Funding | 5 min read

BUD Fund Hong Kong on Branding, Upgrading and Domestic Sales

The "BUD Fund" allows Startups, SME's and New Businesses to access government funding.
BUD Fund Hong Kong on Branding Upgrading and Domestic Sales banner
Michael Ashton
By Michael Ashton
August 31, 2019

The Bud Fund has been helping Hong Kong business expand into Mainland China since 2012. The aim of the fund is to provide funding and access to capital to assist Hong Kong SME’s and new businesses in exploring the Mainland China market through developing brands, upgrading and restructuring operations and promoting sales.

More recently, to help more SMEs, including startups and new businesses, capture economic opportunities, the Hong Kong Government has enhanced the BUD Fund to provide funding support for SME’s, startups and new businesses to undertake projects for developing in countries which a Free Trade Agreement with Hong Kong exists.

These are:

ASEAN markets: Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and the Philippines

FTA Markets: Australia, New Zealand, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, Chile, Macao and Georgia.

If you are an SME looking to expand operations or trial projects in one or many of the ASEAN/FTA markets, the government's BUD fund may be right for you.

Funding available:

You can apply for up to $1,000,000 HKD per project on a matching basis (i.e. government will cover a maximum of 50% of the total project in cash) for the Mainland China Programme and the new FTA Programme.

Each enterprise can apply for $2,000,000 HKD of total funding (i.e. two projects) and each project must cover a maximum project duration of 24 months.


If you are a non-listed enterprise registered in Hong Kong and have “substantive business operations in Hong Kong” you can apply. To prove this, you can include your Hong Kong Business registration details and proof of your MPF payments to staff.

Scope of the funding:

The BUD fund for both the Mainland Programme and FTA Programme can cover business expenses related to developing your business in the specific markets. They can include staff costs (max up to 50%), new business set up costs (max 20% of funding), as well as costs result from the below activities:

Expenses that can be covered by the Hong Kong Government's BUD fund:

- Business registration

- Additional manpower

- Branding and marketing related activities, trademark registration

- New product development, prototyping, patent registration

- Additional machinery and equipment

- Establishing sales channels, setting up ecommerce platforms, and

- Product testing and certification

Keep in mind that all funding must be tracked and audited at the end of the program. Check out the forms you will be required to submit via the Bud Fund website to get a better idea of the process.

You might also be interested in this as well:

Technology Voucher Programme


You will need to submit an application which includes an extensive business plan, before you undertake the project. There are providers based in Hong Kong you can engage to help you through this process. If you go down this route, do read all application information as there are requirements that the provider needs to meet.

Application timings:

You’ll need to be prepared to sit through a relatively lengthly process. Applications can be submitted to the Hong Kong BUD fund at any time. Applications are reviewed at the end of every quarter, and approvals given within three months. So if you apply by the end of September deadline, you should hear back regarding your funding approval by the end of December.

List of approved projects:

The Hong Kong Government publishes a list of SME’s, startups and new businesses that have successfully received funding from the BUD fund mainland programme and ASEAN programme.

Thinking of applying?

Here are some helpful links to give you the information you need:

1. Support and Consultation Centre for SME’s - Online support and also based out of their Kowloon City location, where you can speak directly with staff who can guide you through the application process.

2. SME ONE- a Government produced library of SME resources which also covers funding options and additional information on the BUD funding program.

3. The Bud Fund government website.

Not right for your business?

If this funding option is not right for you, check out our list of other government backed startup, SME and new business funding options.

Check out our Web Design Hong Kong page. If you'd like our opinion, or have a brief you'd like to share, then please get in touch, we'd love to hear what you're up to!

Michael Ashton
By Michael Ashton
Managing Partner
Michael leads the Butter team and has had a career within industry leadership roles partnering with clients to drive digital transformation, performance marketing, and building business intelligence practices through marketing analytics. Michael focuses on providing digital & ecommerce consultancy for clients, aiming to improve business and commercial operations. Michael has an MBA from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) and NYU Stern Business School.
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