120. The third pillar industry is business and professional services. The National 12th Five-Year Plan emphasises domestic demand expansion, as well as upgrading and restructuring. Vice-Premier Li Keqiang also stressed last August during his visit to Hong Kong that the Central Government supported the stable growth, upgrading and restructuring of Hong Kong enterprises engaging in processing trade in the Mainland. The policy initiatives include maintaining a stable policy on processing trade, establishing a sound mechanism to facilitate the domestic sales of processing trade, and encouraging Hong Kong enterprises engaging in processing trade to upgrade and restructure. To assist Hong Kong enterprises in capturing the opportunities arising from the National 12th Five-Year Plan in a more focused manner, the Chief Executive proposed in his Policy Address the setting up of a dedicated fund of $1 billion. The fund aims to help Hong Kong enterprises tap the Mainland market by restructuring and upgrading their operations, developing their brands and expanding domestic sales in the Mainland. We shall seek funding approval from this Council in the first half of this year.
121. The National 12th Five-Year Plan proposes lifting the share of the value added of the service sector in the Mainland’s GDP by four percentage points in five years, equivalent to Hong Kong’s GDP in one year. This will provide development opportunity of massive value for Hong Kong, being a service-oriented economy, and in particular service industry operators who wish to tap the Mainland market.
122. In this regard, the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) provides a suitable platform for Hong Kong enterprises and professionals to gain preferential market access to the Mainland. Under the framework of CEPA, the Government will maintain close liaison with the Mainland and the industries, and continue to encourage mutual recognition of professional qualifications and facilitate Hong Kong professionals’ practice and business start-ups in the Mainland, etc. All these efforts will serve to help meet the target of basically achieving liberalisation of trade in services between the Mainland and Hong Kong towards the end of the National 12th Five-Year Plan period.
123. Mainland enterprises can enhance their strength in tapping overseas markets by taking advantage of Hong Kong’s mature service industry and rich international business experiences. Likewise, overseas companies can also invest in the Mainland market by making use of the business and professional services Hong Kong provides. We shall continue to work closely with the Mainland and actively complement the accelerated implementation of the policy of encouraging Mainland enterprises to go global, bringing into full play Hong Kong’s strengths in various services sectors, including financial services, trading, legal services, accounting, logistics and advisory services.
124. Meanwhile, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) will step up its efforts to go global jointly with both Mainland and Hong Kong enterprises. Together they will search for merger and acquisition and investment opportunities overseas, providing a win-win situation for all. To this end, the HKTDC plans to organise investment study tours and tours for co-operation on branding, and hold its “Lifestyle Expo” in various overseas cities. In addition, Invest Hong Kong will strengthen its publicity and promotional efforts in a number of Mainland cities to brief more Mainland enterprises on Hong Kong’s business edge, and highlight the territory’s role as a platform for Mainland companies to grow their business internationally.