Entering a new market is the perfect time for developing your brand, planning a digital marketing strategy, and designing a brand experience that your customers love. First impressions matter, and you need to make sure that you’re stronger than ever ahead of your move abroad.
Through brand research and creative thinking, you’ll find the right way to position your business competitively, build an audience interested in your brand story, and design a digital marketing strategy that unlocks your full potential.
It requires creativity, strategy and funding to get it right. We can help you with the first two, and for the funds look no further than the BUD Fund.
What is the BUD Fund?
The objective of the Branding, Upgrading and Domestic Sales (BUD) Fund, is to support Hong Kong enterprises for projects that involve the brand development and restructuring of business operations targeting Mainland China, ASEAN and FTA markets.
For SMEs and start-ups developing business in these specific markets, the BUD Fund is able to cover business expenses for up to HK$1 million per project on a matching basis – that means the HK government will cover a maximum of 50% of the total costs.
What does the BUD Fund cover?
The BUD Fund covers business expenses related to developing your business in the specific markets. This can include staff costs, business set up costs as well costs related to the following activities:
All expenses and funding must be tracked and audited. See the forms you need to submit to better understand this part of the process.
Funding available for your company
Funding for the above costs are provided on a matching basis. This means the Hong Kong government will cover 50% max of the total approved project costs, with the enterprise contributing no less than 50%.
During the tenure of the BUD Fund, you can obtain funding for a maximum of 20 approved projects capped at HK$1 million per project. The cumulative funding ceiling is HK$4 million – HK$2 million for the Mainland market, and HK$2 million for the ASEAN and FTA markets.
Enhancements of the BUD Fund in 2020
The BUD Fund has been available since 2012 for businesses looking to expand into Mainland China. Since then, the scope of the BUD Fund was broadened to include ASEAN markets and more recently the Trade and Industry Department has implemented a new round of enhancement measures to the BUD Fund for applications received from 20 January 2020 onwards.
Changes to the BUD Fund include an expansion of the geographical scope to cover all economies with which Hong Kong has signed Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and increasing the cumulative funding ceiling per enterprise to HK$4 million.
The budget cap of individual expenditure items and fundable items have been relaxed to include the costs for setting up a new business entity in the Mainland, procuring/leasing additional equipment, producing samples and prototypes and the registration of patents and trademarks.
Additionally, it is no longer required that the grantee open and maintain an interest-bearing bank account to deposit the relevant amount of matching funds before receiving the initial payment. All projects can start upon submission of BUD Fund applications.
Overview of the BUD Fund enhancements starting 2020:
Source: Trade and Industry Department
ASEAN includes: the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam and Myanmar.
The fund is available for both start-ups and SMEs, registered in Hong Kong with substantial business operations in Hong Kong.
Applying for the BUD Fund and obtaining approval can be a lengthy process. After your application is submitted, it will go through vetting, and once the project starts you need to provide progress reports and audits, with a final report and audited account submission when the project is completed.
Once you are approved, you also have access to other additional perks such as free credit assessment and special discounts to use the technical support and laboratory services of the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks (HKSTP).
You can read more about the application process here.
Ready to take the next step?
If you’re looking for a strategic partner that knows how to localise your brand for a new market, then you’ve come to the right place. As a creative agency, we can help you on your journey to expanding into new markets with services across brand development, digital marketing and retail experience and activation. Let’s take your business further, together.