Speech by CE at Hong Kong Science Park Expansion Programme Ground Breaking Ceremony (English only) (with photos/video)
Fanny (Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP), Mrs Fanny Law), Albert (Chief Executive Officer of the HKSTP, Mr Albert Wong), Professor Yu (member of the Board of Directors of the HKSTP Professor Albert Yu), government colleagues, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Good afternoon. I have just returned from the APEC meetings in Peru and arrived back at Chek Lap Kok just under three hours ago. Lima airport to our airport took about 27 hours, and the airlines promised to deliver me back to Hong Kong on time, and they did. So thanks to the airlines.
The Science Park must be one of the most frequently visited places for me in the past year. Six months ago, I celebrated with you the 15th anniversary of the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation here. And over these 15 years, the Science Park has helped entrepreneurs turn possibilities into realities, dreams into success. In the process it has helped Hong Kong advance.
The Science Park, meanwhile, has also grown and evolved - the completion of its Phase 3 development earlier this year was a significant milestone. From a piece of reclaimed land at the Tolo Harbour waterfront, the Science Park has become home to over 620 local, Mainland and foreign technology companies. Now more than 11 000 people work here.
And I applaud Mr Tung Chee Hwa, the first Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, who led us on this journey some 20 years ago, for his vision.
Today, the Science Park is our most important innovation and technology focus. Physical space and laboratory equipment apart, the Park offers one of the largest and most successful technology incubation programmes in the city. It also helps partner companies grow their businesses. And the Science Park is actively promoting three overarching, cross-disciplinary platforms, namely healthy ageing, robotics and smart city. These platforms provide a focus and are designed to facilitate integration of technology in innovative products, to help I&T companies thrive.
The Science Park's work supports the Government's "re-industrialisation" vision and mission. To maintain our competitiveness in the 21st century, Hong Kong must move towards a high-tech economy. We must develop high-value added industries, so as to diversify the economic base and provide better jobs, and better choice of jobs with higher incomes to the Hong Kong people, in particular our young people.
By "re-industrialisation", I mean picking the winners - the industries and sectors that Hong Kong has a leading edge in, the ones that fit well into our economic and physical environments. Healthy ageing, robotics and smart city are three such areas, alongside biotechnology, big data and others.
A year ago - it was actually a year and two days ago - the Government established a dedicated bureau, the Innovation and Technology Bureau, to formulate policies and drive I&T developments in Hong Kong. I am pleased to note that, at the bureau's first anniversary, our efforts have gained good traction. An I&T awakening is obvious. The media has become more interested in I&T stories. Advocacy and messaging through the media are abundant. Incubators, co-work spaces and tech hubs are springing up. And there is much stronger engagement between the Government, the industry, the academia and the research sector.
In this year's Policy Address and Budget, the Government has committed over $18 billion to boost I&T development - a $2 billion Innovation and Technology Venture Fund to encourage investment in I&T enterprises, and a $2 billion injection into the Innovation and Technology Fund to encourage midstream research in universities, as well as commercialisation of R&D outcomes. Another $500 million was invested into the Innovation and Technology Fund for Better Living - to promote I&T applications that make our daily life more convenient, more comfortable and safer.
We are, of course, investing a great deal in the hardware of our I&T bases. These include the major infrastructural projects at the Tseung Kwun O Industrial Estate and the Science Park.
Within six months of its establishment, the Innovation and Technology Bureau secured $4.4 billion from the Legislative Council for the Science Park expansion project. By 2020, we will be seeing two tower blocks with an additional office space of over 70 000 square metres, increasing the total floor space of Science Park to some 400 000 square metres. The Park's annual economic contribution to Hong Kong will increase from $10.8 billion today to $19 billion when full occupancy is reached for the expanded Science Park.
Looking ahead, the Government will continue to work hand in hand with the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation to drive I&T and promote "re-industrialisation". The Corporation will develop an Advanced Manufacturing Centre, and a Data Technology Hub in the Industrial Estate to promote smart production and high-end manufacturing. This huge development project is estimated to cost about $8.2 billion. The Government will also identify suitable sites near the Liantang/Heung Yuen Wai Boundary Control Point to meet the long-term needs of I&T industries in Hong Kong.
Last month, I had the pleasure of officiating at the inauguration of the Ming Wai Lau Centre for Reparative Medicine, here in the Science Park. The Centre is a result of collaboration between Hong Kong and Karolinska Institutet, a prestigious medical university that selects Nobel laureates in physiology or medicine, and world leader in key biomedical research fields. The Centre is Karolinska's first centre outside Sweden in its history of more than 200 years.
At the ceremony, I pointed out how world-class institutions such as Karolinska and Massachusetts Institute of Technology make use of Hong Kong as a base for "super-connecting" onto the Pearl River Delta Region and the whole of the Mainland of China.
Indeed, our combined advantages under "one country, two systems", close connection to the industrial bases in the Mainland, together with a deep talent pool, robust intellectual property regime, sound legal system and first-rate technology infrastructure, promise great prospects for Hong Kong's I&T industries.
I encourage the community, especially our young people, to reach out for Hong Kong's I&T future. We are in the right place, and at the right time, for I&T are being supported not only in Hong Kong, but also on the country level. In the National 13th Five-Year Plan, the country supports Hong Kong in developing I&T industries, and encourages our young people to start businesses in the Mainland.
Ladies and gentlemen, Hong Kong is not alone in the pursuit of technology. And innovation and technology are not just about profits. They are also about life, the quality of life, of every man, woman and child in all walks of life. In the Declaration issued yesterday at the end of the 2016 APEC meeting, the Leaders of the 21 economies declared, among other things, that "ICT plays a vitally important role in human development".
I thank you all for the support you have given Hong Kong in this journey towards a new, innovative and high-tech society. In particular, I should thank you, Fanny, Albert, Professor Yu, and all your colleagues in the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation, for your dedication and commitment. I congratulate the Corporation on the launch of this expansion project, and wish the Park every success.
Ends/Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Issued at HKT 16:01
Issued at HKT 16:01