The Policy Address 2000

C. Support for Small and Medium Enterprises

44. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have always been a pillar of Hong Kong's economy. At present, there are over 290 000 SMEs in Hong Kong, accounting for more than 98% of all local enterprises. They employ more than 1.39 million people, which is about 60% of private sector employees. Over the past few years, the SAR Government has been actively supporting the SMEs and we will take the opportunity to strengthen the status of the Small and Medium Enterprises Committee and to widen its representation when appointing members for a new term of office soon. The Government's intention is to help SMEs to solve different problems at different stages of their development. We will explore possible new measures under the themes of "helping to start a new business", "helping to build a new business" and "helping to expand a business". I hope that the SME Committee will enhance communication with business organisations and SMEs, and put forward practical recommendations to me within six months.

45. In addition to establishing support measures, we will also assist with resources. Although the Special Finance Scheme for Small and Medium Enterprises has been closed to new applications, we anticipate that about $2 billion of the funding previously committed can be made available to provide further support for SMEs.

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