Government Aid: Are You Missing Out on Critical Incentives?

You’ve heard of government relief measures designed to help businesses like yours through the current crisis. But digging out the details from dispersed and dry policy documents is probably the last thing your team has time for right now.

Aside from lack of time, unclear ownership within the team is another reason why many companies are not making use of valuable support schemes. Who should be in charge of scrambling for employment subsidies – your finance chief or HR director?

Our advisors in China and Hong Kong have done the research for you. They also know the ins and outs of dealing with authorities and financial institutions in Greater China, so they can brief you on:

  • critical support measures relevant to your business
  • how and where to access them

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Here’s an overview that might save you and your team some time: 

Mainland China Support Measures

There are four types of support measures worth looking into for foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs).

These are:

  • Tax breaks, e.g.:
    • Subsidised R&D costs for SMEs
    • VAT and duty exemptions for imports into special zones
    • Export tax rebates on new product categories
  • Financial support, e.g.:
    • Loan repayment extensions for struggling SMEs
    • Rental reductions
  • Social insurance breaks, e.g.:
    • Reduced/postponed social insurance contribution payments
    • Up to 50% refund of unemployment insurance premiums
  • Simplified procedures, e.g.:
    • Fast-track customs clearance for vital machinery/material imports
    • Streamlined online application for import-export licenses

Many of these policies are being updated and expanded on an ongoing basis. Some are country-wide, but most vary by city. Some are industry-specific, while others depend on your company’s social credit record and ability to avoid job cuts.

It sounds complicated because it is, but all companies (no matter how strong their balance sheet is right now) should be making use of them to shore up cash and secure a speedy recovery.

Hong Kong Support Measures

A smaller jurisdiction with a simpler tax system, Hong Kong’s list of government support measures is less vast, but no less confusing. That’s because (a) most are highly targeted funding schemes for specific business activities and (b) many are handled by institutions that you may have never heard of.

Here are some of the most useful incentives, sorted by the type of company that is eligible to apply for them:

  • All companies making MPF contributions:
    • Employment Support Scheme: Subsidy to cover up to 50% of employees’ wages if the employer avoids layoffs (subsidy amount capped at HK$9,000 per month)
  • All non-listed companies:
    • Technology Voucher Programme: Funding up to HK$600,000 for productivity-enhancing IT investments
    • Distance Business (D-Biz) Programme: Express funding of up to HK$100,000 for IT investments needed to enable remote work
  • All SMEs:
    • SME Financing Guarantee Scheme: 100% government-guaranteed loans for SMEs short on working capital
    • SME Export Marketing Fund: subsidies of up to HK$100,000 for export promotion activities, e.g. advertising outside Hong Kong
  • Companies selling to mainland China:
    • BUD-Mainland Programme: funding for branding, marketing, and operational upgrading projects that promote competitiveness in mainland China

These relief measures won’t be available forever, and those at the front of the queue will be at an advantage if things suddenly get worse. So it’s essential to apply sooner rather than later.

Our team can help you with advice and application support to make sure you’re not foregoing valuable opportunities to build up your financial resilience in these tough times.

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