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Opening remarks by S for IT at ASTRI Industry and University Collaboration Forum 2017 (English only)
     Following are the opening remarks by the Secretary for Innovation and Technology, Mr Nicholas W Yang, at the Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI) Industry and University Collaboration Forum 2017 with a theme of "Connecting the Dots for Re-industrialisation - the Greater Bay Area Landscape" today (November 14):

M Y (Board Chairman of ASTRI, Mr Wong Ming-yam), Professor Tsui (Founding President of the Academy of Sciences of Hong Kong, Professor Tsui Lap-chee), distinguished guests, friends, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good morning. I am glad to be back at this year's ASTRI Industry and University Collaboration Forum. We are privileged to have distinguished technology experts, industry leaders and academics to share with us today their experience and know-how on re-industralisation, and explore the opportunities arising from the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area development. I believe both subjects have far-reaching implications to the sustainable growth of Hong Kong's industry and future.

     In the face of global competition, Hong Kong must diversify our economy and develop high value-added industries. We are not doing this in vacuum: Hong Kong was once the manufacturing hub of the region and the first generation of industrialists contributed significantly to the industrialisation of our mother country back in the '80s. Just like the Pearl River Delta Region became the "factory of the world", the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area, with a combined GDP exceeding that of the San Francisco Bay Area and three times its size, has the potential to become the next economic powerhouse of the Mainland, if not the world.

     As the Chief Executive has mentioned in her Policy Address last month, the Government will actively participate in the development of the Bay Area, so as to create favourable conditions for diversifying our economy, in particular for promoting innovation and technology (I&T) development. Hong Kong and Shenzhen will join hands to develop an international innovation and technology hub in the Bay Area.

     At the same time, the Government will work to secure our competitive advantages in business, a robust legal system, and intellectual property protection. We are also seeking further facilitation measures for Hong Kong people to study, to work and to start up and to do business, to live and to retire in the Bay Area. This will facilitate our researchers in commercialising their R&D outcomes jointly with the industry sector. Let me first share with you the key government initiatives in promoting innovation and technology development.

     Regarding I&T infrastructure, we are building a Data Technology Hub and an Advanced Manufacturing Centre in Tseung Kwan O Industrial Estate, which will be completed in 2020 and 2022 respectively. These two premises will serve as a focal point of intelligent manufacturing as well as further enhance our capacity in data sciences and related industries in Hong Kong. 

     With funding from the Government, the Hong Kong Productivity Council has set up the Inno Space last month to support re-industrialisation in Hong Kong. The Inno Space provides workspace and technical support to assist start-up entrepreneurs, students and graduates in developing their innovative ideas into industrial design, which may subsequently be translated into products through prototyping. 

     In terms of R&D, we have set a target to increase the resources for R&D in the next five years to $45 billion, with a view to doubling the ratio of gross domestic expenditure on R&D from 0.73 per cent to 1.5 per cent. We will continue to render our support for R&D under the Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF) for upgrading of our manufacturing and service industries. To encourage private enterprises to invest more into R&D, we have announced a ground-breaking "super tax deduction" to stimulate private sector R&D by giving the first $2 million of eligible R&D expenditure a 300 per cent tax deduction, with the remainder at 200 per cent. In doing so, we hope to see a reversal of the ratio of public versus private sector expenditure on R&D from government-led to private sector-led.

     On the manpower front, we are launching a new $500 million Technology Talent Scheme and enhanced the allowances and scope of our existing Internship Programme. A new Postdoctoral Hub programme will be launched to provide funding subsidy for organisations to recruit postdoctoral talents to conduct R&D work. Organisations undertaking ITF projects as well as incubatees and tenants of the Science Park, Industrial Estates and Cyberport can benefit from the programme. The Scheme will also subsidise local enterprises on a matching basis for training their staff in advanced manufacturing technologies, especially those related to "Industry 4.0". 

     Perhaps I should add here that the most important part of our equation for success is you - talents from the technology sector, industry and academia. For you are the "magic sauce" in our vision of re-industrialisation and reaping the opportunities of the Bay Area development. ASTRI, being our flagship R&D centre, is well positioned to be your partner. "Intelligent Manufacturing" is one of ASTRI's technology foci. Over the years, ASTRI has developed technologies on robotic vision, integrated power module packaging, predictive analytics for big data and the Internet of Things. These technologies enable information-centric operations and highly automated manufacturing processes to replace labour intensive work, which is necessary for progress towards Industry 4.0. I am glad that ASTRI has won the Hong Kong Awards for Industry last year for developing a touch-panel glass defect inspection system, which improves the efficiency and quality of product line inspection, a prime example of smart and efficient manufacturing processes.

     Ladies and gentlemen, I look forward to you coming up with more ideas to connect the dots for re-industrialisation and capture the opportunities arising from the Bay Area development. I appeal to all of you to join hands with the Government and ASTRI to tackle the challenges ahead.

     Last but not least, I would like to thank ASTRI for putting together a thoughtful and inspiring programme for this year's Forum. I wish the Forum a big success and all the participants fruitful sharing.  

     Thank you.
Ends/Tuesday, November 14, 2017
Issued at HKT 12:26
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