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Speech by FS at Asian Business Angel Forum 2014 opening ceremony (English only) (with photos/video)
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     Following is the speech delivered by the Financial Secretary, Mr John C Tsang, at the opening ceremony of the Asian Business Angel Forum 2014 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre this morning (May 21):

Allen (Yeung), Fanny (Law), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good morning.

     It's indeed my great pleasure to join you all this morning for the opening of the Asian Business Angel Forum 2014. A warm welcome to our friends from around the world, and I hope that you are enjoying your stay here in Hong Kong.

     I would like to congratulate first of all the Hong Kong Business Angel Network on organising this event in Hong Kong for the first time. Our city is a great place for investors and inventors to meet, exchange ideas and, hopefully, do business.

     Being here this morning at the Forum, I can sense the vibrancy of our next generation engineers, innovators and scientists as well as the enthusiasm of the many experienced mentors and investors.

     It is indeed a timely opportunity for me to talk briefly about some of Government's innovative thinking on how to make our city a more fertile platform for creative ideas to blossom into profitable solutions in the marketplace.

     Right now, we are in the process of establishing the new Innovation and Technology Bureau. Setting up a dedicated bureau is a clear and firm indication that Government is according even higher priority to promoting innovation, science, technology, research and design in Hong Kong. With a leadership role in policy co-ordination, the new bureau will help foster a positive climate for investment and risk-taking and boost momentum in developing the local IT sector.

     According to the Global Innovation Index 2013, Hong Kong ranks seventh among 142 economies worldwide and first in Asia for innovation. I think there is room for us to improve on this score. And we can do even better.

     Hong Kong has all the right ingredients for a highly dynamic IT sector. We have a strong innovation culture based on free flows of ideas, information and talent. We keep our taxes as low as possible, and we cut through red tape at every opportunity. We also have a robust intellectual property regime and a sound legal system underpinned by an independent judiciary. All this is part of our city's DNA as the world's freest economy.

     We have excellent technology infrastructure including some of the most advanced information communications technology. You may be familiar with our innovation "mother ship", the Hong Kong Science Park. The Science Park is operated by the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation, which is the strategic partner of the event today as Fanny has just spoken. With its first-class facilities and supporting services, more than 440 technology companies are now part of the Science Park family.

     And that family is growing larger almost by the day. Phase 3 development of the Science Park is being opened in stages. When fully completed, it will have room for an additional 150 companies and provide 4,000 additional technology and engineering jobs. That represents a lot of extra brain power in one place. It will also make the Science Park an even more effective high-tech home for technology clusters and breeding ground for start-ups.

     I encourage you all to investigate how Science Park can give your ideas wings to take off and fly. And I urge you to act quickly because about a third of the space in the Phase 3 development has already been reserved.

     In terms of funding support for application and commercialisation of R&D results, we are rolling out two new measures. The first is to set up a new Enterprise Support Scheme to replace the existing programme. Under this new Scheme, the funding ceiling will be raised from HK$6 million to HK$10 million for each project. And more importantly, the recipient company will be able to retain all the intellectual property rights of the project.

     Another initiative is to extend the scope of funding to include development work and system integration, industrial design, compliance testing as well as clinical trials. Through these measures, we shall be able to encourage more Hong Kong companies to upgrade their systems and conduct more R&D activities right here.

     To further reinforce the culture of innovation and technology in our community, we provide funding to designated universities to help promising R&D projects get off the ground and to encourage universities to commercialise their R&D results.

     Last, but by no means least, allow me to introduce you all to our new interactive portal, [email protected], which was launched by the Hong Kong Government in March this year. It serves as a one-stop shop for start-ups to promote their ideas and attract the attention of mentors and investors. [email protected] is tailored to suit tech start-ups, and I am sure that it will be of interest to many of you here today. So please do check it out.

     Ladies and gentlemen, I am delighted that Hong Kong is hosting this year's Asian Business Angel Forum. Since its launch in 2010, this has become a signature event to connect investors with inventors in our region.

     I wish you all a successful Forum, and our visitors a memorable and inspirational stay here in Hong Kong.

     Thank you very much and have a good day.

Ends/Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Issued at HKT 12:12

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