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Jan retail sales up 0.9%

The value of total retail sales in January, provisionally estimated at $36.5 billion, rose 0.9% compared with the same month in 2023, the Census & Statistics Department announced today.   After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the provisional estimate represents a 1.2% year-on-year decrease.   Of the total retail sales value in January, online sales accounted for 6.5%. Provisionally estimated at $2.4 billion, the value of this segment went down by 20.9% compared with a year earlier.   Noting that retail sales tend to show greater volatility in the first two months of a year due to the timing of the Lunar New Year, the department said the year-on-year comparison of the figures might have been affected to a certain extent.   The value of sales of jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts increased 25.2% compared with January 2023.   Increases were also recorded in the sales of other consumer goods not elsewhere classified (up 7

New investment scheme outlined

The Government today announced details of the new Capital Investment Entrant Scheme (CIES), which it aims to officially launch and invite applications for in mid-2024.


At a press briefing this afternoon, Secretary for Financial Services & the Treasury Christopher Hui said the new scheme will help strengthen the development of the asset and wealth management, financial and related professional service sectors in Hong Kong, and bring more business opportunities and high-quality job prospects to all segments of the industry’s service chain.


The new scheme will accept applications from eligible persons aged 18 or above, including foreign nationals, Chinese nationals who have obtained permanent resident status in a foreign country, Macao Special Administrative Region residents and Chinese residents of Taiwan. 


An applicant must demonstrate that he or she has been absolutely beneficially entitled to net assets of not less than HK$30 million throughout the two years preceding application. 


He or she must invest a minimum of $30 million in permissible investment assets, including a minimum of $27 million in assets such as equities, debt securities, certificates of deposit, subordinated debt, eligible collective investment schemes, limited partnership funds or non-residential real estate, and $3 million that will be invested in a new CIES investment portfolio. 


The bureau explained that the new portfolio will be set up and managed by the Hong Kong Investment Corporation to make investments in companies or projects with a Hong Kong nexus, with a view to supporting the development of innovation and technology industries and other strategic industries that are beneficial to the long-term development of the city's economy.


Responding to questions on why a tech portfolio is included, Mr Hui stressed it is very much in line with the new scheme’s overall objective of benefiting Hong Kong’s real economy.


“If you look at the Policy Address and the Budget, I think one of the key emphases of ours is to make Hong Kong (an) innovation hub,” he said. “That is why, by including that, we believe and also consider that it will be beneficial to the real economy of Hong Kong. That is number one.”


While the new scheme requests a minimum investment of $30 million, compared to $10 million in the previous scheme, Mr Hui said the new scheme should be compared to other similar schemes in the market right now that are on the same timeline.


“Ours is rather competitive in terms of the threshold and also in terms of the general offering that we try to include in the overall portfolio.


“So all in all, we are confident that this scheme will be attractive to people who are interested in pursuing it.”


Upon successful application, an applicant may bring his or her dependants, including a spouse and unmarried dependent children aged under 18 years, to Hong Kong. Permission to stay will normally be granted for not more than two years. 


After the first two years, they may apply for an extension of stay of not more than three years, and may subsequently apply for further extensions of not more than three years upon the expiry of each three-year period. 


Upon a period of continuous ordinary residence in Hong Kong of not less than seven years, they may apply to become Hong Kong permanent residents.

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