Incentives for Doing Business in Hong Kong

Incentives for Doing Business in Hong Kong

Hong Kong offers a range of incentives that cater to the economic objectives of the Special Administrative Region (SAR). These incentives are open to various business groups, including family offices and small enterprises, to foster robust economic growth and development within the region.

Hong Kong tailors incentives to boost targeted industries and align investment with its strategic objectives, strengthening its economy.

Incentives for family offices

Under the new scheme, a single-family office can be exempted from licensing under the Securities and Futures Ordinance (SFO) if it does not conduct business in Hong Kong; or perform any regulated activities.

The regulated activities include:

  • Dealing in securities;
  • Dealing in futures contracts;
  • Leveraged foreign exchange trading;
  • Advising on securities;
  • Advising on futures contracts;
  • Advising on corporate finance;
  • Providing automated trading services;
  • Securities margin financing;
  • Asset management;
  • Providing credit rating services.

Did You Know
Family offices are also subject to mandatory licensing.

The specifics of it will need to be determined by reference to the facts of each case, including:

  • The person is performing an occupation or a duty that requires attention; the activity involves continuity;
  • The activity is capable of making a profit; and
  • The activity was carried out to make a profit.

However, two carve-outs could exempt a family office from licensing for asset management under the SFO, where the first applies to services provided exclusively to the office’s group company regarding the group’s assets, and the second pertains to activities connected to the trust service of a registered entity under the Trust Ordinance.

Below are the new measures designed to attract family offices to Hong Kong.

Incentives and Supportive Measures for Family Offices in Hong Kong

Capital Investment Entrant Scheme (CIES)

Under this scheme, permissible assets will include equities listed in Hong Kong, debts issued by companies listed in Hong Kong, subordinated debts issued by authorized institutions, and eligible collective investment schemes. Approved applicants can reside and pursue development in Hong Kong with their spouse and dependent unmarried children.

Tax concessions

Profits tax exemption will be provided to family-owned investment holding vehicles (FIHVs) managed by single-family offices in Hong Kong. The government will also review the preferential tax regimes for funds and carried interest.

Market facilitation measures

These include the licensing requirements of the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), particularly those catering to family offices. The regulatory body has established a dedicated communication channel maintained by its licensing team for family office-related inquiries.

The Hong Kong Academy for Wealth Legacy

The government will fund the setup of a new academy under the Financial Services Development Council, offering talent development services to industry practitioners and next-generation wealth owners.

Art storage facilities at the airport


The Hong Kong Airport Authority is actively exploring storage establishment, display, and appreciation facilities for art and treasures at Hong Kong International Airport as part and parcel of the Airport City development. It will enable global family offices with capital allocation in art to benefit from the thriving art ecosystem in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong as a philanthropic center

Enhance the processing of applications for recognition of the tax exemption status of charities. The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) will devise a standard form to facilitate the submission of applications and streamline processing. The IRD will also provide further guidance for applicants to facilitate precise statements of charitable objects. For tax exemptions offered to FIHVs managed by single-family offices in Hong Kong, enhance the legislative proposal by expanding the extent of beneficial interests that a charity may hold in an FIHV.

A dedicated FamilyOfficeHK team in InvestHK

The dedicated FamilyOfficeHK team will expand its role to cover services like facilitating philanthropic endeavors of wealth owners and assisting in education-related matters.

A new Network of Family Office Service Providers      

The FamilyOfficeHK team will convene and launch a new network of family office service providers, providing a two-way channel between the government and the industry to communicate on the latest policy developments.

Source: The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region website.

Funding schemes for marketing and business development

BUD Fund

The Hong Kong government's “Dedicated Fund on Branding, Upgrading, and Domestic Sales” (BUD Fund) assists Hong Kong-based companies in capitalizing on opportunities in Mainland China and, since 2018, in the 10 ASEAN countries. Its reach further extended between 2021 and 2023 to encompass 37 economies, including those with Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (IPPAs) or Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with Hong Kong. 

The BUD Fund introduced “Easy BUD,” a simplified online application process for SMEs, reducing the application duration to approximately 30 days. This scheme offers matching funding, covering up to 50 percent of project costs with a cap of HK$100,000 (US$13,900) per application and a cumulative limit of HK$7 million (US$978,000) per company. Eligibility is limited to private companies registered under Hong Kong's Business Registration Ordinance and actively operating in the region. The BUD Fund also provides support in business matchmaking, location analysis, market entry strategy, market research, and supply chain re-engineering in Asia.

Eligible projects under Easy BUD fall into the following broad categories:

  • Design and production of promotional materials;
  • Advertising;
  • Participating in exhibitions and related expenditures;
  • Establishing and optimizing company web pages;
  • Mobile application for promotional purposes;
  • Testing and certification services; and,
  • Applying for product patent, trademark registration, or copyright protection.

SME Export Marketing Fund

Like the BUD Fund, the SME Export Marketing Fund (EMF) is a Hong Kong government initiative designed to support Hong Kong-based SMEs in expanding into international markets. The EMF aids companies in conducting "export promotion activities," encompassing participation in:

  • Exhibitions both within Hong Kong and abroad;
  • Executing business missions;
  • Engaging in diverse advertising and promotional endeavors; and, 
  • Creating or enhancing websites and mobile applications. 

Notably, these activities are primarily aimed at foreign markets. However, from April 30, 2021, to June 30, 2026, the scope has broadened to include major exhibitions targeting the Hong Kong local market, with eligibility extended to some larger enterprises.

Under the EMF, companies can receive a 50 percent reimbursement on approved expenses for these activities, capped at HK$100,000 (US$13,900) per application. The maximum funding available to each company is HK$1 million (US$128,031). Specifically for projects involving website or mobile application development or upgrades, the funding is limited to 50 percent of the total expenditure.

comprehensive list of eligible local-focused events and activities is available for reference.

Innovation and technology fund

Hong Kong’s Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF) is a government funding scheme under the Innovation and Technology Commission (ITC) that provides funding for companies for a wide range of activities related to technology and R&D.

There are a wide range of funding programs under the ITF,  broadly aimed at:

  • Supporting R&D;
  • Facilitating technology adoption;
  • Nurturing technology talent;
  • Supporting technology startups; and
  • Fostering an innovation and technology (I&T) culture.

Government funding schemes to support R&D

The ITF provides a range of funding programs aimed at encouraging local research and development (R&D). Below we have listed a sample of the R&D funding programs available (excluding university-exclusive programs).

ITF Funding Programs for R&D
Program Scope of activity Funding Eligibility
Innovation and Technology Support Programme (ITSP)


  • Industry-oriented applied R&D platform projects with potential for commercialization; and
  • Exploratory and forward-looking seed projects.
  • Up to HK$2.8 million (US$358,487) for R&D centers; up to HK$$1.4 million (US$179,244) for other applicants.
  • Maximum 24 months project duration for platform projects and 18 months for seed projects.


  • Lead applicant: R&D center or designated local public research institute.
  • A minimum of 10% industry sponsorship is required for platform projects.
Mainland-Hong Kong Joint Funding Scheme (MHKJFS)



  • Platform and collaborative R&D projects with Mainland and Hong Kong cooperation.
  • Specific project themes eligible for application are released each year (in 2023, they were biotechnology, artificial intelligence, and new materials).



  • Up to HK$8,000 (US$1,024) for projects costing less than HK$1 million (US$128,031);
  • Up to HK$14,000 (US$1,792) for projects costing between HK$1 million and HK$5 million (US$640,156); and
  • Up to HK$20,000 (US$2561) for projects costing more than HK$5 million (US$640,155).


Maximum 24 months project duration.

  • Lead applicant: R&D center or designated local public research institute.
  • Co-applicant for collaborative projects: A company incorporated in Hong Kong, an industry support organization, a trade and industry association, or a professional body with the legal capacity to enter into contracts.
  • A minimum of 10% industry sponsorship is required for platform projects; while a minimum of 50% is required for collaborative projects.
Enterprise Support Scheme (ESS)


In-house R&D work (benefit sharing of commercialized R&D results not required) Dollar-for-dollar matched funding, up to HK$10 million (US$1.28 million) per approved project.


Maximum 24 months project duration.

  • Companies incorporated in Hong Kong (must have a current business registration certificate)
  • Cannot be a government-subvented organization or a subsidiary thereof.
R&D Cash Rebate Scheme (CRS) Available for two types of applied R&D projects:
  • ITF projects: R&D projects funded by the ITF; and
  • Partnership projects: R&D projects funded entirely by local enterprises and conducted in partnership with designated local public research institutes.

For Partnership projects, the following types of work or activities are ineligible:

  • Product enhancement, customization, and related work, conventional operation, and/or business activities without scientific research content;
  • Local enterprises’ in-house R&D work; and
  • Research projects outside the science and technology fields
Cash rebate equivalent to 40% of a local enterprise’s eligible expenditure.
  • Companies incorporated in Hong Kong.
  • Cannot be a government-subvented organization or a subsidiary thereof.
Source: Innovation and Technology Fund, Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Commission

Government funding schemes for technology adoption

The technology adoption funding schemes aim to promote the adoption of technology by local companies and the public sector.

The Technology Voucher Program (TVP) is particularly popular due to its broad scope of eligibility and is particularly helpful for SMEs, who can use the funds to upgrade or launch new IT systems, for instance.

ITF Funding Programs for Technology Adoption
Program Scope of activity Funding Eligibility
Technology Voucher Program (TVP) Using technological services and solutions to improve productivity; upgrade or transform business processes.
  • Funding is provided on a 3:1 government-to-company matching basis.
  • Cumulative funding ceiling of HK$600,000 (US$76,819) per company.
  • Each company can apply for funding for up to 6 projects.
  • Projects should generally be completed within 12 months.
  • Non-listed companies registered or incorporated and registered in Hong Kong, with substantive business operations.
  • Cannot be a government-subvented organization or a subsidiary thereof.
New Industrialisation Funding Scheme (NIFS)


  • Subsidizing manufacturers to set up new smart production lines in Hong Kong.
  • All or a significant portion of the production line for which the company is applying for funding should fulfill the “smart manufacturing” criteria.
  • Funding covers expenses directly related to the establishment of the new production line in Hong Kong.
  • Funding is provided on a 1:2 government-to-company matching basis.
  • Funding ceiling of one-third of the total approved project cost, up to HK$15 million (US$1.92 million) per project.
  • Normally a maximum of 24 months project duration.



Companies incorporated in Hong Kong.
Public Sector Trial Scheme – ITF Projects (PSTS-ITF)



Completed ITF R&D projects undertaken by R&D centers and designated local public research institutes.
  • Funding of up to 50% of the actual cost of the original R&D project; and up to 100% for projects initiated by R&D centers.
  • Maximum 24 months project duration.
Lead application: R&D center or designated local public research institute; or the company owning the IP of the project deliverables.
Source: Innovation and Technology Fund, Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Commission

Government funding schemes to nurture technology talent

The ITF funding programs for nurturing technology talent seek to assist local talent in gaining useful experience and help companies recruit and train technology employees. The programs include:

ITF Funding Programs for Nurturing Technology Talent
Program Scope of activity Funding Eligibility
New Industrialisation and Technology Training Programme (NITTP)
  • Training for staff in advanced technologies, especially those related to “New Industrialisation”.
  • Both local and non-local training courses. Course providers must have two or more years of relevant experience.
  • Funding is provided on a 2:1 government-to-company matching basis.
  • Funding ceiling of HK$500,000 (US$640,156) per year.


  • Companies registered in Hong Kong.
  • Nominated employees must be Hong Kong permanent residents with relevant background/experience.
STEM Internship Scheme



  • Providing STEM students with innovation and technology (I&T)-related work experience during their studies.
  • Newly created or existing in-house internship programs of the companies, with a duration of at least 28 days offering meaningful I&T-related work.
  • The definition of I&T-related work is broad and must contain actual I&T elements (e.g. technology-related intellectual property work, digital marketing, data analysis for the manufacturing industry, etc.)
  • Allowance of HK$11,190 (US$1,433) for each student per month with effect from 1 April 2023.
  • At least 28 calendar days with a maximum of 90 days in each academic year.
  • Funding is reimbursed by the ITC.
  • All companies.
  • Both local and non-local students undergraduates and postgraduates majoring in full-time eligible STEM-related programs at designated local universities, including the campuses established in the GBA, the five government-funded R&D centers, and HKPC.
Research Talent Hub for Technology Companies Conducting R&D Activities in Hong Kong (RTH-TC)



Funding support for technology companies conducting or planning to conduct research and development (R&D) activities in Hong Kong to engage research talents to conduct R&D work.
  • Maximum monthly salary of HK$20,000 (US$2,561) for talents with a bachelor’s degree, HK$23,000 (US$2,945) for talents with a master’s degree, and HK$35,000 (US$4,481) for talents with a doctoral degree.
  • An additional HK$10,000 (US$1,280) monthly living allowance is provided for talents with doctoral degrees.
  • Maximum employment duration of 36 months.
  • Each company can apply for up to 4 talents.
  • A company must be registered or registered and incorporated in Hong Kong with substantive business operations, conducting or planning to conduct R&D activities in Hong Kong.
  • A company cannot be a government-subvented organization or a subsidiary.
  • Talent must be legally permitted to work in Hong Kong during the employment period and hold a bachelor, master, or doctoral degree from, a local university or a well-recognized non-local institution, or jointly awarded by a local and non-local university, in a STEM-related discipline.
Source: Innovation and Technology Fund, Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Commission

Government funding schemes for startups

Various Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF) programs offer direct financial support to local startups. These programs include a co-investment scheme designed to draw venture capital (VC) investment towards local startups and a university-based funding initiative aimed at assisting students and faculty in launching new businesses.

It's important to note that the Innovation and Technology Venture Fund (ITVF) specifically targets local startups and involves cooperation with select VC funds.

ITF Funding Programs for Supporting Technology Startups
Program Scope of activity Funding Eligibility
Innovation and Technology Venture Fund (ITVF)



HK$2 billion (US$256 million) fund for co-investing with selected VC funds in eligible local I&T startups.
  • Co-investment at a 1:2 ITVF-VC fund matching ratio.
  • Aggregate matching investment ceiling of HK$400 million (US$51.2 million);
  • Aggregate investment ceiling in a startup of HK$50 million (US$6.4 million);
  • Matching investment for each co-investment in a startup may constitute no more than 40% of the original total target investment amount sought, up to HK$30 million (US$3.84 million)
Target startup or its wholly-owned Hong Kong company must:
  • Have been incorporated in Hong Kong within the last seven years and have one of its offices (headquarters or regional office), main business operation, or key management or leadership team in Hong Kong;
  • Be engaged in I&T business, covering any part of the R&D or production chain in Hong Kong (must include subsidiaries, if any); and
  • Have no more than 250 employees (including in Hong Kong, Mainland China, and overseas offices) (including subsidiaries, if any).
Research, Academic and Industry Sectors One-plus Scheme (RAISe+)



  • Funding to six universities to support teams of faculty and students to start technology businesses and commercialize their R&D results (TSSSU-O).
  • Dollar-to-dollar matching funds for startups with demonstrable growth potential through securing investment from the private sector (TSSSU+).
  • The six universities are:
    • The City University of Hong Kong;
    • Hong Kong Baptist University;
    • The Chinese University of Hong Kong;
    • The Hong Kong Polytechnic University;
    • The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology; and,
    • The University of Hong Kong.
  • Annual funding of up to HK$16 million is provided for each of the six universities, split evenly between the TSSSU-O  and TSSSU+ programs.
  • Maximum of HK$1.5 million (US$2 million) for each technology startup per year for up to three years under each program.


  • Technology startups must have been registered in Hong Kong for less than two years (for TSSSU-O) or less than seven years (for TSSSU+) at the time of application.
  • The startup team may be composed of undergraduates, postgraduates or alumni, and/or professors or other faculty members serving as consultants providing R&D technical expertise and direction.
  • For TSSSU+ applications, the private investment amount secured during the matching period must be no less than the funding amount applied for.
Source: Innovation and Technology Fund, Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Commission

Fostering I&T culture

The final category of the ITF programs provides funding to support non-R&D projects that still contribute to Hong Kong’s overall I&T industry and culture.

The funds include a sponsorship scheme to support non-profits and companies in Hong Kong to engage in various activities related to I&T education and culture, as well as funding support for first-time patent applicants.

ITF Funding Programs for Fostering I&T Culture
Program Scope of activity Funding Eligibility
General Support Programme (GSP)



Support non-R&D projects that contribute to the upgrading and development of Hong Kong’s industries, the fostering of I&T culture in Hong Kong, and promoting popular science Sponsorship of at least 10% of the total project cost, up to:
  • HK$8,000 (US$1,024) for projects costing less than HK$1 million (US$128,031);
  • HK$14,000 (US$1,792) for projects costing between HK$1 million and HK$5 million (US$640,156); and
  • HK$20,000 (US$2,561) for projects costing more than HK$5 million.


Applicant must be one of the following located in Hong Kong:
  • A non-profit making trade/industry association or chamber of commerce;
  • A public body (e.g. Hong Kong Productivity Council, Vocational Training Council, etc.);
  • A charitable organization, local university, or other tertiary/post-secondary institute;
  • A District Council; or
  • A local unincorporated/incorporated company.
Patent Application Grant (PAG)



  • Funding support for local companies and inventors to patent their intellectual work.
  • Available to applications for functional patents and inventions with technology elements and susceptible to industrial application.
90% of the sum of the total direct costs of the patent application, up to HK$250,000 (US$32,008).


  • All locally incorporated companies, Hong Kong permanent residents, or Hong Kong residents are permitted to remain in Hong Kong for at least 7 years.
  • Must have no prior patent ownership in any country/territory, and must not have previously received PAG funding.
Source: Innovation and Technology Fund, Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Commission

SME Financing Guarantee Scheme

The SME Financing Guarantee Scheme, administered by the Hong Kong Mortgage Corporation Limited Insurance Limited (HKMCI), a subsidiary of the Hong Kong Mortgage Corporation Limited (HKMC), facilitates SMEs and non-listed companies in obtaining financing from approved lenders for business purposes. HKMCI offers guaranteed coverage ranging from 50 percent to 100 percent for eligible companies' credit facilities. 

Initially, the scheme offered guarantees of 50 percent, 60 percent, and 70 percent, but later expanded to include 80 percent, 90 percent, and 100 percent guarantee products, which were extended until March 2024 in Hong Kong's 2023-2024 Budget. Post-March 2024, the 50/60/70 percent guarantee products will remain available. 

Eligible entities must be:

  • Registered and operational in Hong Kong, 
  • Not engaged in lending or related businesses, 
  • Not affiliated with the lender, and not be a listed corporation. 

The permitted use of the facility, funding periods, amounts, and repayment terms of the various guarantee products are listed below.

SME Financing Guarantee Scheme
Coverage Permitted use of facility Maximum guarantee period Maximum funding facility Repayment terms
50/60/70% Guarantee Products
  • Acquiring assets to facilitate the company’s business operations or of general working capital for the company’s business operations; or
  • In certain circumstances, refinancing of facilities or facilities that were guaranteed under the SME Financing Guarantee Scheme; or
  • If applicable, for financing the Single Upfront Guarantee Fee.
5 years HK$12 million (US$1.5 million)
  • Repaid in installments and fully amortized by the end of the guarantee period; the period between each repayment of principal should not exceed 3 months.
  • The lender may allow the company to pay interest only in the first 6 months from the facility starting date upon request.
80% Guarantee Product 5 – 7 years HK$18 million (US$2.3 million)
90% Guarantee Product 5 years HKD8,000,000
  • Repaid in installments and fully amortized by the end of the guarantee Period; the period between each repayment of principal should not exceed 3 months.
  • The lender may allow the company to pay interest only in the first 12 months from the facility’s starting date upon request.
Special 100% Loan Guarantee
  • Pay wages and rent; and
  • Meet imminent needs in working capital.
10 years HKD9,000,000
  • Paid in monthly installments and fully amortized by the end of the guarantee period.
  • The lender may allow the company to pay interest only in the first 12 months from the facility’s starting date upon request.
Note: Further conditions apply. Refer to HKMC for more details.
Source: The Hong Kong Mortgage Corporation Limited

Tax incentives

Hong Kong's tax landscape is characterized by a generally low-tax environment with specific incentives tailored to different sectors. While the region does not provide extensive tax incentives for all companies, it benefits critical industries such as aviation services, financial services, and the shipping sector. Offshore funds that meet specific criteria can also be exempt from profits tax.


Investing and Doing Business in Hong Kong 2023: Opportunities in the Post-Covid Chapter

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Hong Kong has implemented a two-tier tax profits tax system, where the first HK$2 million (US$255,000) of assessable profits for qualified enterprises is taxed at a reduced rate of 8.25 percent rather than the standard 16.5 percent. This system aims to ease the tax burden on smaller businesses.




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