A Guide to Hong Kong Government Support

Like most of the world, Hong Kong has experienced significant economic challenges and setbacks as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an attempt to minimize economic and financial hardship, the Hong Kong government has introduced a series of programs aimed at helping citizens and businesses operating in the special administrative region. These initiatives include a $120 billion HKD relief package that protects employees, offers low-interest loans to enterprises, and temporarily reduces various business expenses, including profits taxes. This was followed by the comprehensive Anti-epidemic Fund, which released an additional $30 billion HKD into the economy by subsidizing industries affected by COVID-19, offering financial assistance to businesses producing masks, and funding anti-epidemic efforts across different sectors.

We’ve compiled a list of government programs for Hong Kong-based business owners that may be helpful for those struggling with cash flow, operational expenses, and other difficulties resulting from the coronavirus outbreak.

We will continue to update this list and share new information as existing measures are updated and new programs are introduced.

Please note, the following information is meant to serve as a guide. Please check with official government sources (listed below) to obtain the most up-to-date and accurate information on Hong Kong government support programs.

Providing liquidity through direct funds, loans, and grants

For SMEs that need help with business costs

On 26 February 2020, the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council announced a Special 100% Loan Guarantee as part of the existing SME Financing Guarantee Scheme (SFGS). This loan is aimed at helping SMEs that are struggling with business expenses because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The program covers 100% of employee wages and rents for a 6-month period.

On 8 April 2020, the Hong Kong government announced further changes to the SFGS to soften the impact of COVID-19. For the Special 100% Loan Guarantee, this means:

The interest rate of the Special 100% Loan Guarantee is the prime lending rate minus 2.5%.

Two additional SFGS programs have also been extended to help businesses cope with the effects of coronavirus. They are the 80% Guarantee Product and the 90% Guarantee Product.

The 80% Guarantee Product is a loan and credit facility covering 80% of an SME’s expenses, including costs of:

The 80% Guarantee Product gives a single enterprise access to a maximum loan amount of $18 million HKD. The maximum overall interest rate is 10% per annum as of 14 April, but is subject to change.

The 90% Guarantee Product is a term loan that can cover up to 90% of an SME’s business expenses, including costs of:

The 90% Guarantee Product gives a single enterprise access to a maximum of $8 million HKD. As of 14 April 2020, the interest rates are:

Information regarding interest rates and other details are subject to change. Check the official webpage for the SME Financing Guarantee Schemes for up-to-date information.


To be eligible for any of the loan guarantees mentioned, businesses must operate in Hong Kong and be registered in the country under Chapter 310 of the Business Registration Ordinance and be in good financial standing with their lender.

Lending institutions and their affiliates are not eligible for this scheme.

How to apply

Eligible borrowers should contact lenders directly to apply for these programs. A list of participating lenders can be found on the HKMC Insurance Limited website.

For construction companies active during COVID-19

As part of the Anti-epidemic Fund, eligible companies can receive government assistance for help with improving anti-contagion measures. The scheme is designed to reduce the financial burden construction companies face as they implement enhanced hygienic control measures at their construction sites and offices.

The scheme gives a subsidy of $50,000 HKD to every eligible consultant, contractor, and subcontractor. Companies can also receive an additional $1,500 HKD for each registered construction worker. These funds will be used to purchase cleaning products and other antiseptic equipment, instruments for measuring body temperature, and protective personal equipment.


How to apply

Complete the online application on the CIC website.

Applications are being accepted from now until 31 August 2020.

For restaurants and other businesses with food licenses

Restaurants, bakers, concession stands, and other businesses holding a valid food license are eligible for a one-time grant through the Food License Holders Subsidy Scheme. The program is administered by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) as part of the Anti-epidemic Fund. It’s designed to provide economic relief to businesses in food service that have been impacted by the COVID-19 epidemic.

The scheme gives a one-time subsidy of $200,000 HKD to restaurants and a one-time subsidy of $80,000 HKD to smaller food businesses.


To qualify for the Food License Holders Subsidy Scheme, business owners must have a valid license issued by the Director of Food and Environmental Hygiene for one of the following industries:

The license can be a full or provisional license, but it must have been issued on or before 14 February 2020. Eligible companies must be in operation when the application is submitted and may not be in the process of transferring, voluntary surrendering, or canceling their license.

Companies that do not have a valid license on 14 February 2020 may be eligible, provided:

How to apply

The application can be obtained by visiting a District Environmental Hygiene Office (DEHO) or it can be downloaded from the FEHD website.

An online application is available for anyone wanting to complete the entire process over the internet.

Physical applications can be mailed to the DEHO in your company’s district or delivered in-person to your district DEHO.

The application period ends 4 May 2020.

For businesses providing transportation

The Anti-epidemic Fund offers financial relief to businesses providing customers with various forms of transportation.

In addition to existing programs that subsidize gasoline and fuel costs for taxis, buses, ferries, and other modes of travel, the Transport Department is offering a one-off subsidy for eligible transportation companies.

Eligible businesses can receive:


Eligible companies must have a registered owner with a valid vehicle license for the relevant vehicle.

How to apply

Eligible companies should have been contacted by the Transport Department via mail with an application form and letter notifying them of their eligibility. A sample of the form can be found on the Transport Department website.

The application form is to be completed and mailed back to the Transport Department no later than 31 May 2020. If you believe you’re eligible and didn’t receive a letter, contact the Transport Department by calling 2804 2600 or emailing tdenq@td.gov.hk.

For travel agents

The government has created the Travel Agents and Practitioners Support Scheme as part of the Anti-epidemic Fund. This program gives travel agencies a one-time subsidy ranging from $20,000 to a maximum of $200,000 HKD based on the number of workers employed. The fund also provides employees with a subsidy equivalency of $5,000 HKD for a 6-month period.


Eligible businesses must be registered as a travel agent holding on or before 14 February 2020 and have a valid travel agent license issued by the Travel Agents Ordinance. The license must be valid during the period of the application.

How to apply

Complete the application form and submit it to the Travel Agents Registry by 15 June 2020.

Refer to the Application Guide for further information about the scheme and the application process.

For businesses implementing new technology solutions

Non-listed local businesses are eligible for government subsidies under the Technology Voucher Programme (TVP). This program gives businesses funding to expand technological services and solutions which are designed to enhance productivity and/or upgrade business processes.

While the TVP existed before the COVID-19 pandemic, the government recently raised the maximum funding per applicant from $400,000 to $600,000 HKD as of 1 April 2020. Eligible businesses can receive government grants for:

The program does not cover normal business expenses, and the cost of off-the-shelf solutions shouldn’t exceed 50% of the project cost.


Eligible projects funding by the TVP should be completed within a 12-month period. Businesses that qualify for the program must be a local entity that:

Government subvented organizations and their subsidiaries are not eligible for TVP funding.

How to apply

Visit the applications portal on the Innovation and Technology Commission website to register and apply for the TVP. Applications are being accepted throughout the year.

For law firms implementing new technology solutions

On 8 April 2020, Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced the creation of the LawTech Fund. This program is designed to help law firms implement and upgrade their information technology systems to support remote hearing and consultations, as well as cover the fees associated with attending LawTech training courses.

Eligible firms will receive a reimbursable sum up to $50,000 HKD.


Small and medium-sized law firms and barristers’ chambers with no more than five practicing lawyers are eligible for the program.

How to apply

The program will be administered jointly by the Hong Kong Bar Association and the Law Society of Hong Kong. Further details about the application process have yet to be announced.

For businesses making payments into the Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF)

The Chief Executive also announced the implementation of an $80 billion HKD Employment Support Scheme. This program aims to help businesses retain employees during the COVID-19 pandemic by providing wage subsidies to eligible employers that don’t retrench their employees.

Wage subsidies are calculated by 50% of the employer’s salary at a “specific month” chosen by the employer, with a salary cap of $18,000 HKD. The subsidies will continue for a period of six months.

Self-employed individuals are eligible for a one-time subsidy of $7,500 HKD, which is paid in as a lump sum. Government agencies and government-funded organizations are not eligible.


Businesses that have been making MPF contributions or have set up Occupation Retirement Schemes for their workers are eligible for the scheme.

How to apply

Details regarding Employment Support Scheme applications have yet to be announced.

For companies doing business outside of Hong Kong

The Trade and Industry Department recently updated the guidelines of the Dedicated Fund on Branding, Upgrading, and Domestic Sales (BUD) and the SME Export Marketing Fund (EMF). The program was originally designed to help Hong Kong businesses expand into Mainland China and ASEAN markets, and has now been expanded to cover all economies with which Hong Kong has signed Free Trade Agreements.

Maximum funding under the BUD fund has been increased to $4 million HKD per business, which includes $2 million HKD Mainland projects and $2 million HKD for projects in ASEAN and other FTA economies. The government has also eased other restrictions, such as:

Funding was increased to a maximum of $800,000 HKD per SME for the EMF scheme, and businesses can now apply for 75% of approved funding for their initial payment.


For the BUD fund, all non-listed companies registered in Hong Kong under the Business Registration Ordinance are eligible to apply.

In addition to being a registered company, businesses eligible for the EMF must:

How to apply

The application and instructions for each program are available on the relevant department website.

Tax relief options

Reducing profit tax

As part of the 2020-21 Budget speech, Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po announced that profit taxes would be reduced by 100%, subject to a $20,000 HKD ceiling. This one-time tax break applies to 2019-20 profit taxes and will reduce government revenue by $2 billion HKD.


All businesses that pay profit taxes are expected to be eligible for the one-time reprieve.

How to apply

No application is needed.

Taxpayers that pay provisional taxes are still required to make payments. If there is any excess balance, it will be refunded to the taxpayer.

For businesses registering or renewing

The Financial Secretary announced that business registration fees will be waived between 2020-21, and registration fees for annual returns charged by the Companies Register will be waived for 2 years (with the exception of late fees).

Access to financing and credits

For businesses with existing loans

Businesses with existing loans can apply for relief through the Pre-approved Principal Payment Holiday Scheme for Corporate Customers. This program is designed to help companies faced with cash-flow problems by allowing eligible borrowers to defer principal payments for a 6-month period starting on 1 May 2020 and ending on 30 October 2020. Businesses participating in financing programs classified as trade facilities will be given a 90-day period of deferral due to the short-term nature of these programs.

More information about the scheme can be found here.


To be pre-approved for the principal payment holiday, businesses must:

The scheme doesn’t cover syndicated loans or any loans that finance the purchase of shares and other financial assets.

How to apply

No formal application is necessary.

All authorized institutions are expected to participate in the program. Eligible companies will be contacted over the month of April by their financial institutions to inform them of the scheme. Companies that wish to receive a principal payment holiday will be instructed to contact their financial institution within 14 days of receiving their eligibility notice.

For businesses located in industrial estates, Science Park, InnoCentre, and Cyberport

The Innovation and Technology Bureau announced they will be spending $380 million HKD on rent for tenants at Science Park and Cyberport. Part of the Anti-epidemic Fund, the program gives businesses a 6-month rental waiver to help businesses adapt to economic changes caused by COVID-19.


The waiver is available to the following tenants at Hong Kong Science Park, InnoCentre, industrial estates, and Cyberport:

How to apply

No application necessary. The 6-month reprieve went into effect on 1 April 2020.

Additional resources

We’ve seen optimistic results from businesses that have quickly added e-commerce capabilities. Learn how to accept your first online payment with Stripe and how to send one-time or recurring invoices.

You can also visit Stripe’s COVID-19 resources page for products, programs, and resources we are building to help your business adapt.