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Wednesday, November 22, 2017, 01:12
Ma asks mainland cities to emulate HK, cut tax on startups
By He Shusi
Wednesday, November 22, 2017, 01:12 By He Shusi

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor joins Jack Ma Yun, founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group, at the Jumpstarter 2017 Grand Final at Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai on Tuesday. (ROY LIU / CHINA DAILY)

HONG KONG - The owner of Internet giant Alibaba Jack Ma Yun on Tuesday praised Hong Kong’s taxation policies as being “favorable” to entrepreneurs and advised the governments of mainland cities to follow suit.

He made the remarks at the final stage of the largest contest in Hong Kong for innovation and technology startups. The contest was held by Alibaba in cooperation with the special administrative region government and local companies.

During his discussions with Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor at the event, Ma commended the SAR government for its strong support for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

He said large cities on the mainland should learn from Hong Kong by providing tax deductions and other government support to new startups.

“If you (the government) cannot give money to those startups, why not reduce the tax for them?” he said, followed by applause from an audience of local entrepreneurs.

Lam agreed with Ma and reiterated her government’s determination to support innovation and technology (I&T) enterprises.

She believes the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area had the potential to surpass Silicon Valley in the US in building an I&T center under the unique “one country, two systems” principle.

She also stressed the importance of public and private cooperation. The CE said public policies faced restrictions in regard to laws and regulations when it came to spending taxpayers’ money. Lam added that this was why she hoped to see more government’s partnerships with private enterprises.

Apart from policy support, Ma further affirmed Hong Kong’s advantages in terms of its market economy and financing capability. Ma said although the city itself does not have a large market, it was a good place to connect with the mainland and the rest of world as a global financial hub.

Ma said Hong Kong’s young people need to take an international view instead of focusing only on Hong Kong.

He said an open-minded society had contributed to Hong Kong’s success over the past 50 years.

The Jumpstarter 2017 is a competition for I&T startups in Hong Kong. It is co-organized by the Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund, Cyberport and Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks.

The three winners on Tuesday received $1 million in investment funds, respectively, from the Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund. Two of the startups are in smart city sector, while the other focuses on artificial intelligence and robotics.

In her maiden Policy Address delivered in October, Carrie Lam said developing I&T was a top priority for Hong Kong. She stressed her ambitions to turn the city into an international I&T hub.

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