Expat SMEs in Hong Kong feeling the pinch as protests continue

Published:  6 Dec at 6 PM
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Tagged: China, Hong Kong, Money
As expats in Hong Kong brace themselves for the next protest, the authorities are pinning their hopes on throwing money at the issue.

The past six months of increasingly violent protests as well as the Trump/China trade war have eaten into Hong Kong’s economy to the extent that many small and medium sector companies are facing a lack of liquidity and even bankruptcy. Last week, the government announced further stimulus measures totalling $421 million in an effort to stave off what’s beginning to seem inevitable should the protests continue.

The measures are aimed at boosting liquidity amongst the medium and small business sectors in the hope of preventing job losses and business failures. As part of the measures, SMEs will be allowed to pay taxes in instalments, and smaller firms will receive subsidies for or exemptions from their public service bills. It’s hoped the subsidies well help smaller business face the impending downturn as well as boosting the confidence of investors in general.

The stimulus package is the fourth to be put in place since the protests took over life in Hong Kong, with some HK$21 billion already aimed at the retail, transport and tourism sectors. On the same day as the new package was announced, the International Monetary Fund urged the government to deal with the long term structural issues and economic weakness including shortages of affordable housing and income inequality. The majority of expats in Hong Kong are tightening their belts and staying put for now, but uncertainty and fear of the future should China act are causing many to research other opportunities elsewhere.
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