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Hong Kong Cinema Day 2023 kicks off Happy Hong Kong

  • By: Hanzhi YANG、Yiyang LIEdited by: Noah Tsang、Ming Min AW YONG
  • 2023-04-30

There was a larger crowd than usual yesterday at the Festival Grand Cinema due to the Hong Kong Cinema Day 2023. Groups of families and young couples could be seen queueing up to get their movie tickets.  On Hong Kong Cinema Day 2023, one movie ticket would cost consumers only HK$30 to watch. This applies to all types of movies in Hong Kong cinemas, whether it's 4DX, IMAX or DBOX. Carol Chan, 33, said, "I walked by the cinema after work on the 27th and found so many tickets left to buy that I bought two, just in time to take the opportunity to go on a date with my boyfriend". Tickets for the Hong Kong Cinema Day 2023, which is one of Hong Kong's "Happy Hong Kong" events, were on sale after 11 am on April 27 at all cinema ticketing websites.  A maximum of four tickets are allowed per person per transaction. Online ticket purchase is subject to the ticket purchase restriction of each theatre. Agens Li, 28, was travelling from Shenzhen to Hong Kong during the Labour Day holiday said, "I bought my movie tickets on the app on the 27th. The movie, The First Exorcist of the Church, was not released on the mainland". She added, "It's really lucky to see the movie on the holiday at such a good price." There are no senior citizen, child and student discounts. All other coupons, movie coupons, membership and bank discounts will not apply on the same day. Organized by the Hong Kong Theatre Association and sponsored by the Film Development Fund, Hong Kong Cinema Day 2023 aims to encourage audiences to experience the joy of returning to the theatre and accelerate the economic recovery of the industry. The "Happy Hong Kong" series, which was unveiled to the …


Tolls for two Hong Kong cross-harbour tunnels will increase to HK$30 from August 2, charges for Western Tunnel will decrease to HK$60

  • By: Kei Tung LAMEdited by: Ming Min AW YONG
  • 2023-03-22

To alleviate long-standing traffic flow issues, the Hong Kong government proposed a new toll plan for three cross-harbour tunnels in two stages.  Chan Sai-hung, the Secretary for Transport and Logistics, said that under the first stage, starting from August 2, tolls for private cars using the Western Harbour Crossing will be lowered from HK$75 to HK$60. Also, the tolls for the Cross-Harbour Tunnel and the Eastern Harbour Crossing will be increased from HK$20 to HK$30 and from HK$25 to HK$30, respectively.  Taxi fares will be standardized at HK$25 per trip for all three tunnels to discourage empty taxis from concentrating on lower-priced return trips through the Cross-Harbour and Eastern Harbour Crossings. "The lower toll rate for the Western Harbour Tunnel would encourage me to use it more often," Chan, a private car driver, said. He said that the higher toll rates for the other tunnels could help distribute traffic evenly across all three tunnels. However, not all drivers are happy with the proposed changes. Sze, a private car driver and a frequent user of the Eastern Harbour Tunnel, said that the toll increase would add to his monthly expenses. "The new charges are just a disguised increase in fares," he said. Under the proposed second stage, which is expected to start latest by the end of this year, the government plans to implement different charging schemes for different time periods.  During "non-peak hours", 7 pm to 7.30 am,  from Monday to Saturday nights, the three tunnels will charge a flat rate of HK$20 for private cars. In the morning and evening "peak hours", the fee is HK$60 for the Western Harbour Tunnel and HK$40 for the Cross-Harbour and Eastern Harbour Crossings.  On Sundays and public holidays, private cars will be charged at a flat rate of HK$20 to HK$25, depending …


Hong Kong’s unemployment rate drops to 3.3% on the path to full recovery

  • By: Man TSE、Kin Hou POONEdited by: Le Ha NGUYEN、Rex Cheuk、Yixin Gao
  • 2023-03-17

Hong Kong’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate edged lower to 3.3%  in the rolling period from December 2022 to February 2023, amid the full reopening aroused the labour market, according to the data released by the Census and Statistics Department.  Hong Kong’s unemployment rate has shown a tenth-month decreasing trend since April 2022. The latest figure marked a 0.1 percent decrease from the prior period between last November and this January.  The number of seasonally adjusted unemployed persons declined by around 2,700 to 115,700, while the underemployment rate dropped by 0.1 percentage point to 1.3%, with the number of underemployed people decreasing by 4,200 to 47,900. "The labour market conditions should improve further in the near term alongside the continued return of economic activities to normalcy and the rebound in inbound tourism," said Chris Sun Yuk-han, the Secretary for Labor and Welfare.  The combined unemployment rate of the retail, accommodation and food services sectors slightly fell by 0.2 percentage point to 4.3%. The unemployment rate of the retail sector declined by 0.3 percentage point to 3.9%, while the food and beverage service activities sector edged down by 0.1 percentage point to 4.8%.  The unemployment rates of many other sectors, particularly the transportation sector and the arts, entertainment and recreation sector, also accordingly decreased. Hong Kong has been resuming normalcy with the full border reopening with the Mainland. Beijing announced last month that mainland tourists can enter Hong Kong freely without quota limitations and reservations. Hong Kong also lifted the mask mandate, the last Covid restriction in the public area in Hong Kong, on March 1. “After cancelling different Covid prevention policies, more and more people are willing to consume and work outside, so the retail and catering industries are recovering,” said Yuen Wai-kee, the Assistant Professor of the Department of Economics …


HUTCHMED records US$360.8 million annual loss by slow returns on drug investments

  • By: Nga Ying LAU、Ho Yi CHEUNGEdited by: Lok Yi CHU、Bella Ding
  • 2023-02-28

HUTCHMED (China) Ltd (0013), a Hong Kong-based biopharmaceutical company, released its 2022 full-year results today, recording a net loss of US$360.8 million (about HK$2.8 billion) amid slow returns on drug investment. The operating loss climbed 24.2% to US$407.7 million (about HK$3.2 billion) affected by the increased input in research and development, driving the net loss up US$166.2 million (about HK$1.3 billion), or 85 %, year-over-year. “Our oncology and immunology operations have not generated profits and have operated at a net loss, as creating potential global first-in-class or best-in-class drug candidates requires a significant investment of resources over a prolonged period of time,” said Simon To Chi-keung, the Chairman of HUTCHMED, in the full-year results. Clinical studies and the development process of drugs were hampered in 2022 by hospital closures, travel restrictions and shipping difficulties resulting from COVID-19, according to the full-year results. The company’s revenue advanced by 19.7%, or US$70.3 million (about HK$548.3 million), to US$426.4 million (about HK$3.33 billion) in 2022, benefiting primarily from the sales of marketed products in its main businesses of oncology and immunology. It was then offset by the surge in research and development expenses of US$87.8 million (about HK$684.8 million) within the year. HUTCHMED announced its annual results after the market closed. Its stock price, increased by 2.4%, closed at HK$ 25.85 Tuesday. However, HUTCHMED’s stock price dropped 15% in February.  “The significant return would not appear until the final stage of the drug development, which is concerned by shareholders,” said Alvin Cheung Chi-wai, the stock commentator at Prudential Brokerage Limited. HUTCHMED is developing another six anti-tumour drugs in early clinical trials and plans to enter registrational trials in 2023 and early 2024, while the company also reached a US$1.1 billion (about HK$8.6 billion) deal with Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical to license its colon cancer …


2023-24 Budget: Tourism industry calls for sufficient financial support to revitalise businesses

  • By: Man TSEEdited by: Bella Ding、Zimo ZHONG、Yuchen LI
  • 2023-02-24

Hong Kong is set to spend HK$350 million in organizing international events to attract tourists and offers fully guaranteed loans to revive tourism businesses.  The funds are primarily for promoting major tourism events, including the first-ever Hong Kong Pop Culture Festival and the Hong Kong Wine and Dine Festival, Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po said on Wednesday. The Hong Kong Tourism Board will spend another HK$200 million hosting more international meetings, incentive travels, conventions and exhibitions in the fields of finance, innovation and technology and medicine.  “Hong Kong has long been a world‑renowned events capital. Organisation of mega events, international conferences and exhibitions is especially crucial to drawing high value-added visitors,” Chan said.  This is the first Budget under the current-term government’s administration and after the resumption of quarantine-free travel with the Mainland and the international community. Hello Hong Kong campaign, launched on Feb. 2, will distribute 500,000 free air tickets and various cash vouchers to attract worldwide tourists.  Li Wai-pong, the operation manager of Hong Kong Travel Bus Company said that Hong Kong may not have the capacity to cater for visitors due to the labour and resource shortage in the tourism industry. “It will cost me around HK$90,000 each bus to repair the travel buses before operation,” said Li, “No transport operator could afford it without the financial help from the government, especially after a three-year business suspension.” The government announced the fully guaranteed loans worthing HK$2.7 billion for transport operators and travel agents on Wednesday, to support cross-boundary passenger transport and the tourism industry. Li said that this scheme’s effectiveness in supporting companies’ reopening is limited, since many companies can no longer afford new debts. The deficiency of manpower also exists among travel agencies.  “Only 10% of our leaving bus drivers are willing to come back to …


2023-24 Budget: Government lowers decade-old ad valorem stamp duty for ordinary first-home buyers

  • By: Yuhe WANGEdited by: Bella Ding、Jiaxing Li、Rex Cheuk
  • 2023-02-23

The Hong Kong government announced the adjustment in the value band of ad valorem stamp duty to relieve the burden on ordinary families to purchase residential houses. Under the updated tax band, the threshold for the HK$100 stamp duty will increase from HK$2 million to HK$3 million while the stamp duty for houses worth between HK$6.6 million and HK$9 million will decrease from 3.75% to 3%. Only first-time ordinary buyers could be benefited. “It is anticipated that this measure will benefit 37,000 buyers,” said Paul Chan Mo-po, the Financial Secretary of Hong Kong.  Chong Tai-leung, an economics professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said that the new policy would improve the environment of the property market in 2023.  The government announced the detainment of 12 residential sites for the 2023/24 land sale programme, providing more purchasing opportunities. However, Chong said the hundred-dollar stamp duty is only for units under HK$3 million, while the stamp duty rate for flats over HK$10 million remains unchanged.  “The policy may only stimulate the property market under HK$3 million, which are usually the nano flats and remote village houses,” said Chong.  Starter Homes Pilot Scheme for Hong Kong Residents, included in the 2020-2021 Budget, intends to relieve the house-purchasing burden of ordinary families, mainly by providing low-price flats. Kenneth Chiu Hung-wan, the regional sales director of Centaline Property Agency Limited said the demand for starter homes will show gradual growth this year under the adjusted stamp duty policy.  Chiu expects the local property market will rebound by 5% to 10% this year after the city’s finance Chief announced a 15% decline in flat prices last year. The current demand-side management measures for residential properties, curbing external demand and reducing investment demand, remain unchanged.  The Hong Kong Authorities announced the full border reopening starting …


2023-24 Budget: Hong Kong government distribute consumption vouchers to consolidate economic recovery

  • By: Ho Yi CHEUNGEdited by: Bella Ding、Lok Yi CHU
  • 2023-02-23

  The government announced a "moderately liberal" fiscal stance in the following financial year, issuing consumption vouchers to promote private consumption and stimulate economic growth during the post-pandemic era. Hong Kong permanent residents and new arrivals aged 18 or above, as the first section, will receive HK$5,000 electronic consumption vouchers, half of the amount received last year, while persons who live and study in Hong Kong through admission schemes as the second section will receive the voucher at half value. "As economic activity regains momentum and after considering the fiscal deficit, we will continue the consumer voucher scheme to support the retail industry and consolidate the economic recovery,” said Paul Chan Mo-po, the Financial Secretary of Hong Kong at the press conference. The government has implemented the consumption voucher scheme with HK$5,000 and HK$10,000 to over 6 million eligible citizens of the first category respectively to boost domestic consumption in the last two years. Hong Kong’s private consumption expenditure in the fourth quarter of 2022 reached HK$514.3 billion with a year-on-year increase of 1.9%, according to the Census and Statistics Department.  Leung Chak-tim, the owner of Quarter Bar, expected that consumer vouchers cannot stimulate the business of the food and beverage sector as his bar has similar figures on revenue before and after the distribution of vouchers. “There are more policies as barriers stifling revenue growth during COVID-19, like social distancing,” said Leung. The volume index of retail sales for food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco recorded an overall decline of 4.2% in 2022, according to the Census and Statistics Department. “Rental expenditure is 30% of our total cost. If we are unable to increase the revenue, we prefer the government to implement subsidies for restaurants and shops as a way to cut costs,” added Leung. Tsang Mei-kuen, a housewife, said …


Budget 2023: Hong Kong introduces new investment entrant scheme to attract talent

  • By: Junzhe JIANG、Yuhan WANG、Xiya RUIEdited by: Kei Tung LAM
  • 2023-02-22

Hong Kong’s Financial Secretary, Paul Chan Mo-po plans to attract capital investors to settle in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong government will introduce the Capital Investment Entrant Scheme, said Chan in his budget speech this morning.  Applicants who invest HK$10 million in Hong Kong’s asset market are eligible to apply for the scheme, but investing in property is excluded, Chan said. The Hong Kong government will establish a new committee to promote the policy and assist the applicants to start and expand their business in Hong Kong. According to IMD World Talent Ranking 2021, Hong Kong dropped from 18th to 26th in attracting and retaining talent, while Singapore rose to 15th. The scheme may have little impact to attract investors because Hong Kong lacks competition, compared to other popular immigration countries, Chung Man-kit, an economics professor from Hong Kong Baptist University, said.  “Many people believe Singapore is the greatest alternative for immigration rather than Hong Kong because of the suspension of the previous investment immigration program,” Liu Yajun, 43,  a former human resources director from the mainland who plans to migrate to Hong Kong through the Capital Investment Entrant Scheme.  Liu plans to invest HK$ 10 million to purchase financial products in Hong Kong. However, Liu said she may not spend a lot of time in Hong Kong. “I may migrate to the UK after obtaining Hong Kong permanent residence,” Liu said. “Not only me, but most of my friends also use Hong Kong's investment scheme as a springboard to apply for foreign status,” Liu added.  According to the Census and Statistics Department, Hong Kong has lost around 140,000 workers in the past two years. Chung, the economics professor, said Hong Kong has big drain because of lack of local development. Chung said the Hong Kong government should learn lessons …


Hong Kong’s unemployment rate drops in 9 months trend

  • By: Yuchen LI、Yuhe WANGEdited by: Bella Ding、Rex Cheuk、Man TSE
  • 2023-02-17

Hong Kong’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate edged lower from 3.5%  in the period from October to December 2022 to 3.4%  between December 2022 and January 2023, recording the ninth consecutive improvement from last year.   The underemployment rate dropped 0.1 percentage points to 1.4% from November 2022 to January, with the number of the underemployed persons decreasing by 3,200 to 52,100, while the number of unemployed decreased by 7,600 to 118,400. The unemployment rate of the retail sector and the food and beverage sectors declined by 0.4 and 0.1 percentage points to 4.2% and 4.9% respectively. The unemployment rates of other sectors line lined in general. Hong Kong's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has kept a steady downward trend since  May 2022 as the city recovers from the epidemic alongside border reopening between Hong Kong and China, said Chris Sun Yuk-han, the Secretary for Labor and Welfare.  “The unemployment and underemployment situation continued to improve,” said Sun. Amid the fifth wave of COVID-19 pandemic in early 2022, retail, accommodation and food service was the most affected industry, with its unemployment rate hitting 10% in the period of February to April 2022, according to the Census and Statistics Department. Vera Yuen Wing-han, an economics lecturer at the University of Hong Kong, said that Hong Kong's service industry had to shut down extensively before border opening as the consumption level was low. Moreover, Hong Kong's local labour market has been troubled for a long time by the shortage of labour, especially in the service industry, Yuen added. “The recruitment advertisements hang all the time but few people apply for the vacancies,” Roy Chan, the human resource manager of 616 Catering Management Limited said.  The staff shortage in the catering industry is a common phenomenon especially for the full-time staff. “We prefer the full-time staff …


Hong Kong stock market plunges as Sino-US tension rises

  • By: Yixin Gao、Kin Hou POONEdited by: Bella Ding、Mei Ching LEE、Zimo ZHONG
  • 2023-02-06

Hong Kong stocks slumped on Monday amid growing concerns over the spy balloon incident between China and the US and the bet on Chinese full border reopening. The Hang Seng Index opened 311 points lower this morning and dropped 2.1% to 21,222 at the close of Monday trading with a HK$136.02 billion turnover. The Hang Seng Technology Index went down by 3.7%. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index dipped by 2.7%. A US military fighter jet shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon on Saturday, while the Chinese government said it was a stray civilian airship blown off course. “The Hang Seng Index had been rising since November last year, once up over 8,000 points. Therefore, the market is sensitive to adverse news. Friday's incident about China's ‘spy balloon’ made investors feel uneasy, leading to a fall in today’s stock market,” said Sam Chi-yung, Strategist at Patrons Securities limited.  Bilibili(09626) decreased by 5.4% to HK$186.6. Meituan(03690) dropped 5% to HK$164.1. Tencent(00700) slid 2.1% to HK$376.8. Southbound Stock Connect trading funds, however, bucked the trend, buying a net of nearly HK$2 billion for the day. The Chinese authorities announced on Feb. 3 that mainland China would fully reopen the borders with Hong Kong and Macau from today. The travel and tourism industry performed a 0.5% increase under the overall negative performance of the stock market, according to AASTOCK. Feiyang Group(01901) increased by 10.1% to HK$1.31. Guangdong Nan Yue Logistics Company Limited(03399) went up 5.5% to HK$1.15. Global MasterMind Securities Limited(08063) rose 4.6% to HK$0.068. “There will be more opportunities for both personal and corporate business travel. With relatively weak business operating dynamics in the previous three years affected by COVID-19, the industry should see a more pronounced upturn in the future,” said Harris Wan Kong-sing, Vice President of iFast Global Market.