Hong Kong’s 2024-25 Budget sets course for recovery and high-quality development

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Paul Chan

28th February 2024 – (Hong Kong) Hong Kong’s Financial Secretary, Mr. Paul Chan, presented the 2024-25 Budget, emphasising the importance of advancing with confidence and seizing opportunities to promote high-quality development amidst a complex and ever-changing international environment. Recognising the need for strenuous efforts to strengthen the momentum of economic recovery, the Budget introduces a range of measures aimed at bolstering confidence and creating favourable conditions for growth.

To attract enterprises, capital, and talent, the Budget proposes various initiatives, including extending the application period for the SME Financing Guarantee Scheme’s 80% and 90% Guarantee Products for two years. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will receive assistance through these measures. Additionally, all demand-side management measures for residential properties, such as the Special Stamp Duty and the Buyer Stamp Duty, will be immediately canceled to stimulate the property market.

The Budget also focuses on establishing Hong Kong as a premier destination for business and tourism. It suggests hosting more mega events and thematic annual conferences, utilising Victoria Harbour for monthly pyrotechnic and drone shows, and enhancing the iconic “A Symphony of Lights” show. The promotion of immersive and in-depth tourism experiences and local group tours is also highlighted.

Green development and the digital economy remain key priorities in the Budget. Measures will be implemented to guide industries towards high-quality development, including positioning Hong Kong as a multinational supply chain management centre and studying the establishment of a trade window to provide one-stop services for enterprises. Efforts to attract Mainland manufacturing enterprises to set up offices in Hong Kong as offshore trading headquarters will be intensified.

Maintaining the sustainability of public finances is a key determination of the government. A comprehensive fiscal consolidation program is being implemented to gradually achieve fiscal balance and maintain prudent levels of fiscal reserves. The program focuses on expenditure cuts, while pragmatic revenue measures have also been included, taking into account the burden on businesses and the public.

Mr. Chan concluded that Hong Kong’s unique positioning and distinctive functions make it irreplaceable as the country strives for high-quality development and the building of a great modern nation. Hong Kong’s global advantage and the China advantage converge in a single economy, offering unparalleled opportunities. By charting the right direction and pressing ahead, Hong Kong will thrive and prosper, akin to a dragon soaring far and high in the boundless sky.