Continuing to promote Hong Kong's unique role in connecting European companies to Mainland and Asian markets and the vast business opportunities in Hong Kong under the Belt and Road Initiative, the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, Brussels (HKETO, Brussels) held the Dongzhi business seminar and networking reception in Wassenaar, The Hague in the Netherlands, on 13 December 2017.
Co-organised by HKETO, Brussels with the Netherlands Hong Kong Business Association (NHKBA), the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) and Invest Hong Kong (InvestHK), the Dongzhi business seminar has become an important annual event where speakers from Hong Kong and the Netherlands update Dutch companies on the latest developments and business opportunities in Hong Kong.
After a brief introduction by Chairman of the NHKBA, Mr Hans Poulis, Deputy Representative of HKETO, Brussels, Miss Fiona Chau, told seminar participants in her welcome speech that Hong Kong continued to thrive 20 years after the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Hong Kong would continue to enhance competitiveness and connectivity. A full range of proposals outlined in the Chief Executive's Policy Address announced in October this year would further enhance Hong Kong as an ideal place for companies to expand their businesses. One measure to be introduced was the lowering of the company profits tax from 16.5% to 8.25% for the first HK$ 2 million of profits, greatly reducing the tax burden on companies, especially small and medium enterprises and start-ups. Enhanced tax deduction for local research and development expenditure would also be introduced.
"The tax measures are part and parcel of our government's strategy to promote Hong Kong as a preferred investment destination and boost innovation and technology development in Hong Kong. We expect to see exciting developments in the years to come, especially in the areas of biomedical, robotics, artificial intelligence and smart city solutions," Miss Chau said.
She continued to brief the participants that Hong Kong stands to play a major role in the Belt and Road Initiative and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area development, adding that the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme would make it easier for overseas talents to come to Hong Kong to explore all these opportunities.
Senior Investment Promotion Executive, InvestHK, Ms Paula Kant, explained why Hong Kong was a crucial piece in the sales jigsaw puzzle of Dutch companies wanting to grow their business in Asia, and how InvestHK could help them.
Director (UK, Ireland and the Benelux) of the HKTDC, Mr David Marsden, encouraged companies to participate in trade fairs in Hong Kong, which he called ideal markets for selling to Asia and the world.
At the seminar, other speakers included Ms Mariëlla de Koning, Global Chief Marketing Officer of Randstad cum Vice-Chairman of the NHKBA; Mr Etienne Hendrickx, Director of MosquitNo which manufactures insect repellent using nanotechnology and opened an office in Hong Kong in 2015; Mr Bernard F Scheffens, Chief Executive Officer of WSS Asia which provides waste management solutions for Hong Kong; and Mr Rob Westerhof, Chairman of Rotterdam football club Sparta which in 2015 rebranded a Hong Kong club as Sparta Rotterdam Mutual Football Club and now competes in the Hong Kong First Division.