Thursday 13 December 2018

Booming Hong Kong to return surplus billions

Hong Kong
Hong Kong

Eric Lam

Hong Kong has unveiled new plans to invest in technology and return funds to the public, as the city finds itself swimming in cash thanks to red-hot property and financial services markets.

Delivering the annual budget, Financial Secretary Paul Chan also pledged to return 40pc of a hefty HK$138bn (€14.4bn) surplus to the community.

The excess is well above a government projection of HK$16.3bn made a year ago.

Meanwhile, he stressed the importance of saving for bad times and repeated warnings of Hong Kong property risks.

"It's a positive and balanced budget, and it basically covered most of the people in Hong Kong and industries," said Jeremy Choi, tax partner with PwC, in a phone interview.

The investments in research and development are encouraging, with Hong Kong starting to catch up with competitors such as Singapore, he said. The budget comes after Hong Kong's fastest economic growth in six years spurred calls to share more of the wealth with those in need, particularly as the city's property market - the world's most expensive - has put home ownership out of the reach of many.

Chan forecasts the city will see another 3 to 4pc expansion in 2018.


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