The BDC has been actively assisting the Government in formulating polices to support local brands, and it has through various channels expressed views and conveyed the concerns of the industries to the Mainland governments.
Under the fallout of the Financial Tsunami, many Hong Kong companies had run into unprecedented difficulties since mid-2008. Nevertheless, the current economic downturn has highlighted the importance of branding as a winning strategy to ride out the current adversity and move up the value chain. In view of this, the BDC submitted a position paper to the HKSAR Government, calling for the Government to play a proactive role in supporting SME’s branding initiatives. The policy recommendations put forward by the BDC include:
1. To provide financial support for local companies’ branding activities. Among other things, the amount of grant and the scope of the SME Export Marketing Fund should be further enlarged; and a separate “Brand Promotion Grant” could be established. Meanwhile, the Government may consider providing multiple tax deduction for outlays on brand development and promotion.
2. To step up research and education. The Government could work with the industries to establish a “Brand Innovation Center”. By bringing the synergy between academics, industries and professionals into full play, the proposed Center would spearhead Hong Kong’s brand-related research, training and education, enhance our knowledge reserve, and cultivate brand talents, while providing technical supports for local companies’ branding initiatives.
3. To establish platforms for brand promotion. For example, the Government could set up specialty shops or specialized commercial zones at some crossing points or downtown areas, where local brands and branded products could be showcased and retailed. On the other hand, the Government may provide facilitation measures to speed up the transformation of obsolete industrial building into brand demonstration and distribution center, so as to broaden the marketing channels for local brands, revitalize industrial buildings, and blow fresh air into the tourism industry.
4. To assist local brands to penetrate into Mainland’s domestic market. On the one hand, the Government may commission the Hong Kong Trade Development Council to conduct market research at provincial or even city level, and to organize exhibitions in selected second-tier cities. On the other hand, the HKSAR Government should lobby the Central Government for further liberalization of domestic market. In particular, the restriction on domestic sales of goods manufactured under Contract Processing Trade should be relaxed, and the governments of both sides should crystallize the cooperation in regard to commodity inspection , trademark and brand, as has been stipulated in the “Trade and Investment Measures” under the CEPA framework,
5. To strengthen and promote Hong Kong’s location brand. It is suggested that the Government should further identify and promote Hong Kong as a prominent city brand, enrich the core values of “Hong Kong Brand”, and enhance the interaction between city brand and product/service brands. More importantly, the Government should safeguard our collective assets like “Hong Kong Brand”, “Hong Kong Top Brand” and “Made in Hong Kong, and press ahead with the development and promotion of visual identity system for our city brand.