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Hong Kong Government plans to invest $18 billion in Innovation & Technology ecosystem

The Hong Kong Government plans to offer support measures to enhance the Special Administrative Region (SAR)’s innovation and technology (I&T) ecosystem.

In his 2017 Policy Address on Jan 18 2017, Chief Executive CY Leung said the measures may include tax and financial concessions to attract I&T enterprises from Hong Kong and elsewhere.

"The Government has made a substantial investment of $18 billion to enhance Hong Kong’s innovation and technology ecosystem. These measures include promoting reindustrialisation, funding universities to conduct mid-stream and applied research projects, subsidising industry adoption of technology to upgrade and transform, and supporting startups.

"Supply of hardware, such as land and premises, is a necessary but not sufficient condition for Hong Kong to promote innovation and technology successfully. Facing competitors, Hong Kong must consider how to enhance its overall competitiveness, including offering tax and financial concessions, and other policy support measures to attract innovation and technology enterprises from Hong Kong, the Mainland and overseas."

Universities will be asked to conduct more impactful and translational research projects to meet Hong Kong’s needs, so as to tie in with the work promoting the development of industries and re-industrialisation.

"In this regard, the Government will request the University Grants Committee (UGC) to complete the review on the allocation of research grants within one year, and expand the assessment criteria to include research impact and effectiveness of knowledge and technology transfer.

"The Government will also request, through the UGC, all universities to refine their knowledge and technology transfer plans within six months and strengthen the role of their knowledge transfer offices in co-ordinating and commercialising research outputs. Universities should implement their refinement programmes as soon as possible. The UGC and Innovation & Technology Bureau (ITB) will keep the universities’ implementation under review as one of the criteria for fund allocation."

Mr Leung said an InnoCell will be established adjacent to the Science Park to provide accommodation and facilities such as shared work spaces for leasing to staff of incubatees and startups in the park.

"InnoCell will provide residential units with flexible design and ancillary facilities, such as shared working spaces, for leasing to staff of the incubatees and startups in the Science Park. It will also be open to scientific research personnel from outside Hong Kong who work for other companies in the park."

The Science Park expansion is underway for completion in three years. It will increase the park’s gross floor area to 400,000 square metres.

To promote re-industrialisation the Government is preparing to build a Data Technology Hub and an Advanced Manufacturing Centre in the Tseung Kwan O Industrial Estate, to be completed in three and five years.

"The Government introduced a Technology Voucher Programme two months ago to subsidise the use of technology by SMEs to improve productivity or facilitate upgrading and transformation.

"Industries enjoying advantages in the process of Hong Kong’s re-industrialisation include biotechnology, big data, the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and smart city."

The Government will establish an Inno Space with the Hong Kong Productivity Council to facilitate the sharing of practical technologies and skills to promote the translation of innovative and technological ideas into industrial designs or products, and support a startup culture and re-industrialisation.

The Government has set aside sizable sites, including one of over 50 hectares near the Liantang/Heung Yuen Wai Boundary Control Point, for use by the I&T sector - including the development of a science park and industrial estates - and other emerging or traditional industries.

"We will also recommend the Science Park make best use of the developable sites in Tai Po, Yuen Long and Tseung Kwan O industrial estates."

The Government has earmarked $500 million for the ITB to help government departments in using technology to enhance the quality of public services.                              

The Government will also launch the $500 million Innovation & Technology Fund for Better Living by the middle of this year to subsidise innovation and technology projects which will bring more convenient, more comfortable and safer living to the public, or those addressing the needs of specific community groups, Mr Leung added.                 

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