2022 HK policy address speech – Pro property and pro industrial

Key points of the policy speech are as follows:

a) all out attracting talent to HK – a must do given the loss of 140k population in the past 2-3 years, this is contained in divider a) below;

b) more drive for family office hub as well as other small measures of business support see divider b);

c) housing bad policy continues – i) plundering private market share with every rising PRH/HOS supply, resulting in every higher private home prices and ever more public housing slaves – what a missed opportunity! ii) displacing brownfields into new built industrial – likely insufficient vs demand; iii) private supply low, but development process shortening. see divider c);

d) major speeding up of infrastructure build out – mostly roads and rails, very positive and lots of opportunities opening up for the smart property investor see divider d).

In summary – talent will not come unless we lift the lockdowns, but otherwise by and large a pro property speech with lots of bright spots, but sadly will not help affordability of housing, which is unsurprising given how entrenched the public-housing vested interest groups is!

below are extracts of the speech, emphasis are mine, with odd comments thrown in:

=================================================a) Talent=================================================

Attract Enterprises, Investment and Talents to Enhance Competitiveness

26. …new institutional setups and implement an array of new initiatives targeted at attracting enterprises, investment and talents:

establish the Office for Attracting Strategic Enterprises (OASES), led by the Financial Secretary, for attracting strategic enterprises …offering them special facilitation measures and one-stop services;

establish the Talents Service Unit, led by the Chief Secretary…formulating strategies to recruit talents;

set up Dedicated Teams for Attracting Businesses and Talents …reach out to target enterprises and talents and persuade them to pursue development in Hong Kong;

set aside $30 billion from the Future Fund to establish the Co-Investment Fund for attracting enterprises to set up operations in Hong Kong and investing in their business;

launch the Top Talent Pass Scheme;

enhance existing talent admission schemes; and

upon becoming permanent residents, apply for a refund of the extra stamp duty paid for purchasing residential property in Hong Kong.

27. The OASES will:

1. draw up a list of target enterprises …to reach out to and carry out negotiations with the enterprises;

2. measures covering aspects such as land, tax and financing that are applicable exclusively to target enterprises, and …tailor-made plans to facilitate the setting up in Hong Kong; and

3. provide the employees …one-stop facilitation services in areas such as visa application and education arrangement for their children.

Trawl for Talents

29. Over the past two years, the local workforce shrank by about 140 000. … We will:

1. launch the Top Talent Pass Scheme for a period of two years. Eligible talents will include individuals whose annual salary reached HK$2.5 million or above in the past year, and individuals graduated from the world’s top 100 universities with at least three years of work experience over the past five years. …two-year pass …not subject to any quota. Individuals who graduated from the world’s top 100 universities in the past five years and have yet to fulfil the work experience requirement will also be eligible, subject to an annual quota of 10 000;

2. streamline the General Employment Policy (GEP) and the Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals (ASMTP), vacancies under the 13 professions in the Talent List with annual salary of HK$2 million or above, employers are not required to provide proof to substantiate their difficulties in local recruitment;

3. suspend the annual quota under the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme (QMAS) for a period of two years;

4. relax the Immigration Arrangements for Non-local Graduates (IANG) by extending the limit of stay from one year to two years …expand to cover the GBA campus of a Hong Kong university on a pilot basis for a period of two years.

5. enhance the Technology Talent Admission Scheme (TechTAS) by lifting the requirement for technology firms to employ additional local employees;

6. extend the limit of stay of employment visas … will be valid for a maximum period of three years; and

7. refund the extra stamp duty …become a permanent resident …can apply for a refund of the Buyer’s Stamp Duty and the New Residential Stamp Duty paid for the first residential property purchased which they still own, while the Ad Valorem Stamp Duty at Scale 2 rates is still payable such that the overall stamp duty charged will be on par with that charged on first-time home buyers who are ordinary permanent residents.

30. waive the requirement of applying for an employment visa for more visitors participating in short-term activities in Hong Kong. …will expanding to more categories.

==========================================b) Business Freebies===============================================

International Financial Centre

37. …strengthen asset and risk management – …to offer tax concession for eligible family offices. The target is attracting no less than 200 family offices to establish or expand their operations in Hong Kong by end-2025.

45. support the convention and exhibition (C&E) industry …new $1.4 billion scheme …to subsidise more than 200 exhibitions to be staged in Hong Kong over three years.

46. To provide further support for SMEs, we will:

extend concessions of government fees and charges –reduce 75% of water and sewage charges for non-domestic accounts for eight months from 1 December 2022 to 31 July 2023, subject to a monthly ceiling of $20,000 and $12,500 respectively per household. …provide 75% rental or fee concessions …tenants of government premises and eligible short-term tenancies and waivers under the Lands Department for six months from 1 January 2023 to 30 June 2023.

=========================================c) Housing Madness Continues========================================

63. The Steering Committee on Land and Housing Supply and the Task Force on Public Housing Projects …submitted …reports. set the following key strategies and targets:

1. introduce the new Light Public Housing (LPH), with about 30 000 units to be built in the coming five years; [ed: only bureaucrats know how to create more complex structures over already bewildering complicated infrastructure]

2. increase public housing production by about 50% in the coming five years (from 2023-24 to 2027-28);

3. cap the waiting time for PRH immediately. …6 years and shorten it to about 4.5 years in four years’ time (i.e. in 2026-27);

4. saleable area of all subsidised sale flats completed from 2026-27 onward will be no less than 26 square metres [ed: public housing becoming ever more luxurious and ever larger – no longer a safety net];

Private Housing Supply

66. …the demand for private housing in the next 10 years will be 129 000 units. …providing no less than 72 000 residential units in the next five years. [ed: private ownership is now an after thought in the bureaucratic housing steam roller]

69. …plan to make available land in Yuen Long and Hung Shui Kiu for development of multi-storey industrial buildings from next year, with lease conditions requiring a certain portion of floor area to be set aside for leasing to the affected brownfield operators below market rent.[ed: supply will be much less than displaced brown field site GFA by far, good for industrial property]

70. Tseung Kwan O (TKO) Area …provide 50 000 residential units with the first population intake in 2030 at the earliest. [ed: not a pleasant district – ultra high density dormitory town]

71. To substantially compress the time required for land production, we will:

1. streamline statutory procedures – …bill to amend the Town Planning Ordinance, the Land Resumption Ordinance, the Foreshore and Sea-bed (Reclamations) Ordinance, the Roads (Works, Use and Compensation) Ordinance and the Railways Ordinance, as well as amendment to the Schedules to the EIA Ordinance …the time required …reduced from at least 6 years to 4 years, …large-scale projects from 13 years to 7 years, of which the time for the EIA process will be compressed to within 18 to 24 months;

2. …charging land premium at standard rates for redevelopment of industrial buildings. …extend this approach, [from] only industrial buildings and in-situ land exchange applications in NDAs, to cover agricultural land in the New Territories located outside NDAs to compress relevant workflow; [ed: will speed up industrial revitalisation speed]

3. …lowering the compulsory sale application thresholds for private buildings aged 50 or above but below 70 from 80% to 70% of ownership, and further to 60% for those aged 70 or above. For industrial buildings in non-industrial zoning, the threshold will be lowered to 70% of ownership for those aged 30 years or above; [ed: great for industrial, bad for minority private ownership rights]

==============================================d) Infra Galore================================================

Drive Development by Transport Infrastructure

76. The six major transport infrastructure projects are:

1. Northern Metropolis Highway – It will facilitate east-west connectivity in the New Territories North between Tin Shui Wai in the west and Kwu Tung North in the east via San Tin;

2. Shatin Bypass – connecting Tai Po and Kowloon West …relieve traffic pressure on Tolo Highway;

3. TKO-Yau Tong Tunnel – …third road tunnel at TKO [for] TKO Area 137;

4. Hong Kong-Shenzhen Western Rail Link – Hung Shui Kiu with Qianhai [ed: long shelved but now back on track];

5. Central Rail Link – …12th railway line will connect Kam Tin in Yuen Long with Kowloon Tong via Kwai Chung, alleviating pressure on the carrying capacity of the Tuen Ma Line; and

6. TKO Line Southern Extension –TKO Line southwards to TKO Area 137,.

77. …Kwu Tung Station of the Northern Link will be commissioned in 2027, …the Tung Chung Line Extension, Oyster Bay Station and Tuen Mun South Extension commencing next year.

78. …projects under planning, including Route 11, Tsing Yi-Lantau Link and Tuen Mun Bypass, as well as improvements to Lion Rock Tunnel. 


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