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Technology in focus for CE in Israel (with photos/videos)

     The Chief Executive, Mr C Y Leung, today (October 14, Israel time) continued to explore ways in which to learn from Israel's rich experience with the development of innovation and technology during a visit to Tel Aviv.

     Mr Leung and a delegation of Hong Kong industry leaders and academics started the day with a visit to a desalination plant at Sorek.

     The Sorek plant is the largest desalination plant using reverse osmosis technology in the world. During the visit, Mr Leung sampled water from the plant. "We are also embarking on the development of a desalination plant at Tseung Kwan O. It would help diversify the source of water supply in Hong Kong," the Chief Executive said.

     The Chief Executive then toured the Weizmann Institute of Science, one of Israel's leading multidisciplinary research institutions. He praised the institution's scientific research achievements and hoped there could be more co-operation in scientific research between Israel and Hong Kong in future.

     "We enjoy the free flow of capital, robust intellectual rights protection, a tradition of the common law system, the popular use of English, and a strong commitment to a level playing field for all businesses," Mr Leung added. "We can help by turning Israeli research into results, innovation ideas into products and profits."

     In the afternoon, Mr Leung, accompanied by the Mayor of Tel Aviv-Yafo, Mr Ron Huldai, will meet with two technology start-up companies and hear about their stories. Tel Aviv has the highest number of start-ups per capita in the world, and is widely acclaimed as the "Start-up city". Mr Leung hopes that the delegation could learn more about the experience of Tel Aviv in becoming the "Start-up City", and draw inspiration on how Hong Kong can further promote the ecosystem for technology start-ups.

     Mr Leung will also visit Tel Aviv University, where he will be briefed on the university's comprehensive technology transfer programme, which is one of the most successful in the world to commercialise research and development.

     Mr Leung hopes that, in addition to the university's current collaboration with different Hong Kong universities, there could be even more joint efforts in higher education and scientific research in future.

     Mr Leung will also speak at a cocktail reception to mark the opening of the Tel Aviv Consultant Office of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, highlighting Hong Kong's advantages and unique role connecting the Mainland of China with the rest of the world - including Israel. He will also mention Hong Kong's potential as the "Belt and Road" initiative's dealmaker in areas ranging from the enabling of trade, to investment promotion, intellectual property protection, professional services and dispute resolution.

     Between 2010 and 2014, Hong Kong's bilateral trade with Israel grew, on average, 14 per cent a year. Last year, it soared more than 16 per cent. In 2013, Hong Kong was Israel's third-largest trading partner and second-largest export market. Last year, Israel was Hong Kong's second-largest trading partner in the Middle East.

     Mr Leung departs for London tomorrow (October 15, Israel time) for a two-day official visit.

Ends/Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Issued at HKT 18:04


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