Speech by S for IT at Launch Ceremony of PolyU InnoHub (English only) (with photos)

     Following is the speech by the Secretary for Innovation and Technology, Mr Nicholas W Yang, at the Launch Ceremony of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) InnoHub today (March 15):

TC (Council Chairman of PolyU, Mr Ignatius Chan), Tim (President of PolyU, Professor Timothy Tong), distinguished guests, friends, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good afternoon. I am delighted to be back at PolyU again, and join you all here today at the Polytechnic University InnoHub Launch Ceremony.

     Since the establishment of the Innovation and Technology Bureau in November 2015, the Government has made a substantial investment of $18 billion to enhance Hong Kong's innovation and technology ecosystem. In this year's Budget speech, the Financial Secretary announced that the Government will reserve a further $10 billion for supporting innovation and technology development in Hong Kong.

     We have seen encouraging signs in the local start-up ecosystem during the past two years. The number of co-working spaces, incubators and accelerators has almost hit 50. Hong Kong has about 2 000 innovation and technology start-ups. Both recorded a 24 per cent increase compared to a year ago. Almost 40 per cent of the start-ups were started by overseas entrepreneurs from outside of Hong Kong or returnees. This is an excellent testimonial of Hong Kong's strength to attract and blend the best talents and ideas from all over the world.

     Industry-specific accelerator programmes and co-working spaces here in Hong Kong play a key role in grooming innovation and technology talents, this one included. Look who and what have coming to Hong Kong: WeWork, the Elevator World Tour, Facebook teaming up with four Hong Kong partners to launch FbStart, and the Hong Kong X-Tech Startup Platform initiated by Sequoia Capital. Simply put, people around the world see opportunities in Hong Kong!

     I am delighted to see the establishment of the InnoHub at PolyU. It drives entrepreneurship, knowledge transfer and supports start-ups. Apart from co-working space and mentorship, the PolyU InnoHub provides networking opportunities with investors, the industries and stakeholders in Hong Kong, in the Mainland and overseas. 

     I look forward to the InnoHub becoming a focal point where our young pioneers will develop innovative ideas and unleash their entrepreneurial potential. I understand that eligible start-ups for InnoHub are not confined to those from PolyU only, but also include participants of other incubation programmes at Cyberport, Science Park, Hong Kong Design Centre and Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups.  With such a diverse group of talents, I believe InnoHub will contribute to more deal flows in the local start-up community.

     The Government will continue to foster a strong and prosperous start-up scene in Hong Kong. The Technology Start-up Support Scheme for Universities has also helped six local universities to set up over 120 technology start-ups to commercialise their research and development results into products and services. About $66 million has been provided so far. In addition, the Government will continue to increase the quotas for incubation programmes run by the Science Park and Cyberport, and to establish new clusters to meet market demand, such as FinTech and e-commerce.

     In June of this year, we will launch the $2 billion Innovation and Technology Venture Fund to co-invest with private venture capitalists (VCs) on a matching basis in our local innovation and technology start-ups. It will fill the gap in the pre-Series A venture funding here in Hong Kong, while leveraging the expertise of professional VCs to raise the standards and culture of our local start-ups.

     "Connection" and "collaboration" are crucial to build a robust innovation and technology ecosystem. The 2017 Policy Address announced two new projects which enhance the collaborative culture of the innovation and technology community. The Science Park plans to construct an InnoCell. It will provide residential units and shared working spaces for leasing to staff and collaborators of the Science Park tenants. The Productivity Council will establish an Inno Space. It will facilitate the sharing of practical technologies and skills, putting innovative and technological ideas into industrial designs or products, and support Hong Kong's re-industrialisation.

     The right policy and the joint efforts of the Government, industry, academia and research sector are equally important. Together we can build a robust ecosystem to spur innovation and nurture start-ups on a sustainable basis.

     I hope the PolyU InnoHub will play a pivotal role and go from strength to strength in the years to come. Thank you very much.

Ends/Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Issued at HKT 18:09