The Hong Kong government is planning to announce subsidies for airfares and hotels to help revive tourism in a city that’s been roiled by protests the past few months, local newspaper HK01 reported. The handouts will include subsidies of HKD120 ($15.30) per air ticket and HKD100-a-night for hotels, subject to specific conditions, according to the report, which cited unidentified people. Hong Kong Financial Secretary Paul Chan is due to hold a briefing at 4 p.m. local time to outline initiatives to support businesses. The anti-government protests that have weighed on airlines, tourism and other industries have pushed Hong Kong into recession, according to Chief Executive Carrie Lam. Airlines operating in the city last month urged the government to introduce polities to offset damage to their businesses. Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. has been one of the most high-profile casualties, warning last Friday that its earnings will weaken this half.
Best weekend for home sales since April
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s plan to relax mortgage rules for first-time buyers appears to have already spurred sentiment, with the city recording its best weekend for home sales since April. The 10 biggest housing estates tracked by Centaline Property Agency Ltd. recorded 20 sales over the weekend, more than three times the weekend before. That’s despite violent protests that have rocked the former British colony now since June. Secondary home transaction volumes have dropped since demonstrations against the now-withdrawn extradition bill began, while prices have slipped about 5%, data from Centaline show. “The government’s decision to relax the loan-to-value ratio may help first-time buyers and upgraders who were previously only able to buy new flats because developers could offer financial benefits,” said Joseph Tsang, chairman of Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. for Hong Kong. “With this change, buyers will shift to the secondary market, which offers plenty of potential stock and lower property prices.”
Businesses still interested in HK, according to gov’t
The numbers of companies in Hong Kong from overseas and the mainland, including start-ups, has continued to grow, according to two recent surveys published this week by the Hong Kong government. One of the surveys revealed that the number of business operations in Hong Kong with parent companies overseas and in the Chinese mainland has increased by 9.9% to 9,040 over the figure of 2017. The other survey found that there were 3,184 start-ups operating in major public and private co-work spaces and incubators in Hong Kong, up 42.8% from 2,229 in 2017. These start-ups employed over 12,400 persons, an increase of 97.4% over the 2017 figure.