-France diplomatic relations.

     Our goal this week, through the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) mission, is to build on the goodwill our leaders have established, to update you on the GBA, the boundless opportunities there for France – for French business and investment.

     We are all coming from afar, but as the Chinese saying goes, “Nothing, not even mountains or oceans, can separate people with shared goals and vision.” (å¿—å�ˆè€…,ä¸�以山海為é� ).

The GBA

     The GBA is a vast consumer market. This cluster-city development boasts a per capita GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of around US$23,000, and on a purchasing power parity basis, is equivalent to around US$40,000.

     The region’s growing affluence presents a huge market for French goods. That certainly includes French wine and agricultural products. Hong Kong is a big fan of them – last year alone, we imported some 13 million bottles of French wine.

     The GBA and its 11 constituent cities are blessed with regional and global connectivity, counting seven airports that connect to 230 destinations and serve 220 million passengers a year. Half of the world’s population is within five hours’ flight from our airport. 

     The Hong Kong International Airport, in particular, has been the world’s busiest cargo airport for 13 of the past 14 years. The airport’s Three-runway System will be completed this year. That will double our cargo volume to about 10 million tonnes a year.

     The GBA is also well served by high-speed rail and road networks, seamlessly connecting the cities in the region. From Hong Kong, you will reach Guangzhou in 45 minutes, and Shenzhen in just 15 minutes.

     More than affluence and high connectivity, the GBA is a leader in innovation and technology (I&T). The Shenzhen-Hong Kong-Guangzhou science and technology cluster has been ranked second, globally, for the past four years by the World Intellectual Property Organization.

Hong Kong’s opportunities

     Mesdames et Messieurs, ladies and gentlemen, Hong Kong is a core city in the GBA. Thanks to the “one country, two systems” principle, Hong Kong is the GBA’s international entry point, the ideal base for French companies looking to tap into the region’s vast opportunities, the best platform to build your Mainland and Asia business.

     Through Hong Kong, you enjoy convenient and sometimes even priority access to the Mainland market, while taking full advantage of our international character under “two systems”. That includes our long-standing common law practice; the free flow of capital, goods, people and information; a low and simple tax regime; a freely convertible currency pegged to the US dollar, and business practices aligned with the best international standards.

     The rule of law is well tested and respected in Hong Kong. Our judiciary exercises powers independently, with nine non-permanent judges from the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia serving at Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal.

     Let me add that Hong Kong ranks favourably in the World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index, just two places behind France, but ahead of the United States.

     Hong Kong also offers world-class professional services. For example, Hong Kong hosts around 1 500 foreign lawyers from 31 jurisdictions, and 73 foreign law firms from 19 jurisdictions. Our business and people-to-people connections are rich and extensive throughout the Chinese Mainland, the Asian region and well beyond.

     For French businesses, Hong Kong uniquely stands out in a few areas: as an international financial centre, an innovation and technology hub, a transnational supply-chain management hub, and a leader in green and sustainable development.

International financial centre

     Hong Kong has long been one of the world’s leading international financial centres (IFCs). More than 70 of the top 100 global banks and seven of the world’s top 10 insurance companies operate in our city. Our stock market has a capitalisation of about 4 trillion euros, 11 times of our GDP. 

     And I would highlight one unique feature that distinguishes us from other IFCs, i.e. our mutual-market access programmes with the Mainland, or what we call the “Connect Schemes”. The “Connect Schemes” is a trusted avenue for international investors to access the Mainland’s capital market. For instance, over 70 per cent of foreign holdings of China’s A shares were acquired through the Stock Connect. And around two-thirds of the trading of Mainland bonds by international investors were conducted through the Bond Connect.

     Indeed, French companies which come to Hong Kong for listing may access both international and Mainland capital.

     Our venture-capital and private-equity sectors are also thriving. Last year, assets under management in private equity totalled about 200 billion euros, second in Asia only after the Mainland. French companies at different stages of development will find the funding they need to support their business growth.

     Hong Kong is the world’s largest offshore Renminbi (RMB) business hub, and offers a multitude of RMB-denominated investment and risk-management products. French companies can come to Hong Kong to raise funding in RMB to support their business growth on the Mainland or invest in Hong Kong their RMB holdings from trade receipts.

I&T hub

     Under the National 14th Five-Year Plan and the GBA Outline Development Plan, Hong Kong is positioned as an international innovation and technology hub of the GBA. Our scientific research capabilities are excellent, with five of our universities ranked among the global top 100, two of our medical schools among the world’s top 40. Hong Kong is also home to numerous world-class scholars and research institutes.

     Take the research clusters on health sciences and AI (artificial intelligence) robotics for example. 29 those centres or labs are established in Hong Kong in collaboration with world-class universities around the world. 

     Meanwhile, we are developing a Science and Technology Innovation Co-operation Zone jointly with Shenzhen on our boundary area. The park’s first batch of buildings and labs are expected to open at the end of this year. And you are welcome to join us. 

Green and sustainable hub

     As an international green tech and green finance centre, Hong Kong is connecting global green funds and green projects in our part of the world.

     We are Asia’s leader in green and sustainable finance. Last year, green bonds arranged in Hong Kong accounted for one-third of the entire Asian market. Hong Kong also actively participates in international green standard setting, aligns our green taxonomies with international, including European, standards, and devotes resources to nurture green talent to support green development in the region.

Welcome to Hong Kong

     Mesdames et Messieurs, ladies and gentlemen, our doors and arms, are wide open for business and talent from France and from around the world.

     That includes enterprises in such fields as AI and data science, life and health sciences, fintech, advanced manufacturing, new energy and new materials. We can offer tailor-made incentive packages as well as co-investment for the right projects.

     We are also welcoming talent from all over the world. Our Top Talent Pass Scheme, launched in December 2022, and other talent programmes, are making a decided difference.

     The response to our talent initiatives has been overwhelming, with more than 290 000 applications received to date.

     We have approved 180 000 of them and around 120 000 people have already arrived in Hong Kong.

     Hong Kong has always been a melting pot of cultures and people, East and West. We are home to over 10 000 French citizens and some 340 French companies. There is a French international school in Hong Kong, too. The French community are helping to build Hong Kong’s flourishing future. No less important, they have long added French flair to our arts and culture, food and beverage, fashion and design – and all the joie de vivre that goes with them.

     The business of pleasure is everywhere you look in Hong Kong. Some 200 Michelin-recommended restaurants are brimming with East and West culinary fare. You can walk to our seaside paths and country parks from the very heart of our skyscraper city. And walking in our city is a safe activity. Hong Kong is one of the safest metropolitan cities in the world.

     You will need to see for yourself, ladies and gentlemen, and if I may show you the following video to give you a fresh taste of it all – of Hong Kong, Asia’s world city.

     That’s Hong Kong, ladies and gentlemen: dynamic and welcoming, for business and investment, and for the many pleasures of life. I look forward to seeing you, soon, in Hong Kong. Merci beaucoup. Thank you.

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CHP investigates confirmed Mpox case

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) said today (May 24) that it is investigating a confirmed Mpox (also known as Monkeypox) case, and urged the public to heighten vigilance and avoid close physical contact with persons suspected of contracting Mpox. Meanwhile, high-risk target groups are advised to receive Mpox vaccination.

     The case involves a 27-year-old male patient with good past health. He had developed skin rash since May 19 and visited a general practitioner on the same day. He attended Princess Margaret Hospital yesterday (May 23) and was admitted on the same day. He is now in stable condition.

     According to the patient, he had no travel history during the incubation period. He had high-risk contacts during his visit to Cloakroom Sauna, a recreational premises on Observatory Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, during the incubation period. An initial investigation revealed that no epidemiological linkages between this case and other confirmed cases recorded in Hong Kong earlier have been found so far. The CHP is continuing its epidemiological investigations of the case and will report the case to the World Health Organization.

     The CHP appeals again to high-risk target groups to receive Mpox vaccination with a view to lowering the risk of infection or the possibility of having more severe symptoms after infection. Persons who experience Mpox symptoms (including rashes, fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, exhaustion, muscle pain, and severe headaches) or suspect themselves of being infected are advised to seek medical attention and receive treatment at once, and they should not engage in activities with others during which other people may have contact with their skin rash or body fluids. Members of the public should maintain good personal and hand hygiene to prevent virus transmission or infection through contact. They should also avoid close physical contact with persons or animals suspected of infection.

     The CHP had earlier set up an Mpox telephone hotline (2125 2373). The hotline operates from Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays) from 9am to 5pm, which enables those who suspect or are concerned they have had high-risk contact with confirmed patients, in particular men who have sex with men or those who have sexual practices with strangers, to make enquiries and receive relevant health advice. The CHP appeals to the public who have visited the above-mentioned recreational premises within the past three weeks, and those who suspect they have had high-risk contact with confirmed patients, to call the Mpox telephone hotline as soon as possible.

     The DH provides vaccination service for high-risk groups of MPox. The following high-risk target groups can receive Mpox vaccination on a voluntary basis:
 

  1. Individuals with high-risk sexual practices, e.g. having multiple sexual partners, sex workers, or having a history of sexually transmitted infection within the past 12 months;
  2. Healthcare workers responsible for caring of patients with confirmed Mpox;
  3. Laboratory personnel working with zoonotic pox viruses; and
  4. Animal care personnel with high risk of exposure in case of Mpox occurrence in animals in Hong Kong.

     High-risk target groups can receive Mpox walk-in vaccinations at all of the DH’s Social Hygiene Service Clinics (SocHS) (namely Chai Wan SocHS, Wan Chai Male SocHS, Wan Chai Female SocHS, Yau Ma Tei Male SocHS, Yau Ma Tei Female SocHS, Yung Fung Shee SocHS, Fanling SocHS and Tuen Mun SocHS). Further information of the clinics including their locations is available at www.dh.gov.hk/english/tele/tele_chc/tele_chc_shcf.html and www.dh.gov.hk/english/tele/tele_chc/tele_chc_shcm.html.

     Meanwhile, the DH’s Kowloon Bay Integrated Treatment Centre and Yau Ma Tei Integrated Treatment Centre, and the Hospital Authority’s Special Medical Clinics at Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Princess Margaret Hospital will also provide Mpox vaccination services for their clients.

     â€‹For more details, please visit the CHP’s page on Mpox. read more