CPA Australia proposals to enhance Hong Kong’s sustainability and competitiveness

Content Summary

One of the world’s largest professional accounting bodies has today made a submission to the 2021 Hong Kong Policy Address. With economic conditions and confidence stabilising, CPA Australia’s submission calls on the Hong Kong SAR Government to focus on medium to longer-term policies.

Our submission is based on three key themes:

  1. enhancing Hong Kong’s long-term competitiveness
  2. promoting sustainable and inclusive economic growth
  3. creating more jobs and business opportunities in Hong Kong.

Mr Janssen Chan, Divisional President of CPA Australia Greater China 2021 said, “We believe that our suggestions will help create a holistic ecosystem that will strengthen Hong Kong’s long-term competitiveness, support sustainable and inclusive economic growth, and create more jobs and business opportunities.”

CPA Australia’s submission emphasises the importance of diversifying the economy and supporting a broad range of industries. “Over the past two years, Hong Kong has faced a series of unprecedented events and changes. The Government should double down on its efforts to develop non-pillar industries to encourage sustainable development and create new prospects for the people and businesses of Hong Kong,” Chan commented.

In our submission, we suggest that the SAR Government consider developing a whole of government blueprint to support the city’s reindustrialisation through advanced manufacturing.

Chan explained, “The blueprint may include support for specific manufacturing sectors to locate to Hong Kong, such as high-end technologies, biotech and trust-based manufacturing such as food safety, medical devices and certified products. The Government may also increase their support of local manufacturers through their procurement policies and stepping up their promotion of Hong Kong-manufactured items in mainland Chinese and overseas markets.”

With the commencement and expansion of several financial connectivity schemes with the Mainland and the prospect of Qianhai’s expansion, CPA Australia recommends the government build upon the SAR’s position as a leading family office hub. This will further buttress Hong Kong’s reputation as an international financial centre. Suggestions to achieve this include allowing onshore family offices to be established in Hong Kong with an increased quota for the Wealth Management Connect scheme and establishing a fast-track immigration process for family office owners and professionals.

To assist small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to keep abreast of the latest technology developments and market opportunities, we suggest that the SAR Government re-open applications for, and increase funding to, the Distance Business Programme.

The SAR Government may also consider assisting such businesses by subsidising or providing a government guarantee for SME green financing. This could assist SMEs integrate environmental, social and governance considerations into their business models.

With business and the economy recovering, it’s an appropriate time for the government to commission a comprehensive review of its current business support programs and funding. Such a review should assess the effectiveness of current programs, consider how to make such programs more accessible and identify gaps in the current suite of programs.

Competency-based training to enhance the employees’ skills is vital to facilitate the city’s new economic model. To this end, we urge the SAR Government to consider commissioning a large-scale review of the skills, training and workforce development needs of Hong Kong. Such a review should include assessments of the current skills and capabilities of the workforce, the key skills and competencies that will be in high demand over the medium- to long-term, and the potential to achieve targeted reforms in the education and training system.

Another area that CPA Australia suggests the SAR Government could prioritise is the arts and cultural sector.

“The arts and cultural industry is another sector that Hong Kong should increase its focus on. The OECD has found the sector can play an important role in attracting talent and investment, as well as creating jobs and business opportunities. The government may consider introducing measures to promote the development of Art Tech and showcasing Hong Kong’s artistic and creative achievements to locals and the world. Also, it’s worth considering allocating resources to develop Hong Kong into a top art auction hub,” Chan suggested.

Media contacts

Carmen Pan on 5318 9655 / 2202 2722 or Email: [email protected]
Iris Luo on 5517 4514 / 2202 2715 or Email: [email protected]