HKTDC Launches HK$120 Million SME Assistance Package

The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) will launch a HK$120 million assistance package to help Hong Kong companies during the current financial turmoil. The package includes an incentive programme to bring more new trade buyers to the HKTDC's international trade fairs in Hong Kong. It also provides subsidies to Hong Kong exhibitors participating in these trade shows to assist them in strengthening their marketing efforts.

The special initiatives include:

1. Trade buyers' incentive programme

Working with airlines and hotels, the HKTDC will offer various subsidised packages to bring increased numbers of trade buyers to the more than 30 international trade fairs organised by the Council in Hong Kong.

The initiative, which begins in January 2009, represents a HK$80 million investment by the HKTDC and targets buyers from emerging markets such as Russia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, Southeast Asia and the Chinese mainland.

2. Subsidies to all local exhibitors at HKTDC trade fairs in Hong Kong

Each Hong Kong company participating in a HKTDC trade fair in Hong Kong next year will receive a HK$2, 000 cash coupon, irrespective of the company's scale of participation.

The coupons can be redeemed for a wide range of HKTDC services, including additional facilities for booths at trade fairs, online promotions and advertisements in product magazines, promotions to overseas and mainland markets, practical workshops and training courses. The cash subsidy will help Hong Kong companies, especially SMEs, strengthen their marketing efforts in order to reach out to more potential buyers and customers.

About 20,000 Hong Kong companies are expected to benefit from the subsidy, which represents a HK$40 million investment on the part of the HKTDC.

3. Special offers to help SMEs market their products and services through the HKTDC's online platform and its product magazines

The HKTDC has developed a series of special offers for SMEs, allowing them to market their products and services to trade buyers worldwide through the HKTDC's online platform and its 15 product magazines. These offers provide significant value to SMEs wishing to widen their marketing reach, while reducing traveling expenses.

HKTDC Executive Director Fred Lam said that Hong Kong companies can expect to face a tough business environment in the coming 12 to 18 months because of the increasingly turbulent financial landscape and a worsening market environment worldwide.

"It is during these difficult times that the HKTDC has a duty, more so than ever, to help Hong Kong companies, SMEs in particular, prepare for the challenges ahead, " Mr Lam said.

"We believe the best way to help SMEs is to bring these business opportunities right to their door, since international trade fairs have proven to be the most direct and cost-effective promotional and marketing channel, " Mr Lam said. "The additional business prospects created by bringing more trade buyers to Hong Kong will also have a long-term multiplying effect for the city as a whole."

Mr Lam added that, given the slackening economy in mature markets such as the United States and Western Europe, the HKTDC encourages SMEs to look to emerging markets, where economies have been less affected by the current financial turmoil.

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