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China Updates – 1 December 2022

  • Hong Kong poised to become a health tech hub in Greater Bay Area: since 2018, more than 100 healthcare enterprises have listed in Hong Kong, raising over HKD 100 billion. 

  • New digital transformation guidelines for SMEs in mainland China seek to optimise SMEs’ capacity to transform digitally.

Hong Kong Poised to Become a Health Tech Hub in Greater Bay Area

Jointly organised by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, the second Asia Summit on Global Health was held in Hong Kong on 10-11 November 2022 in a hybrid format.

The two-day summit was themed “Charting a New Course in Healthcare through Collaboration”, which brought together leading healthcare professionals and industry players, innovative start-ups, investors, business leaders, and other stakeholders to engage in a dynamic dialogue and exchange of expert insights into the latest developments.

Speaking at the summit, Mr Nicolas Aguzin, CEO of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX) observed that the healthcare sector was very exciting and brimming with growth opportunities. He added that Hong Kong could be poised to become a health technology hub in the Greater Bay Area, citing its established and integral role in the raising of capital for healthcare innovation.

To attract strategic healthcare enterprises to list or have a secondary listing in Hong Kong, Chapter 18A was added to the HKEX’s main board listing rules in 2018, allowing biotech companies with no revenue or profits to be listed.

Since 2018, more than 100 healthcare enterprises have listed in Hong Kong, raising over HKD 100 billion. Hong Kong has emerged as the world’s second-biggest fundraising hub for biotech companies within the space of four years, which is an incredible feat.


New Digital Transformation Guidelines for SMEs in mainland China

In order to promote the acceleration of digitalisation and encourage SMEs to enhance their core digital competencies, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology published a circular with a set of guidelines applicable to SMEs, digital transformation service providers and local authorities at all levels on 8 November.

The guidelines seek to optimise SMEs’ capacity to transform digitally and encourage them to adopt a systematic and efficient approach towards digital transformation so that they are better positioned to provide digital products and services.

Policy measures set out in the circular include:

🔵Organising regular digital training programmes for business managers and front-line employees to deepen their digital transformation awareness and improve their digital literacy and skills;

🔵Providing guidance on how to strengthen cross-departmental communication and collaboration to drive digital transformation synergies;

🔵Automating finance, office, human resources and other management processes;

🔵Using SaaS-based computer-aided design, computer-aided engineering and other programmes to boost R&D and design efficiency;

🔵Streamlining policies on digital transformation targeted at SMEs;

🔵Lowering the threshold of digitalisation for SMEs by increasing the level of financial support.

Financial Relief for Micro and Small Businesses in Mainland China

To alleviate the financial burden on pandemic-stricken micro and small enterprises, the People’s Bank of China, with five other departments, have jointly released a circular on 14 November to further extend the deadline for principal and interest repayments on loans due in the fourth quarter of this year to 30 June 2023.

According to the circular, normal interest will be accrued, penalty interest will be waived for loan deferment, and loan extension applications submitted with incomplete documentation will be considered with leniency, as long as the necessary paperwork is provided afterwards.



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