Speech by S for IT at inaugural breakfast for "So French So Innovative" Exhibition and Forum (English only) (with photo)
Eric (Consul General of France in Hong Kong and Macau, Mr Eric Berti), Jacques (President of French Foreign Trade Advisors section in Hong Kong, Mr Jacques Boissier), Emmanuel (Managing Director of French Foreign Trade Advisors, Mr Emmanuel Montanié), distinguished guests, friends, ladies and gentlemen,
Good morning. It is a great pleasure for me to join you at the inaugural breakfast of the "So French So Innovative" Exhibition and Forum. I am really delighted to meet so many friends from France, especially those from the French tech community in Hong Kong.
In its third edition, the three-day "So French So Innovative" is a highlight event of Le French May 2017. In addition to showcasing France's best innovations and technologies, it also presents a number of pitch and demo sessions and panel discussions on topics such as artificial intelligence, robotics, smart city, cybersecurity and digital retail. It is a perfect platform to network, learn and exchange.
The HKSAR (Hong Kong Special Administrative Region) Government shares the vision to use innovation and technology to enhance productivity and improve the daily life of our citizens. We are also developing innovation and technology as a new economic sector to provide more, better and diversified jobs for Hong Kong people, in particular our young people. Since the establishment of the Innovation and Technology Bureau in 2015, the HKSAR Government has invested a massive HK$18 billion to revamp and build an innovation and technology ecosystem for Hong Kong. We expand technology infrastructure. We nurture start-ups. We encourage midstream applied research and we drive re-industrialisation. Hong Kong has about 2 000 innovation and technology start-ups today, a 24 per cent increase compared to a year ago. About 40 per cent of these 2 000 start-ups are founded by overseas entrepreneurs or returnees who came to Hong Kong. You will be pleased to note that French entrepreneurs account for about 10 per cent of the total foreign start-up founders in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong and France are long-standing friends, with ties and bonds on various fronts including innovation and technology. In March 2016, French Tech Hong Kong, the official online hub of the French tech ecosystem, was launched in Hong Kong. In June 2016, I joined the Chief Executive on a technology trip to France where we visited Airbus' manufacturing and training operations; Oncopole, a leading cancer research facility; Paris-Saclay, an extraordinary research and education cluster south of Paris; and Usine IO, an incubator with maker space capabilities.
France has also been our reliable trade and investment partner for a long time. From the collection of the "So French So Innovative" exhibits, everyone can see France is an innovation-friendly nation, with incredible achievements in creativity and cutting-edge technology.
There were 12 668 French citizens registered at the French consulate in Hong Kong in March 2016, double the number in 2014. This makes Hong Kong one of the largest French communities in Asia. Many French companies in the information and communications technology sector have already settled successfully in Hong Kong. At the same time, we also see increasingly more start-ups founded by French entrepreneurs. The synergistic effect of Hong Kong-French collaborations can and will certainly help to make Hong Kong a hub of excellence in innovation and technology.
Let me share with you an exciting recent development on Hong Kong's innovation and technology front. In January of this year, the HKSAR Government made a breakthrough by agreeing with the Shenzhen Municipal Government to develop the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park in the Lok Ma Chau Loop area. This 87-hectare development will be Hong Kong's largest-ever innovation and technology platform. We aim to attract top-notch Mainland and international talents and institutions in innovation and technology into this new park. The Loop will be a powerful engine to create more synergy with Shenzhen's strong manufacturing capabilities as well as tapping into the huge Mainland market opportunity. This should be good news to the French tech community as well.
Last but not least, I would like to thank the Consulate General of France, the French Chamber of Commerce and the French Foreign Trade Advisors for organising this year's "So French So Innovative" Exhibition and Forum. I am sure we can all benefit from this highly successful, interactive and inspiring event.
Thank you very much and have a great day.
Ends/Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Issued at HKT 11:13
Issued at HKT 11:13