Published: 19:34, November 25, 2022 | Updated: 19:39, November 25, 2022
HK may scale up Co-Investment Fund if more projects invested
By Liu Yifan

Pedestrians cross a road in front of a Citibank branch which is located in the central business district of Hong Kong. (JEROME FAVRE / BLOOMBERG)

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government will consider pouring more resources into the HK$30 billion ($3.84 billion) Co-Investment Fund proposed in this year’s Policy Address, Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po said on Friday.

The scale-up will hinge on whether more projects and businesses receive investments from the program, he added.

The HK$30 billion in the Co-Investment Fund is set aside from the Future Fund to entice enterprises to set up operations in Hong Kong

Speaking at an event held by the Hong Kong Association of Banks, Chan said it is time for the government to adopt a more proactive approach to encourage local economic growth, instead of fixating on the laissez-faire market doctrcine.

The Co-Investment Fund was among a string of plans announced by Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu in his maiden Policy Address last month as part of the government’s “proactive and aggressive” approach to compete for enterprises, investment and talents.

The HK$30 billion in the Co-Investment Fund is set aside from the Future Fund to entice enterprises to set up operations in Hong Kong, and to invest in their businesses.

Chan also said the city will try to develop the virtual-asset industry “in a progressive and sustainable way” and attract the global virtual-asset community to the city despite the recent turmoil in the crypto market.

READ MORE: HK: Virtual asset rules to balance innovation, risk management

His commitment came after the rapid downfall of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, which filed for bankruptcy protection this month in one of the highest-profile crypto blowups after traders rushed to withdraw $6 billion from the platform in just 72 hours. Rival exchange Binance abandoned a proposed rescue deal after examining FTX’s finances.

Chan reiterated that the SAR government is clear about the risks brought by virtual assets and will adopt the principle of “same business, same risk and same rules” to safeguard investors’ interests.

READ MORE: HK needs to do more to fight money laundering

A new licensing regime for virtual-asset service providers will be rolled out in the coming months to meet compliance requirements such as anti-money-laundering, with an emphasis on ensuring risk is controllable and that market volatility will not spill over into the real economy, he added.