Hong Kong 2003
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Trade and Industrial Support Organisations

Hong Kong Trade Development Council

The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC), a statutory body established in 1966, is responsible for promoting and expanding Hong Kong's external trade in goods and services. With a global network of more than 40 offices in major business centres around the world, the TDC helps its customers, mainly local SMEs, develop marketing opportunities, trade contacts, market knowledge and competitive skills. It also seeks to project and uphold a positive image of Hong Kong as the international trade platform in Asia. To this end, it organised more than 350 promotional events in and outside Hong Kong in 2003.

Among its promotional events in 2003, the TDC organised 18 international trade fairs (seven of which were the biggest in the region), three public exhibitions and two special fairs for SMEs and CEPA. These events attracted more than 15 500 exhibitors and over 1.2 million visitors, including about 150 000 from overseas. The TDC also organised participation by Hong Kong companies in major trade events around the world.

In its product and services promotions, the TDC placed particular emphasis on the Mainland. Apart from treating the Mainland as a fast growing market, the TDC also promoted Hong Kong as a professional services centre, trade services platform and partner for Mainland businesses seeking global opportunities as well as for overseas firms targeting the Mainland market. It also emphasised the combined strengths of Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta area, which overseas manufacturers can tap into for locating their production facilities in the Mainland.

The TDC sought to enhance and promote the competitive advantages of Hong Kong's SMEs through a wide range of business matching and information support services, as well as more than 140 business training courses and workshops for SMEs in 2003. Its internet trade portal provided a cyber marketplace for comprehensive trade information, e-commerce facilities and other value-added services, most of which were available free of charge. The portal was significantly enhanced with the launch of a multimedia broadcast platform to provide timely market information in concise audio and video clips, as well as portal interfaces for non-English speaking overseas buyers.

In addition, the TDC maintained a global databank of about 620 000 business contacts, which was useful to users world-wide for the purposes of sourcing and finding business partners. It also produced more than 100 research publications, an online product catalogue, 15 trade magazines and numerous supplements.

The TDC sought to expand its global network and strengthen the advocacy for Hong Kong through high-level business seminars in the world's business capitals, roadshows, speaking engagements at international events, global advertising campaigns in the world's top business and trade publications, and its online business newspaper Hong Kong Trader (which was sent electronically to over 230 000 senior corporate executives and decision-makers around the world). The TDC serviced three high-level bilateral business committees to help foster stronger economic ties between Hong Kong and the United States, the European Union and Japan. To facilitate partnership and cooperation between Hong Kong SMEs and their overseas counterparts, the TDC also maintained close liaison with nearly 30 Hong Kong Business Associations around the world and the global federation of these business associations, i.e. the Federation of Hong Kong Business Associations Worldwide which connected over 9 000 SMEs that have close links with Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (ECIC) was created by statute in 1966 to provide export credit insurance facilities for Hong Kong exporters of goods and services against non-payment risks arising from commercial and political events. The corporation is wholly owned by the Government, which also guarantees its maximum contingent liability, currently standing at $12.5 billion.

The ECIC aims at encouraging and supporting export trade through the provision of professional and customer-oriented services. It provides a wide range of insurance facilities to Hong Kong exporters of goods and services for payments on credit terms. The Comprehensive Cover Policy, which covers exports, re-exports and external trade business for credit terms up to 180 days, is the most commonly used insurance policy. Tailor-made policies and endorsements are also available to cater for the specific needs of exporters in different sectors.

The corporation's total insured business in 2003 amounted to $29 billion, representing an increase of 5 per cent over the previous corresponding period. Gross premium income grew by 4 per cent to $141 million. Cash claims payments decreased by 18 per cent on 2002 to $42 million.

During the year, the corporation continued to strengthen its support to the exporting community, especially the SMEs. It worked closely with various trade associations and institutions in organising workshops and seminars to enhance exporters' understanding of credit management. The insurance policy was generally accepted by banks as useful collateral in granting export financing to exporters, especially the SMEs.

During the SARS outbreak, the corporation introduced a series of initiatives to help exporters tide over the difficult times. These measures included the 'Free Credit Check' service on overseas buyers from March to September, and the refund of annual policy fees received during 2002-03, which totalled $3.81 million, to the policy holders. In addition, the corporation devoted extra resources to help exporters capture the opportunities arising from CEPA and integration with the Pearl River Delta area.

On the international front, the corporation continued to maintain close cooperation with members of the International Union of Credit and Investment Insurers (Berne Union) through visits, meetings and workshops.

Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation

The Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTPC) was established in May 2001 to offer one-stop infrastructural support services to technology-based companies and activities in a synergistic manner. It is a statutory body formed by merging the former Hong Kong Industrial Estates Corporation, Hong Kong Industrial Technology Centre Corporation and Provisional Hong Kong Science Park Company Ltd. It offers a comprehensive range of services to cater for the needs of industry at various stages. These services range from nurturing technology start-ups through the incubation programme and providing premises and services in the Science Park for applied research and development activities to the provision of land and premises in the industrial estates for production purposes.

The Science Park, being developed by the HKSTPC at Pak Shek Kok, will provide a total area of 22 hectares. Built under the concept of clustering, it will provide an effective working environment and support services to facilitate collaboration and synergy among its tenants and ultimately enhance Hong Kong's long-term economic success. The four clusters are electronics, information technology and telecommunications, biotechnology, and precision engineering. Phase 1 of the Science Park was officially opened in June 2002.

The HKSTPC operates three industrial estates with 214 hectares of land, in total. Developed land is provided at cost to companies with new or improved technology and processes that cannot operate in multi-storey buildings. The industrial estates have helped broaden the industry base and upgrade the technology level of Hong Kong. The industrial estates in Tai Po and Yuen Long are practically full while the one in Tseung Kwan O is half-full.

Through its business incubation programme, the HKSTPC nurtures technology-based start-up companies by providing low-cost accommodation as well as management, marketing, financial and professional business services in the critical initial years of these companies.

Hong Kong Productivity Council

The Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC) promotes excellence in productivity to enhance the value-added content of products and services.

In view of the rapid changes in recent years in the international environment, restructuring in the local industry scene and in southern China, and the resultant challenges to its mission, the HKPC commissioned a consultancy study in June 2001 on its role, management and operation. Pursuant to the consultancy study, HKPC has repositioned its service focus to provide integrated support to innovation and growth-oriented Hong Kong firms across the value chain. Its principal sectoral focus is on manufacturing, particularly in Hong Kong's foundation industries, and related service activities. The main geographical focus is Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta.

Other Trade and Industrial Organisations

The local business community has a strong and well-established culture in forming trade and industrial associations to represent their interests. The Federation of Hong Kong Industries, the Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce and the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce are among the oldest and the most influential trade and industrial associations in Hong Kong. There are also numerous other associations, representing specific sectors or interests. In addition, there are various overseas chambers of commerce representing the interests of businesses from, for example, Australia, Canada, India, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The Federation of Hong Kong Industries is a statutory body established in 1960 to promote and foster the interests of Hong Kong's industrial and business communities. It has more than 3 000 member companies. Major services include the issuing of certificates of origin, organisation of overseas study missions, promotion and endorsement of products with the Hong Kong Quality Mark, and the provision of English Language Skills Assessment Tests. The federation categorises its members into 25 groups covering major industries and services. It also organises the annual Young Industrialist Awards of Hongkong and the consumer product design category of the Hong Kong Awards for Industry.

The Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong (CMA), established in 1934, is a member of the International Chamber of Commerce and has a membership of nearly 3 700. Services provided include the issue of certificates of origin and the organisation of industrial and trade promotion activities. It runs the Testing and Certification Laboratories which provide technical back-up services, including materials, consumer product and environmental testing, pre-shipment inspection, and technical consultancy services. Since 1989, the CMA has been the organiser of the machinery and equipment design award category of the Hong Kong Awards for Industry.

The Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce is the oldest business association in Hong Kong. Founded in 1861, it has around 4 000 corporate members. It issues certificates of origin and is the local issuing authority for the International Association Temporarie Admission Carnets. It also organises trade missions. The chamber is represented on many official advisory committees/bodies. It founded both the Hong Kong Article Numbering Association and the Hong Kong Coalition of Service Industries. The chamber also sponsors the Hong Kong Committee of the Pacific Basin Economic Council.

Established in 1900, the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce has over 6 000 members. Services provided include issuing certificates of origin, providing Electronic Trading Access Service, organising trade delegations, and promoting business information exchange. The chamber maintains close contacts with trade organisations in the Mainland and world-wide.

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