Many of my customers target markets overseas but they choose to register a business in Hong Kong for taxation purpose. Some even choose to move the whole operation to Hong Kong for cheaper labour cost. If this is also your plan, you can have a look at the SME Export Marketing Fund. The Hong Kong Government will provide a subsidy for export promotion activities. The cumulative funding ceiling is currently $800,000.
Definition of Export Promotion Activities
After you register a business in Hong Kong, the following activities can be covered by the SME export marketing fund.
- Trade fairs/ exhibitions held overseas
- Business missions held overseas
- Trade fairs/exhibitions which mainly targets overseas market
- Advertisements on trade publications which mainly target a foreign market
- Advertisement via platforms or media which mainly target a foreign market
- Setting up company website or mobile application which mainly target market overseas
Is there a specific requirement in choosing an advertisement platform for the export promotion activities?
Yes. For example, if your business joins a trade fair organized by an overseas government body, the Hong Kong Government is likely to approve this expense. However, if you join a private trade fair organized by a small corporation, then the Government is unlikely to approve the expense. Since this is a public funding, there are strict guidelines to follow. The Government will consider business nature, business size and experience of the operator.
Who can apply?
In order to be eligible for the program, applicant must fulfil the following requirements.
- You must register a business in Hong Kong
- After setting up a company in Hong Kong, your company must meet the definition of a small and medium enterprise. If you are in the manufacturing sector, you must have less than 100 employees. If you are in other sectors, you must employ less than 50 employees.
- You must have significant business activities in Hong Kong. If your major operation is outside Hong Kong, you will not be eligible for this application.
- If you have applied for EMF in the past, the cumulative fund shall not exceed the funding ceiling. Please note that the Government will also consider connected entities in this arrangement.
Applicants should note that employees include both full time and part time employee. Applicants must also show the government that it has significant operation in Hong Kong. Normally the Government will consider your business nature, number of your employees in Hong Kong, percentage of business operation in Hong Kong, and whether your profits are assessable in Hong Kong.
How does it work?
Each application should include one activity only. If there are two different activities, you should separate it into two different applications. The maximum amount for each application is HK$100,000 or 50% of the total approved expenses. The cumulative limit is HK$800,000 and you can apply for the application for more than 1 time.
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