Sovereign can assist Hong Kong businesses to face post-Covid challenges

The coronavirus epidemic has brought exceptional challenges to businesses around the world – from sole traders and SMEs through to large multi-nationals – even in those countries that have succeeded in containing its spread. From closing offices and furloughing staff, to setting up remote working capabilities where possible, none have previously experienced the effects of a truly global pandemic.

While the public health response in Asia has been shaped by the memories of other recent epidemics — most notably Sars — which meant that governments were better prepared to react fast and forcefully, and populations much more willing to co-operate – the Hong Kong government has been equally fast and forceful in responding to the economic needs response of the public and the society in an unprecedented manner.

Since the beginning of this year, the government has launched three rounds of measures totalling HK$287.5 billion to assist the affected industries and the public, including:

  • The first round of the HK$30 billion Anti-epidemic Fund approved by the Legislative Council on 21 February;
  • The HK$120 billion relief package in the 2020-21 Budget announced by the Financial Secretary on 26 February;
  • The second round of the HK$137.5 billion Anti-epidemic Fund measures approved by the Legislative Council on 18 April.

Its objectives were to help businesses stay afloat, to keep workers in employment, to relieve financial burdens of individuals and businesses and, finally, to assist the economy to recover once the epidemic is contained.

Many businesses have chosen to ‘furlough’ staff to protect jobs. For some this may not be enough to combat the impact of the coronavirus on their business, especially once the government funding comes to an end. In the difficult times, it is essential for company owners to decide not just how to run the business now, but over the next five to 10 years.

In order to come back stronger, companies should reimagine their business model as they return to full speed. There are four strategic areas to focus on: recovering revenue, rebuilding operations, rethinking organisation and accelerating the adoption of digital solutions.

The speed of recovery will also differ from sector to sector and from country to country. Assessing and adapting to these rhythms will be essential for companies to successfully navigate the recovery. Many businesses will also face some fundamental challenges. Consumer behaviour and demand patterns have changed significantly and will continue to do so.

After all, the changes we have seen over the past few months – to the way we interact with family and friends, the way we work, travel and conduct routine transactions – have accelerated the migration from face-to-face to digital technologies across every sector.

To navigate the ‘new normal’ successfully, many companies may need to restructure if they are to ensure their long-term survival and ability to operate. With over three decades of experience handling cross-border corporate and commercial matters, Sovereign Trust (Hong Kong) is well-positioned to assist in a number of ways.

Sovereign’s corporate services include forming new corporate structures and reorganising existing structures. We also provide the administrative support to maximise opportunities and achieve long-term sustainability, from full back-office solutions to assistance with tax and regulatory compliance. This includes accountancy, human resources, pensions, insurance, obtaining local licences and permits, executive relocation and specialist tax advice.

Sovereign can either offer in-house bookkeeping and accounting services or can recommend a range of accountancy firms that we work with closely. By outsourcing your accounting facility, you will reduce internal operational costs and allow yourself more time and resources to focus on value-added and revenue generating tasks.

The Covid-related measures have introduced a number of employment and tax related challenges. By outsourcing your payroll you can free up your valuable time and resources to concentrate on the important business of running your company while making certain that all obligations and responsibilities are met in a timely and efficient manner.

In January, the Innovation and Technology Commission extended the Technology Talent Admission Scheme (TechTAS) to all companies conducting R&D activities in 13 technology areas in Hong Kong. These enhancements of TechTAS will allow more companies to benefit from the certainty and streamlined procedures offered by the scheme, thus expediting the admission of technology talent from different parts of the world to undertake R&D work in Hong Kong. Sovereign is able to assist with immigration, visas and permits as well as finding suitable housing for key personnel, senior executives and their families.

Sovereign Trust is an independent corporate and professional services provider. This means that there will be no conflict of interest in respect of existing auditors, advisors or banks. We are therefore here to support your business in any way we can.

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