The Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), Mrs Carrie Lam, delivered her annual Policy Address on 6 October 2021. The Policy Address sets out a new blueprint for the future of Hong Kong, which will celebrate the 25th anniversary of its establishment as a Special Administrative Region in 2022. The Policy Address outlines measures to make Hong Kong a safe, green, liveable and innovational international city for talents.
"One Country, Two Systems"
Stability has been restored in Hong Kong and the 'One Country, Two Systems'; was back on track. The Chief Executive also emphasised that the rule of law is a core value and the cornerstone of Hong Kong's success. Hong Kong's laws and judicial independence have been held in high regard since Hong Kong's return to the Motherland in 1997.
Green and Liveable City
Hong Kong is home to around 7.5 million population, including hundreds of thousands of expats from all over the world. The HKSAR Government is determined to build a quality living environment for the people. Key initiatives include -
Carbon neutrality before 2050 and climate change
- Formulate the overall strategy for achieving carbon neutrality before 2050. More proactive strategies and measures on reducing carbon emissions to attain carbon neutrality will be covered in the Hong Kong's Climate Action Plan 2050 to be announced shortly.
- Set up the Office of Climate Change and Carbon Neutrality to strengthen co-ordination and promote deep decarbonisation.
- Interim target to cease using coal for daily electricity generation by 2035.
- Introduce a new producer responsibility scheme on plastic beverage containers and regulate disposable plastic tableware
- Devote about HK$240 billion (EUR 26.68 billion) to take forward various measures on climate change mitigation and adaptation in the next 15 - 20 years.
Housing and land
The Chief Executive sets out in her 2021 Policy Address a multi-pronged approach to increase housing and land supply. About 350 hectares of land has been identified, which could provide 330,000 public housing units in to meet the demand for about 301,000 public housing units in the coming 10 years. To address housing demand and provide adequate land supply, key initiatives include –
- Long-term planning for sustainable land supply - mainly rely on reclamation of artificial islands at Kau Yi Chau, near-shore reclamation at Lung Kwu Tan and the re-planning of Tuen Mun West. The Ma Liu Shui reclamation project will also be revived to provide land mainly for I&T uses.
- further review the development potential of the "Green Belt" zone with relatively lower ecological value.
- unlock Tso/Tong lands in the New Territories by relaxing the sale restrictions
- further streamline development processes through examination of town planning, environmental impact assessment and other statutory requirements.
Transitional Housing – increase dedicated funding to HK$11.6 billion (EUR 1.28 billion) and raise provision of transitional housing units to 20 000 units in the coming years.
Developing into an International innovation and technology (I&T) Hub
The Northern Metropolis
The Chief Executive proposes in her 2021 Policy Address to develop the northern part of Hong Kong into a metropolitan area ideal for people to live, work and travel. The Northern Metropolis has an area of 300 square kilometers and will be developed as an international I&T hub -
Make an optimal use of the land vacated upon relocation of the Lok Ma Chau Control Point to the new Huanggang Boundary Control Point in Shenzhen and a portion of the adjacent fish ponds and rural land. Together with the original land use planning in the San Tin/Lok Ma Chau Development Node, it will provide about 150 hectares of additional land for I&T uses to develop the San Tin Technopole.
Leverage the opportunity of the expansion of the Qianhai Co-oepration Zone to upgrade Hung Shui Kiu/Ha Tsuen and make it the New Territories North Modern Services Centre, and to build sizable landmark I&T facilities in Lau Fau Shan facing Qianhai on the other side of the Shenzhen Bay.
Enhance management of ecological functions of around 2,000 hectares of conservation, creating a quality living environment for the Northern Metropolis
Upon the full development of the entire Northern Metropolis, a total of over 900,000 residential units, including the existing 390 000 residential units in Yuen Long District and North District, will be available to accommodate a population of about 2.5 million. The total number of jobs in the Metropolis will increase substantially from 116,000 at present to about 650,000, including 150,000 I&T-related jobs.
The Science Park is now home to around 900 technology enterprises and start-ups. In the past three years, its tenants/incubatees have raised funds amount to HK$33 billion (EUR 3.66 billion). To prepare for future needs, the HKSAR Government will explore expanding the Science Park's capacity -
- To revive the Ma Liu Shui reclamation project with a view to provide a total of 88 hectares of new land (together with the land to be vacated by the relocation of the Sha Tin Sewage Treatment Works) mainly for I&T development.
- Improve public transport service connection of Pak Shek Kok and the Science Park, by studying the construction of a new train station of the East Rail Line.
Look Ma Chau Loop (The Loop)
- Expedite the construction of Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park (HSITP) in the Loop.
- In the long run, the HSITP and the areas around Lok Ma Chau / San Tin will be consolidated to form the San Tin Technopole where land for I&T-related uses is estimated to amount to amount to about 240 hectares.
Universities' Research Work
- Reserve a 4-hectare site at Pokfulam for the University of Hong Kong (HKU) to construct facilities for deep technology research
- Support The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) to use a 2.5-hectare to build research facilities and expand the CUHK Medical Centre
- Support The Hong Kong Polytechnic University in exploring the use of its Hung Hom Bay Campus for academic and research development.
New Impetus to the Economy
In her 2021 Policy Address, the Chief Executive revealed wide-ranging strategies to make full use of the city's advantages under the 'One Country, Two Systems'; principle, promote high-end economic development and seize development opportunities as provided under the 14th Five-Year Plan and in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA). Key initiatives include –
International Financial Centre
- Establish a listing regime for special purpose acquisition companies in Hong Kong after consulting the market
- Expand further the channels for the two-way flow of cross-boundary RMB funds and develop offshore RMB products and tools
- Attract family offices to establish a presence in Hong Kong by considering the provision of tax concessions
- Assess the feasibility of developing Hong Kong into a regional carbon trading centre and support the Hong Kong Exchange and Clearing Limited (HKEX) to promote co-operation with the Guangzhou Futures Exchange in financial product development related to the areas of carbon emission trading.
International Transportation Centre
- Development of a "Smart Port" by adopting wider application of digital technology in business processes and operatios by the maritime and port industry
- Promote high value-added maritime business services, including ship registration, ship finance and management, marine insurance, and maritime legal and arbitration services. Tax concessions will be introduced to attract members of the maritime industry to establish a business presence.
Centre for International Legal and Dispute Resolution Services in the Asia-Pacific Region
- Attract international legal and dispute resolution institutions to set up offices in the Hong Kong Legal Hub.
- Secure international organisations to hold decision-making meetings in Hong Kong.
International Aviation Hub
- Commissioning of the Third Runway targeted for 2022 and full completion of the Third Runway System is scheduled for 2024.
- Enhance co-operation with Zhuhai in aviation industry
East-meets-West Centre for International Cultural Exchange
- Completion of flagship projects of the West Kowloon Cultural District, namely the M+ Museum, the Hong Kong Palace Museum and the Lyric Theatre Complex, as well as the East Kowloon Cultural Centre and Kai Tak Sports Park (which can also stage cultural performances) in the coming years.
- Strengthen connections with overseas arts and culture organisations, and enhance cultural exchange and co-operation with the Mainland.
Regional Intellectual Property (IP) Trading Centre
- Further promote and develop the "original grant patent" system by building up the substantive examination adaptability
- Explore with the Mainland authorities on broadening the scope of application of the Patent Co-operation Treaty to cover the 'original grant patent'; system
- Extend other major international IP treaties to Hong Kong.
- Plan for the construction of the second Advanced Manufacturing Centre, in light of the positive response to the first Centre in Tseung Kwan O (to be completed in mid-2022) and the Microelectronices Centre at the Yuen Long Industrial Estate (to be completed in 2023).
HKSAR will continue to attract non-local talents to enrich our talent pool. Key initiatives include -
- Double the annual quota of the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme to 4,000 to attract talents from all over the world to work in Hong Kong.
- Expand the fields of professions in the Talent List to attract and facilitate more highly-qualified professionals in financial, environmental, medical and heathcare, technology, arts and culture sectors to work in Hong Kong.
- Attract and retain top legal talents - such as relaxing the qualification requirements in handling international commercial disputes and regularising the pilot scheme introduced last year to allow eligible non-Hong Kong residents to participate in arbitral proceedings in Hong Kong as visitors on a short-term basis (without the need to obtain employment visas beforehand).
- Put forward proposals to the Central Government to enhance the two-way flow of talents within the GBA (including non-Chinese Hong Kong residents) for businesses, research, exchanges and visits, etc.
The full text of the 2021 Policy Address
2021 Policy Address - Highlights leaflet