Convention and Exhibition Industry
67. The Government has launched the Convention and Exhibition Industry Subsidy Scheme under the AEF with a commitment of over $1 billion to provide impetus for the convention and exhibition (C&E) industry in the next year or so. In the long run, we still have great confidence in the C&E industry. We will take forward the plan to redevelop the sites of the three government towers in Wan Chai North and the Kong Wan Fire Station into C&E facilities, hotel and Grade A office. The AAHK will also invest in the construction of phase two of the AWE. These two projects in total will increase C&E space by more than 40%. As for the proposal to develop a new convention centre on the site above the Exhibition Station of the Shatin to Central Link, in view of the technical difficulties involved, the uncertainties concerning the construction period and concerns about cost-effectiveness, we have decided to use the site for other purposes.
Support for Small and Medium Enterprises
68. To facilitate small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to apply for relevant funding from various government support schemes in a quicker and easier way, we have formed the “SME ReachOut” service team to provide one-stop consultation and referral services. We plan to expand the scope of the SME Export Marketing Fund for two years to cover large-scale exhibitions organised by organisers with proven track record targeting the local market, as well as virtual exhibitions organised by the HKTDC and reputable exhibition organisers with good track record. The eligibility criteria will also be relaxed to cover non-SMEs.
69. To further encourage the professional services sectors to step up promotion of Hong Kong’s competitive edges and professional services to the Mainland cities of the GBA and overseas markets after the pandemic has stabilised, we will set aside $50 million under the Professional Services Advancement Support Scheme to subsidise major professional bodies to participate in relevant activities organised by the HKSAR Government, the HKTDC and overseas Economic and Trade Offices (ETOs).