Policy Address: Four steps to unleashing Hong Kong's I&T potential

     Unveiling his Policy Address today (October 19), the Chief Executive, Mr John Lee, set out a four-pronged strategy for taking Hong Kong’s innovation and technology (I&T) development to the next level.
     The key areas include enhancing the city's I&T ecosystem, enlarging the pool of local and non-local I&T talents, developing Hong Kong into a smart city and proactively integrating into the overall development of the country.
     "I&T provides key impetus for Hong Kong's high-quality economic development," Mr Lee said.
     "To chart Hong Kong in moving full steam towards our vision of an international I&T centre, the Government will promulgate the Hong Kong I&T Development Blueprint within this year to set out major policies under four broad development directions."
Enhancing I&T ecosystem and achieving re-industrialisation
     Mr Lee said the Government would earmark $10 billion to launch a "Research, Academic and Industry Sectors One‑plus Scheme" next year.
     Funding would be provided on a matching basis for at least 100 research teams in universities which have good potential to become start-ups. 
     "Each team should complete its project in two stages: the first stage for the transformation and realisation of research and development (R&D) outcomes within three years and the second stage for the commercialisation of R&D outcomes within the subsequent two years," Mr Lee said.
     "The aim is to incentivise collaboration amongst the industry, academic and research sectors to further promote the '1 to N' transformation of R&D outcomes and the industry development."
     The Government, Mr Lee said, would collaborate with the new Office for Attracting Strategic Enterprises as well as make use of the $5 billion Strategic Tech Fund to promote development of the technology industry.
     "We will attract high‑quality enterprises and talents to Hong Kong, primarily focusing on industries such as life and health technology, artificial intelligence and data science, as well as advanced manufacturing and new energy technology," Mr Lee said.
     "It is our goal to attract not less than 100 high‑potential or representative I&T enterprises to set up or expand their businesses in Hong Kong in the coming five years, including at least 20 top-notch I&T enterprises, bringing more than $10 billion of investment to Hong Kong and creating thousands of local job opportunities."
     A new post of Commissioner for Industry will be created for co-ordinating and steering the strategy on re-industrialisation and assisting the manufacturing sector in Hong Kong in upgrading and transformation by making use of I&T.
     More smart production lines will be set up, with the aim of increasing the cumulative number of smart production lines from about 30 at present to more than 130 within five years.
Enlarging the I&T talent pool
     To boost the pool of I&T talent, the Chief Executive said the Government would roll out additional measures to attract more overseas expertise and investment while also nurturing local talents.
     The Technology Talent Admission Scheme would be enhanced by lifting the local employment requirement, extending the quota validity period to two years and expanding the coverage to more emerging technology areas, Mr Lee said.
     The Government will also expand the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Internship Scheme so as to offer local I&T internship opportunities to university students studying STEM programmes overseas or in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) campuses established by designated local universities.
Developing Hong Kong into a smart city
     The Chief Executive said the Government aims to turn all government services online within two years, and providing one-stop digital services by fully adopting “iAM Smart” within three years so as to realise "single portal for online government services". 
     Mr Lee added that the Government would continue to actively open up data and encourage public and private organisations to follow suit for innovative applications by the industry.
Proactively integrating into overall national development
     The Chief Executive pointed out that the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park (HSITP) in the Lok Ma Chau Loop served as the bridgehead for I&T co‑operation between Hong Kong and Shenzhen. On the basis of "one zone, two parks", Hong Kong would study the trial implementation of a cross-boundary policy on I&T co-operation in an innovative, exclusive and designated manner.
     HSITP will start providing land and space for I&T uses from 2024.
     "We will proactively attract Mainland and overseas I&T enterprises to the HSITP, providing key impetus for the development of an international I&T centre in the GBA," the Chief Executive said.

Ends/Wednesday, October 19, 2022
Issued at HKT 14:21