What could the 2017/18 HK budget hold for SMEs?

I’ll be doing a two part piece – a before and after look at the upcoming 2017/18 HK budget.  

The budget speech will be delivered on 22 Feb 2017, however unknown to most, there was a pre-amble in the form of a consultation exercise by the HK government to solicit proposals and views from the public on the direction/focus of the budget.   Searchable proposals were submitted by large accounting firms, several chambers of commerce and the HKICPA – thrilling reading material if you are interested (see the links below).   For those of you who prefer a lighter read, I found two interesting elements from the proposals urging the HK government to:

  • Implement the initiative announced in the 2016/17 budget to transform HK into a “smart city”
  • Reduce tax for both companies and individuals

According to PwC, they expect the fiscal reserves of the HKSAR government “will amount to HK$913 billion by the end of March 2017, equivalent to 23 months of total Government expenditure”.   That’s a nice amount to have for a rainy day.   There’s a lot that could be done with that kind of financial backing in our city – along from welcome tax relief and random initiatives that do not correlate with what SMEs actually need to grow, innovate and flourish, it should provide sufficient confidence to our government for bold, impactful changes to be made in areas including:

  • Banking/payments infrastructure for SME commerce
  • Attracting and retaining investment in HK
  • Incentivise local “grass-roots” innovation to encourage positive social and community impact

Let’s see what emerges later this month.


Interview with Adrian Lai on The Asian Entrepreneur

Adrian Lai is helping SMEs work smarter whilst juggling fatherhood in Hong Kong.

What’s your story?
I’m an ex-banking finance guy that jumped off the hamster wheel and left the cage. I started up a small advisory firm serving SMEs looking for smarter, more efficient ways to do business. I am now juggling all this with being a new dad, just to add a little more variety.

What excites you most about your industry?
If anything needs an enema (read revamp), it’s the accounting, compliance and commercial banking sector in Hong Kong. These three are just ripe for disruption with new technology and redefinition of client servicing.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born in Hong Kong but grew up in Australia. I visited every summer holidays in my youth and it just feels like my second home.

AdrianSmall Logo

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Hong Kong – the clash of “old school meets new school” makes people stop and ask, “Why am I still doing things the same way?” This to me, is the perfect petri-dish for cultivating an entrepreneurial spirit.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Find the thing(s) that you fear the most and you have found your master.

Who inspires you?
My fellow startups and business owners.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
My 13 month old daughter just learnt how to sign please and thank you.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Nothing – it’s all good.

How do you unwind?
Relaxed drinks, banter and cooking my own version of tapas – all with friends.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
I just went to Da Nang and it’s my new favourite. Good food, friendly people and a nice mix of resort and big city feel that caters for any mood.

Everyone in business should read this book:
The Art of War.

Shameless plug for your business:
Cornerstone HK is a trusted business partner for SMEs in Hong Kong specialising in B2C+B2B cloud solutions for retail, e-commerce and inventory/order management. Accounting/Advisory + Xero add-ons + Web Design/E-comm We leverage best-in-class Xero add-ons to streamline your operations and make running your business both fun and compliant. Focus on your business – we’ll take care of the rest.

How can people connect with you?
Find me on adrian@cornerstone.hk

Twitter handle?

This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:

CallumConnectsCallum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries. He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence. A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.

Take the ‘Key Person of Influence’ scorecard <http://www.keypersonofinfluence.com/scorecard/>

Connect with Callum here:
Get his free ‘Asia Snapshot’ report from www.callumlaing.com

Callum Laing

Callum Laing has started, built, bought and sold half a dozen businesses in a range of industries across two continents. He is a partner in the Private Equity firm Unity-Group. Co-founder and non-exec director of The Marketing Group PLC and is CEO of Key Person of Influence (Asia). He is author of ‘Progressive Partnerships’.