Small and Medium Enterprises
55. SMEs have always been a key
part of our economy, representing 98 per cent of
all business establishments in
and employing 1.3 million people.
To help SMEs secure loans, expand access to
markets outside Hong Kong, upgrade human resources and
enhance their overall competitiveness, the Government
introduced four SME funding schemes between late 2001
and early 2002. These
schemes have been well-received.
As at the end of February this year, the Trade
and Industry Department had approved over 93 000
applications, and the resulting loans and grants have
benefited more than 40 000 SMEs.
The provision for the four schemes will be
depleted by the middle of this year.
The SME Committee has
completed a review of the schemes.
I have accepted its recommendation and will seek
approval from the Finance Committee of this Council to
provide additional funding of $300 million to the SME
Export Marketing Fund and the SME Development Fund.
I will also transfer $200 million from the $1
billion SME Loan Guarantee Scheme to the two funds,
bringing the total additional funding to $500 million.
Separately, we propose to reduce the assumed
default rate under the scheme in order to raise the
aggregate amount of guarantees.
These measures will extend the funds and the
scheme to 2007, so that more SMEs can benefit.