Opening remarks by SITI at LegCo Finance Committee special meeting
Innovation and technology (I&T) is a key engine of economic growth. The Government promulgated the Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Development Blueprint (Blueprint) last year and sets out four broad development directions and eight major strategies. The 2023-24 Budget corresponds to the relevant recommendations in the Blueprint and puts forth multiple measures in the following four perspectives, including (i) consolidating Hong Kong's research and development (R&D) strengths and promoting technology industry development; (ii) developing digital infrastructure and promoting digital transformation; (iii) nurturing technology start-ups and talent; and (iv) developing I&T infrastructure and promoting new industrialisation. I will give a brief overview of the relevant key measures in the Budget as follows.
(i) Consolidating Hong Kong's R&D strengths and promoting technology industry development
The 2023-24 Budget launched a series of measures to consolidate Hong Kong's R&D strengths and promote technology industry development. We will support the development of Web3, frontier technology fields, such as life and health technology, artificial intelligence and quantum technology, and key industries, such as microelectronics. Key measures include allocating $50 million to expedite the Web3 ecosystem development in Hong Kong, setting aside $6 billion out of the $10 billion earmarked to provide subsidies for universities and research institutes to set up thematic research centres related to life and health technology, earmarking $3 billion to promote the development of frontier technology fields, as well as planning to establish a Microelectronics Research and Development Institute. Not only can these measures support the development of relevant industries, at the same time, they can also further enhance Hong Kong's I&T ecosystem in order to expedite the development of a collaborative innovation system of the industry, academic and research sectors, create greater synergy among industries, and better realise our basic technology research capabilities in making breakthroughs out of the blue.
(ii) Developing digital infrastructure and promoting digital transformation
Concerning the development of digital infrastructure, we will conduct a feasibility study on the development of an Artificial Intelligence Supercomputing Centre, which is expected to provide adequate computing infrastructure for promoting the development of industries. The study will be completed in 2023-24.
The Government has always been dedicated to promoting digital transformation. We will set aside $500 million for Cyberport to launch a Digital Transformation Support Pilot Programme, under which subsidies will be provided on a one-to-one matching basis to assist SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) in applying ready-to-use basic digital solutions, thus facilitating their digitalisation.
(iii) Nurturing technology start-ups and talent
Nurturing technology start-ups and talent is crucial to enhancing the I&T ecosystem. The Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTPC) will inject $400 million into its Corporate Venture Fund and allocate $110 million to launch the Co-acceleration Programme to support the growth of technology start-ups with high potential into regional or global enterprises. Furthermore, a provision of $265 million has been earmarked for Cyberport to launch a dedicated incubation programme for smart living start-ups. It is anticipated that about 90 start-ups will benefit from the programme in each of the next five years. We will also earmark $300 million to extend the IT Innovation Lab in Secondary Schools Programme to provide more I&T talent for the local I&T industry and enterprises in the long run.
(iv) Developing I&T infrastructure and promoting new industrialisation
Lastly, we are pressing ahead with the planning and construction of different I&T infrastructure projects. For example, the first three buildings of the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park in the Lok Ma Chau Loop will be gradually completed from the end of next year onwards, while the Planning Department and Civil Engineering and Development Department will begin the consultation on the development proposals and land use planning of San Tin Technopole in the second quarter of this year for commencement of site formation works in 2024, with a view to commencing site formation after obtaining the Legislative Council's funding approval. The HKSTPC is also conducting a feasibility study on the setting up of the second Advanced Manufacturing Centre. These new infrastructure will be conducive to the development of I&T enterprises and promote new industrialisation.
Apart from implementing the measures put forward in the Budget, the Innovation, Technology and Industry Bureau (ITIB) will press ahead with other key tasks, including supporting the commercialisation of R&D outcomes, cultivating I&T culture, encouraging technology adoption and continuing to implement the initiatives set out by Smart City Blueprint for Hong Kong 2.0 with a view to benefitting the general public with the convenience brought about by technology adoption in their daily lives.
Currently, Hong Kong's I&T ecosystem is becoming more vibrant. Our country has always offered strong support for Hong Kong's I&T development, with the National 14th Five-Year Plan indicating clear support for Hong Kong's development into an international I&T hub. We are fully confident in Hong Kong's journey in I&T development and will continue to invest in I&T to pursue high-quality economic development. I would like to thank Members again for the support all along on I&T development. I appeal for the continual support of Members and the public for the work of the ITIB. Thank you, Chairman and Members.
Ends/Friday, April 14, 2023
Issued at HKT 20:02
Issued at HKT 20:02