According to a recent press release, Hong Kong’s Financial Secretary gave a speech at the GS1 HK 30th Anniversary Dinner where he stated that over these last three decades, Hong Kong has thrived as well, transforming from a regional manufacturing hub into a leading global financial and logistics centre.
Over the past few years, Hong Kong has also been emerging as a regional innovation and technology hub.
Since the establishment of the Innovation & Technology Bureau in November 2015, the Government has committed about $130 billion towards I&T initiatives and programmes – and this is just the start, the leader added.
He made reference to the Smart City Blueprint for Hong Kong, noting that since the document’s release in December 2017, the Government has been working on more than 70 initiatives outlined in the blueprint. Moreover, the region is making good progress, particularly in the digital transformation of Hong Kong.
Next year the Government will launch an electronic identity (eID) programme for all Hong Kong residents. The eID will serve as a single digital authentication, enabling individuals to conduct government and commercial transactions online, simply, conveniently and securely.
Down the digital road, eID will promote the development of such emerging sectors as e-commerce, digital trade and online payment.
Open data is pivotal to the realisation of the smart city. Under the new open-data policy, government bureaus and departments will release data through the region’s open data portal to be used freely by the public, unless of course, there are valid reasons not to; say, to protect privacy. The number of open datasets will increase to nearly 4,000 by the end of this year from about 3,300 now.
By mid-year, the Government will also begin the installation of smart lampposts in select areas. Equipped with sensors and Internet of Things devices, they will capture traffic, weather and other real-time city data for analysis and better city management. Such data will also be open to the public free of charge.
And there’s much more innovation and technology on the way. The Smart Government Innovation Lab will be launched in April to strengthen co-ordination and promotion of the use of I&T products and solutions in the Government.
Through the lab, local small and medium enterprises and start-ups will be invited to submit proposals for I&T applications and products for different public services.
Providing for Hong Kong’s students
Keeping with the digital transformation theme, Hong Kong’s Secretary for Innovation & Technology noted that the IT Innovation Lab in Secondary Schools Programme aims to provide more resources for secondary schools to conduct extracurricular activities to enable students to benefit from the new innovation and technology areas, in a recent press release.
The Secretary told reporters the programme is an extension and an expansion of the existing Enrichment IT Programme in Secondary Schools, which was launched in 2015-16 targeting eight schools with activities opened to all secondary schools on a voluntary basis.
Through experience the leaders decided that this extracurricular activity is actually very helpful to the secondary school students.
The Financial Secretary in his 2019-20 Budget announced the Government will deploy $500 million to implement the IT Innovation Lab in Secondary Schools Programme in the coming three school years.
The I&T chief also noted that the Government seeks to provide more resources to the secondary schools so that they can conduct more extracurricular activities that will enable students to benefit from the new innovation and technology areas.
The Secretary added that if any schools want to embrace this kind of initiative into their curricular portion, the Innovation & Technology Bureau will work with them and the Education Bureau to see how it can be done.
Thus, it is clear that the HKSAR Government is pushing hard to realise its dreams of being an international IT hub.