Speech by S for IT at launch event of Infiniti Accelerator 2.0 (English only) (with photos)

     Following is the speech by the Secretary for Innovation and Technology, Mr Nicholas W Yang, at the launch event of Infiniti Accelerator 2.0 today (July 4):

Roland (President of Infiniti Motor Company Limited, Mr Roland Krueger), Will (Head of Nest Innovation, Mr Will Ross), distinguished guests, friends, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good afternoon. It is a great pleasure for me to be back at the Infiniti LAB again to join you all at the launch of the Infiniti Accelerator 2.0.

     Last year, I attended the opening of the Infiniti LAB. I am pleased that the Accelerator 1.0 programme has been successful, and some participants have secured investment for their businesses. A year on, we are here to inaugurate the launch of the Accelerator 2.0. I would like to congratulate Infiniti Motor for its efforts and commitments in nurturing local start-ups in Hong Kong.

     The Hong Kong technology start-up landscape has seen a remarkable growth in recent years. According to a global consultancy study, Hong Kong is ranked number five in terms of fastest growing start-up ecosystems and the world's top 25 start-up hubs. In 2015, the number of start-ups in Hong Kong grew by 46 per cent compared to a year ago. As of August 2015, there were about 1 600 start-ups and over 40 incubators, accelerators and co-working spaces in Hong Kong.

     Infiniti is one of the earliest corporate sponsored accelerators setting foot in Hong Kong. We are also glad to see more international companies setting up their own accelerators to take advantage of the vibrant start-up scene in Hong Kong.

     Promoting innovation and technology start-ups is one of the Innovation and Technology Bureau's top priorities. We will submit later this week our proposal to set up a $2 billion Innovation and Technology Venture Fund to the LegCo Finance Committee. Through this new Venture Fund, the Government will co-invest with private venture capital funds on a matching basis, which means a total of $6 billion. We hope to attract more smart money from professional VCs and give a further boost to our start-up ecosystem.

     At the same time, the Cyberport will allocate $200 million to launch the Cyberport Macro Fund, on top of the already successful Cyberport Micro Fund programme. To step up its support for start-ups, Cyberport will also double the quota of its incubation programme, establish new clusters for areas such as financial technology and e-commerce and increase its co-working space by 50 per cent. These initiatives, together with the one here today, will help nurture more aspiring start-ups in Hong Kong.

     This year's Infiniti Accelerator 2.0 programme continues to adopt the theme of smart city with a focus on connectivity technologies for future intelligent cities and urban development. Indeed, major cities around the world are pursuing the development of smart city. Some have already been quite successful. The main objectives of smart city are to enhance city management, improve the livelihood of the general public and the sustainable development of the city itself.

     The Hong Kong SAR Government is committed to building Hong Kong into a smart city. With our advanced information and communications technology infrastructure and excellent city management experience, Hong Kong is well positioned to pursue smart city development. In fact, we are an early adopter of Internet of Things technologies. Government departments as well as public and private organisations have adopted sensors and related technologies to improve their service delivery. For instance, the Transport Department deploys sensors now at busy roads for collection of real-time transport data, the Drainage Services Department uses intelligent ultrasonic sensors to detect water levels in manholes for prioritising maintenance and cleaning works to minimise flooding risks, and the Civil Engineering and Development Department uses sensors to monitor slope conditions for landslide prevention.

     The Government will soon commission a consultancy study to map out a blueprint for Hong Kong in terms of smart city development. We shall make references to best practices overseas and in the Mainland. The blueprint will also encompass long-term development plans up to 2030, strategy for open data initiative, governance framework and structure for formulating sector-specific smart city action plans. It will also cover the required digital infrastructure including technical standards, as well as mechanisms to ensure information security and privacy protection. We will also formulate strategies and initiatives to address major urban challenges that we are facing today.

     However, the Government cannot do it alone in developing Hong Kong into a smart city. Our coming consultancy study will look into possible modes of public-private collaboration, so as to tap the creativity and research excellence of the academia and also encourage the business sector to innovate and invest in smart city solutions.

     Hence, I very much welcome private sector initiatives, such as the Infiniti Accelerator 2.0 programme, to continue to contribute ideas to the development of the start-up ecosystems and smart city initiatives for Hong Kong.

     So, let us all work together and work hard together for the future of Hong Kong.
     Thank you very much.

Ends/Monday, July 4, 2016
Issued at HKT 17:53