(8 April 2020) In advance of the announcement of the second round of the Anti-epidemic Fund, IT legislator Charles Mok yesterday issued his proposal to the Secretary for Innovation and Technology Nick Yang, urging the inclusion of $1 billion subsidies for rent and salary expenses of local SMEs in the information and communication technology industries to help them survive.
In light of the prolonged impact of the Coronavirus on the local economy, SMEs in the ICT sectors are facing critical challenges such as cancellation of orders and postponing new projects. In his proposal, Mok called on the government to set aside $1 billion for technology startups and SMEs to pay for the rental and salary costs for the coming 6 months.
In the first round of the relief package, the government offered six-month of rental waiver for startups and tenants at the Hong Kong Science Park, industrial estates and Cyberport. Mok believed that similar measures should be extended to businesses that are located in other commercial properties, of which the financial difficulty to pay the rents is running especially high.
Mok suggested that financial support should be offered to technology startups and SMEs, capped at 10,000 square feet and 80% of salaries for local employees (with a cap of $18,000).
“The government has already invested billions of public funding to support the growth of the innovation and technology sector all these years. Support for them is more vital now than ever, we should help technology startups and SMEs to ride through this difficult time,” said Mok.