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LCQ5: Expediting development of innovation and technology in Hong Kong
     Following is a question by the Hon Yim Kong and a reply by the Acting Secretary for Innovation, Technology and Industry, Ms Lillian Cheong, in the Legislative Council today (April 19):
     There are views pointing out that the signing of the "Arrangement between the Mainland and Hong Kong on Expediting the Development of Hong Kong into an International Innovation and Technology Centre" by the Chief Executive and the Ministry of Science and Technology after this year's "two sessions" has highlighted the great importance attached by the Central Authorities to expediting the development of innovation and technology (I&T) in Hong Kong and the application and commercialisation of I&T results, and how the actual results can be achieved in the shortest possible time has become a prime concern of the Central Authorities and various sectors of Hong Kong. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) whether it will announce a roadmap of actions and a timetable for the Arrangement at an appropriate time;
(2) as there are views that the bringing in of major I&T enterprises can rapidly drive the development of I&T industries in the region, whether the Government can adopt an innovative mindset in granting land in the planning process of the Northern Metropolis, such as providing land to major I&T enterprises on concessionary terms and within the shortest possible time for them to first proceed with the development after it has signed with these enterprises undertakings that a certain amount of total investment will be brought and a certain number of jobs will be created; and
(3) of the number of I&T institutions or enterprises which are currently negotiating for setting up operation in the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park in the Lok Ma Chau Loop, and whether the Park and the Shenzhen branch of the Hong Kong Science Park in Futian District in Shenzhen will be managed under one roof?
     According to the Global Innovation Index 2022, the Shenzhen-Hong Kong-Guangzhou Science and Technology Cluster has been ranked second in the world for three consecutive years, which shows the unlimited potential of the development of science and technology innovation in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA). The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government will fully implement the spirit of the 20th National Congress and the "two sessions" and promote high-quality development of the GBA, particularly on the innovation and technology (I&T) front, so as to make greater contribution to the GBA and national development.
     To chart Hong Kong in moving towards the vision of an international I&T centre, the HKSAR Government promulgated the Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Development Blueprint in December last year to set out clear directions and major policies for the future I&T development in Hong Kong, including "to proactively integrate into the overall development of the country and consolidate our role as a bridge connecting the Mainland and the world".

     Having consulted the Development Bureau (DEVB), our reply to the various parts of the question raised by the Hon Yim is as follows:
(1) The flow of innovation elements between the Mainland and Hong Kong is crucial to our I&T development. Not only will it facilitate our integration into the national innovation system, but also enhance our overall I&T competitiveness. In recent years, a number of important science and technology measures benefitting Hong Kong have been launched to facilitate the effective cross-boundary flow of innovation elements such as research and development (R&D) materials, capital, data and talent between the two places.
     In March this year, the HKSAR Government and the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) signed the "Arrangement between the Mainland and Hong Kong on Expediting the Development of Hong Kong into an International Innovation and Technology Centre", which is an important step in fostering the development of Hong Kong into an international I&T centre and marks a new page of scientific and technological collaboration between the Mainland and Hong Kong. The Arrangement covers six major co-operation areas, including deepening the scientific collaboration between the two places, sharing of innovation resources, transforming of R&D outcomes, exchange of talent, leveraging Hong Kong's advantages as an international city and strengthening the co-ordination of communication. It provides an action plan for promoting the I&T co-operation with the Mainland and supports Hong Kong's development as an international I&T centre. The HKSAR Government will continue to actively dovetail with the MOST in relevant policy formulation for better co-ordination of communication among relevant departments in the Mainland and Hong Kong on matters such as I&T policies and resources, etc, and to rationalise relevant arrangements and formulate specific actions, with a view to promoting the effective implementation of the Arrangement and expediting the development of Hong Kong into an international I&T centre.

(2) and (3) In his 2022 Policy Address, the Chief Executive set the objective of promoting technology industry development through attracting enterprises and talents to Hong Kong, primarily focusing on technology industries in which we enjoy clear advantages and with strategic significance such as life and health technology, artificial intelligence and data science, advanced manufacturing and new energy technology.

     Under the Northern Metropolis Development Strategy, the San Tin Technopole will provide at least 240 hectares (ha) of land for I&T-related uses, including the 87 ha of land in the Loop for the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park (HSITP). The DEVB will commence consultation on the planning and development proposals and land use planning of the San Tin Technopole in the second quarter this year. Regarding the planning of land including the sites for I&T use in the San Tin area and other sites in the area, subject to funding approval by the Legislative Council, it is estimated that the works departments can commence the site formation works of the first batch of new land for I&T uses in the fourth quarter of 2024. Meanwhile, the Innovation, Technology and Industry Bureau (ITIB) also plans to commence a consultancy study on the new land for I&T uses in the second quarter this year with a view to exploring I&T fields or industries suitable for development in there, as well as the required infrastructure and supporting facilities. Besides, the construction works of the first three buildings in the HSITP have commenced and are expected to be completed in phases starting from the end of 2024 as scheduled. In response to the latest planning and market developments in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, the HKSAR Government and the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park Limited are now exploring plans to expedite and optimise the development of Phase 1 of the HSITP, and exploring different development modes, increase of plot ratio and inclusion of more land for I&T uses, with a view to maximising the benefits of the HSITP. We will announce the relevant details in due course.

     The ITIB is now working closely with the Office for Attracting Strategic Enterprises to press ahead the work of attracting Mainland and overseas I&T enterprises to establish or expand their presence in Hong Kong and attracting various I&T enterprises from key strategic industries to set up their business at locations including the Loop and the land for I&T uses around San Tin area. As it involves various enterprises and industries and the content of negotiation is sensitive, the ITIB will announce the details at suitable junctures.

     In addition, the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation is establishing the Shenzhen branch of the Hong Kong Science Park (the Shenzhen branch) in Futian, Shenzhen. Institutes and enterprises which are interested in starting their business in the GBA could first establish presence in there first. The Shenzhen branch has two buildings providing an estimated gross floor area of about 31 000 square metres, and is expected to commence operation in the first half of 2023. Currently, we do not have plan to integrate the management of the Shenzhen branch and HSITP under one roof.

     Thank you, President.
Ends/Wednesday, April 19, 2023
Issued at HKT 14:40
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