Speech at Panel on Commerce and Industry

Convention and exhibition industry in Hong Kong

Provision of financial assistance

Given the long lead time for organizing C&E events,Mr CHAN Chun-ying called on the Administration to consider further extending the validity of the Convention and Exhibition Industry Subsidy Scheme (“the Subsidy Scheme”) from 30 June 2022 to end of 2022, so as to facilitate early and timely planning of events by the industry.

USCED responded that the Administration would keep in view the Coronavirus Disease 2019 pandemic situation in Hong Kong, the latest trend and development of the C&E industry in the region and worldwide, as well as the utilization of the funding of the Subsidy Scheme. The Administration would also maintain close communication with the industry and review the implementation of the Subsidy Scheme as and when appropriate.

Mr CHAN Chun-ying called on the Administration to enhance the scope of the subsidies, by increasing the subsidy level (currently at 50%) of the participation fees as well as extending the scope to C&E events organized by other private organizers.

USCED advised that the Administration had launched other support measures to enterprises, such as the Employment Support Scheme under the Anti-epidemic Fund, as well as the Special 100% Guarantee Product under the SME Financing Guarantee Scheme to help enterprises obtain commercial loans. As regards the financial assistance to exhibitors of exhibitions organized by HKTDC, USCED advised that in addition to the Subsidy Scheme, eligible exhibitors could also apply in tandem for funding support under the SME Export Marketing Fund to cover their participation fees on a matching basis.

Promotion of online exhibitions

Mr CHAN Chun-ying enquired about the potential of virtual conventions and exhibitions to replace traditional physical events. USCED responded that according to the study published by the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry in January 2021, 64% of the respondents considered that the pandemic confirmed the value of face-to-face C&E events, while only 14% of the respondents considered that virtual exhibitions had the potential to replace traditional physical exhibitions.

SME Financing Guarantee Scheme – Special 100% Guarantee Product

Mr CHAN Chun-ying declared that the bank he worked for was a participating lending institution (“PLI”) under the SME Financing Guarantee Scheme (“SFGS”).

Justification for the additional guarantee commitment and increase in estimated expenditure

Mr CHAN Chun-ying supported the Administration’s proposal for further extension of the application period of the Special 100% Guarantee Product under SFGS for six months from 31 December 2021 to 30 June 2022 to allow an extra window of six months for SMEs to obtain commercial financing to tide over the economic downturn. Mr CHAN expressed concern whether the additional guarantee commitment of $35 billion required for the proposed extension of the application period would suffice to meet the financing needs of the scheme until the end of June 2022. He enquired how the figure of $35 billion was arrived at.

USCED advised that while it would be difficult to forecast Hong Kong’s pandemic and economic situation up to June 2022, the additional guarantee commitment of $35 billion was projected based on the recent trend of loan application approval for the Special 100% Guarantee Product.