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Speech by S for IT at Internet of Things Conference of APAC Innovation Summit 2016 Series (English only) (with photos)

     Following is the speech by the Secretary for Innovation and Technology, Mr Nicholas W Yang, at the Internet of Things Conference of the APAC Innovation Summit 2016 Series today (April 7):

Fanny (Chairperson of the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation, Mrs Fanny Law), distinguished speakers and guests, friends, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good morning. It is my great pleasure to join you all at the Internet of Things, or IoT, Conference of the APAC Innovation Summit 2016 Series. The central theme of today's Conference is "re-industrialisation" and how IoT development may contribute to re-industrialisation both in Hong Kong and globally. I do believe that the application of IoT technologies is one of the key drivers of re-industrialisation.

     Hong Kong, as an international trade and financial centre, has the unique advantage to pursue innovative research and applications of IoT. We can leverage on Hong Kong's excellent legal system and robust protection for intellectual property rights, our excellent R&D talent in universities, as well as the expertise and experience of Hong Kong industrialists. With our close proximity to the huge Mainland market, and the combined advantage of "one country, two systems", Hong Kong has all the elements to make innovation and technology industries flourish.

     Over the years, the Government has injected resources and launched measures to support the development of innovation and technology in Hong Kong. From 2001 to 2014, there was an average annual growth of about 7 per cent in total R&D expenditure, reaching almost HK$17 billion in 2014. The number of companies operating in the Hong Kong Science Park has increased from just under 160 in 2007 to nearly 600 by the end of February 2016, providing some 13 000 jobs. On the other hand, we have been promoting adoption of IoT technologies in government departments in various areas. For example, the Customs and Excise Department adopted the e-lock-based enabling technology to facilitate their daily monitoring of container cargoes to shorten customs clearance time, and we still have a lot of container cargoes to clear every day.

     Hong Kong's industries can definitely ride on the opportunity of IoT development to drive re-industrialisation based on intelligent manufacturing. Re-industrialisation could provide the much needed diversified economic growth for Hong Kong. We plan to promote smart production and research at the Tseung Kwan O Industrial Estate by building multi-storey, high-efficiency buildings. Advanced manufacturing industries using robotics and information technology will work together to drive the development of the entire value chain, covering R&D, design, production, testing, as well as marketing and branding. It is estimated that this project will cost about $8.2 billion and will be completed in 2021-2022. We also encourage industrial upgrading and transformation through the Hong Kong Productivity Council to assist enterprises to embrace re-industrialisation and move towards high value-added production.

     In addition, the Hong Kong Science Park provides not only well-equipped office space and laboratories for R&D to its partner companies, but also comprehensive technical and corporate development support built around its five key technology clusters, and focuses on three cross-disciplinary platforms, namely smart city, robotics and healthy ageing. Among the 276 partner companies in the ICT cluster, there are 98 companies involved in IoT.

     Since the establishment of the Innovation and Technology Bureau in November 2015, the Government has spared no effort to kick-start the development of our innovation and technology industries. We aim to promote innovation and technology development to transform Hong Kong into a knowledge-based economy, grow our economy and provide quality employment opportunities, especially for our young people. We will do so by creating a sustainable innovation ecosystem in Hong Kong through co-operation with the industry, academia and research sector. Apart from providing financial support for R&D and commercialisation to the industry and research sector, we also aim to nurture and attract world-class talents to Hong Kong. Riding on the opportunities from the National 13th Five-Year Plan announced just recently, we will strengthen our collaboration with the Mainland and other economies in innovation and technology, to enable Hong Kong to serve as the "super-connector" between the Mainland and the rest of the world, and open up more business opportunities for our industries.

     This year, the Government has announced a number of new initiatives to support innovation and technology in the 2016 Policy Address and Budget. One of them is a new $500 million Pilot Technology Voucher Programme, to provide a maximum subsidy of $200,000 for each eligible SME on a matching basis, for them to adopt technological services and solutions to improve productivity, and upgrade or transform their business processes. We also plan to inject $2 billion to launch a Midstream Research Programme to provide funding support for UGC-funded institutions to carry out more midstream and applied research projects in key technology areas, such as smart city, robotics and healthy ageing. As I mentioned just now, these are also the same technology areas that the Science Park will focus on in the coming years.

     In addition, the Government has increased the level of cash rebate under the R&D Cash Rebate Scheme to 40 per cent to encourage private enterprises, SMEs in particular, to put more resources into R&D, and will extend the Public Sector Trial Scheme to cover more incubatees for funding their production of prototypes and conduct trials of their R&D results.

     A common objective of these initiatives is to encourage more universities, research institutions and private enterprises to invest in R&D and to translate our outstanding local R&D achievements into products and services with commercial value.

     In the face of global competition, Hong Kong needs advanced and ICT-enabled smart manufacturing. IoT is among the core opportunities of this global megatrend. I look forward to this Conference generating innovative ideas for Hong Kong's industries and partners from overseas in this regard.

     Some of you may probably know that the Chief Executive in Council approved in March the extension of the existing concessionary scheme to encourage the development of data centres by converting old existing industrial buildings and lease modification. Concessions, including exempting waiver fees for applications for change of use in parts of industrial buildings to data centres of all tiers, are no longer time-limited. As we gear up for IoT, definitely there will be increasing use of cloud computing and big data applications. The Government is committed to creating a favourable environment for innovation and technology industries to thrive.

     Lastly, I would like to thank the Hong Kong Science Park for organising this premier international event. This is an excellent platform for industry practitioners and technology experts to collaborate and share insights on the evolving trends of IoT, particularly their applications in the manufacturing industry. I wish you all a fruitful exchange here. For overseas and Mainland participants, I wish you all a very wonderful stay in Hong Kong.
     Before I end my talk, I would like to draw your attention to the International IT Fest 2016. The IT Fest will run starting from next Monday, April 11 to 23, featuring some 40 events that showcase Hong Kong's achievements in IT innovation. So, please don't miss it.
     Thank you very much.

Ends/Thursday, April 7, 2016
Issued at HKT 12:52


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