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Hong Kong 2023-24 Budget: Highlights for employers and HR leaders

Hong Kong 2023-24 Budget: Highlights for employers and HR leaders

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A slash in profits tax, schemes to support companies' re‑domiciliation to Hong Kong, continuously tracking manpower demands and attracting applicants, and facilitating SMEs in digital transformation, are some of the measures introduced.

Hong Kong's Financial Secretary Paul Chan delivered the 2023-24 Budget at the Legislative Council at 11am on 22 February 2023.

The theme of this year's Budget is: 'Leaping Forward Steadily, Together We Bolster Prosperity under Our New Vision'.

The Secretary indicated that the city's economy is at the early recovery stage emerging from the epidemic. In the face of an internal fiscal deficit, severe external environment, intense competition and inflation, the government will take a "moderately liberal" fiscal stance this year. More than 80% of the resources involved in the budget initiatives will benefit the general public and small and medium-sized enterprises to support people in need and sustain the impetus to economic recovery in moving towards high-quality development.

Here are the key highlights for employers and HR leaders:

*All figures stated here are in HK$.


Supporting enterprises

  • Reducing profits tax for the year of assessment 2022/23 by 100%, subject to a ceiling of $6,000,
  • Providing rates concession for non‑domestic properties for the first two quarters of 2023‑24, subject to a ceiling of $1,000 per quarter for each rateable property,
  • Starting from July 2023, granting 50% rental or fee concession to eligible tenants of government premises and eligible short‑term tenancies and waivers under the Lands Department for six months until end‑2023,
  • Extending the application period of all guarantee products under the SME Financing Guarantee Scheme (SFGS) from end‑June 2023 to end‑March 2024,
  • Launching new schemes to offer fully guaranteed loans for eligible passenger transport operators and licensed travel agents, estimating a total loan guarantee amount of about $2.7bn will be involved,
  • Extending the Travel Agents Incentive Scheme, which is due to expire by end‑March 2023, for three months, and injecting $30 million into the Information Technology Development Matching Fund Scheme for Travel Agents, with the aim of encouraging the industry to undergo upgrade and transformation by making use of technology,
  • The Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTPC) will inject $400mn into its Corporate Venture Fund to help more technology start-ups with potential,
  • The HKSTPC will, through consolidating its existing Acceleration Programme and injection of an additional amount of $110mn, launch the Co-acceleration Programme in collaboration with cooperation partners to support the growth of technology start-ups with high potential into regional or global enterprises,
  • Earmarking $265mn for Cyberport to launch a dedicated incubation programme for smart living start‑ups, under which a maximum grant of $500,000 as well as targeted professional support and counselling will be provided.

Attracting enterprises

  • Attracting representative and high potential strategic enterprises from around the globe, thereby enhancing HKSAR's competitiveness and accelerating the development of industries through the Office for Attracting Strategic Enterprises (OASES), the Advisory Committee on Attracting Strategic Enterprises, and the Dedicated Teams for Attracting Businesses and Talents,
  • Introducing a mechanism to provide facilitation for companies domiciled overseas, particularly enterprises with a business focus in the Asia‑Pacific region, for re‑domiciliation to Hong Kong,
  • Optimising the use of fiscal reserves to promote the development of the economy and industries through the Hong Kong Investment Corporation Limited (HKIC) to attract enterprises and investment, and facilitate industrial co-operation between Hong Kong and its sister cities in the GBA,
  • Allocating $100mn to InvestHK over the next three years for attracting more family offices to Hong Kong.

Pooling Talent

  • continuing trawling for outside talents through the Top Talent Pass Scheme (TTPS) and the establishment of Hong Kong Talent Engage
  • the Labour and Welfare Bureau (LWB) will commence a new round of manpower projections in the middle of this year to help the Government formulate appropriate strategies to address the overall manpower demand
  • introducing a new Capital Investment Entrant Scheme.  Applicants shall make investment at a certain amount in the local asset market, excluding property.  Upon approval, they may reside and pursue development in Hong Kong

Talent Resources

  • launching a Fintech internship scheme for post secondary students, under which subsidies will be provided to participating students in Hong Kong and the GBA to help them acquire practical work experience in Fintech enterprises in Hong Kong or the wider GBA
  • extending the Pilot Programme to Enhance Talent Training for the Insurance Sector and the Asset and Wealth Management Sector for three years to nurture more talents for the industry and enhance the professional competency of practitioners
  • injecting $200 million into the Maritime and Aviation Training Fund (MATF) to support manpower training of the logistics industry, promote the development of high‑end, high value‑added and smart logistics, and encourage the industry to collaborate with tertiary institutions and professional organisations in attracting more young people to join the industry
  • launching a Maritime Services Traineeship Scheme this year to provide traineeship opportunities for young people who aspire to a career in maritime law, with a view to nurturing more home‑grown maritime lawyers
  • increasing the first‑year training places of the GBA Youth Aviation Industry Internship Programme co‑organised by the Hong Kong International Aviation Academy and Mainland institutions from 300 to 450
  • making an additional funding of $300 million to continue providing subsidies of up to $1 million for each publicly‑funded secondary school in the next three academic years for organisation of IT‑related extra‑curricular activities
  • launching a two‑year pilot scheme to provide on‑the‑job training allowance to trainees who have enrolled in part‑time construction‑related degree programmes.  It is estimated that a funding of about $100 million will be incurred
  • earmarking $7 million to partner with Hong Kong Institute of Construction to launch a two‑year "First‑hire‑then‑train" subsidy scheme, to provide on‑the‑job training allowance to trainees who have chosen to enrol in Construction Safety Officer courses

Promoting digital economy and International GreenTech and GreenFi Centre

  • setting aside $500 million for Cyberport to launch a Digital Transformation Support Pilot Programme, under which subsidies will be provided on a one-to-one matching basis to assist SMEs in applying ready-to-use basic digital solutions, thus facilitating their digitalisation
  • allocating $50 million to expedite the Web3 ecosystem development by, among other things, organising major international seminars, as well as arranging a wide array of workshops for young people.
  • accelerating the development of Hong Kong into an international centre for green technology and finance:
    • building a green technology ecosystem to attract top-notch enterprises or start-ups to set up their operations, encourage efficient interaction among industry, academia and research sectors to commercialise R&D outcomes, and boost the demand for green technology through policy support;
    • green finance application and innovation: facilitating green projects to obtain capital more conveniently and flexibly through financial innovations apart from traditional financing channels;
    • green certification and alignment with international standards;
    • training for talents;
    • enhancing the exchange and co-operation with the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) and international markets;
    • setting up a Green Technology and Finance Development Committee, inviting industry representatives from green technology, green finance and green standard certification, etc. to assist in the formulation of an action agenda;
    • organise an International GreenTech Week at the end of 2023 to pool together representatives, enterprises and investors from the green technology industries around the world.

Supporting the General Public

  • issuing electronic consumption vouchers with a total value of $5,000 to each eligible Hong Kong permanent resident and new arrival aged 18 or above in two instalments
  • reducing salaries tax and tax under personal assessment for the year of assessment 2022/23 by 100%, subject to a ceiling of $6,000
  • providing rates concession for domestic properties for the first two quarters of 2023‑24, subject to a ceiling of $1,000 per quarter for each rateable property
  • proposing to increase the basic child allowance and the additional child allowance for each child born during the year of assessment from the current $120,000 to $130,000 starting from the year of assessment 2023/24
  • extending the temporary special measures under the Public Transport Fare Subsidy Scheme for a period of six months till October 2023 to provide commuters with a subsidy amounting to one‑third of their actual monthly public transport expenses in excess of $200, subject to a maximum of $500 per month
  • providing an allowance to eligible social security recipients, equal to one half of a month of the standard rate Comprehensive Social Security Assistance payments, Old Age Allowance, Old Age Living Allowance or Disability Allowance
  • granting each eligible residential electricity account a subsidy of $1,000

Caring and Inclusion

  • setting aside $100 million to strengthen support for women's development and the related tasks, which include helping women take up different roles in the job market, providing them with training on child and elderly care, promoting work and family life balance as well as mental health, and organising sharing and learning activities
  • proposing to increase the tax deduction for the Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) voluntary contributions made by employers for their employees aged 65 or above, from the current 100% to 200% in respect of such expenditure to encourage employers to continue to hire mature employees, while helping the silver‑haired increase their retirement savings

Promoting Hong Kong

  • earmarking $100 million for attracting more mega events with significant visitor appeal and tourism promotional effect to be staged in Hong Kong
  • the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) will spend over $250 million to sustain its efforts in organising or helping promote major tourism events, including the Hong Kong Pop Culture Festival, the Hong Kong Wine and Dine Festival to be held in physical mode again for the first time since the epidemic, the Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Races, Hong Kong Cyclothon, Hong Kong Sevens and Arts Basel in Hong Kong, etc.
  • the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) will hold more than 10 major conferences and exhibitions in the coming months, and co‑organise the annual Belt and Road (B&R) Summit with the Government
  • the Government will allocate additional funding of about $200 million to the HKTB for stepping up its efforts in securing the staging of more international meetings, incentive travels, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) of various scales and types in respect of finance, innovation and technology (I&T), medicine, etc.

Images / 2023-24 Budget Live

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