Calls for HK govt to focus on innovation to boost competitiveness


Measures to boost Hong Kong's competitiveness through innovation are widely expected to be a prominent feature of the city's Budget on Feb 28, amid expectations that reserves will hit a record high.

The Big Four accounting firms in Hong Kong - Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC - expect the city to record an estimated surplus of between HK$150 billion (S$25 billion) and HK$180 billion for 2017/2018, about 10 times the official forecast of HK$16.3 billion made a year ago.

The huge surplus is likely attributable to bumper revenues from land sales, profit tax and stamp duty takings, as well as an under-budget expenditure. The audit firms project reserves to stand at over HK$1 trillion by the end of March - roughly about 30 months of total government expenditure.

This would enable investment to ensure the city remains competitive, they said.

An index measuring global competitiveness out last September put Hong Kong up three spots to sixth. Singapore slipped a notch to third while Japan slid one place to ninth. - THE STRAITS TIMES