Speech by SITI at Asia Summit on Global Health Panel Discussion: Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area as the Powerhouse of Healthcare Innovation (English only) (with photo)
Simon (Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited, Mr Simon Chan), Margaret (Executive Director of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, Ms Margaret Fong), Professor Wong (Deputy President and Provost of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Professor Wong Wing-tak), distinguished speakers and guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Good afternoon. I am pleased to join you all at the Asia Summit on Global Health. I recall that I attended the second Summit last November. Time flies and I am meeting you again today on the same occasion to share the pivotal role of Hong Kong in the development of Healthcare Innovation in the Greater Bay Area, GBA in short.
Hong Kong is blessed with the staunch support by the Central Government and our strategic location in the GBA. The National 14th Five-Year Plan indicates clear support for Hong Kong's development into an international innovation and technology (I&T) centre and also emphasises on frontier fields such as life and health technology. We will leverage on Hong Kong's strengths in I&T, and the close connection with the Mainland, with a view to capitalising on the enormous opportunity brought about by the GBA development and contributing to the national development.
To establish a clear development path and formulate systematic strategic planning for Hong Kong's I&T development over the next five to 10 years, we have published the Hong Kong I&T Development Blueprint last December which sets out four broad development directions, formulates eight major strategies, and devises specific development targets at different stages with a vision to develop Hong Kong into an international I&T centre. Life and health technology has been identified as one of the focus industries in the Blueprint and the Government will spare no effort in enhancing our support to its research and start-ups.
As I have mentioned last year, Hong Kong has strong research capabilities in life and health sciences, as well as in fundamental R&D (research and development). With five world's top 100 universities, two world's leading 40 medical schools and numerous award-winning scholars and researchers, Hong Kong is on its way to becoming a world-class R&D centre on life and health sciences, benefitting patients and our communities in Hong Kong, the GBA, throughout the region and around the world.
Hong Kong also has a vibrant biotech ecosystem which is conducive to the growth of life and health tech-related start-ups. Hong Kong is now Asia's largest and the world's second-largest fundraising hub for biotechnology companies. As at March 2023, 56 pre-revenue, pre-profit biotech companies have listed in Hong Kong, raising over $116 billion.
The Government attaches great importance to further enhancing Hong Kong's research capability and international network. We have rolled out various initiatives to support the relevant "software" and "hardware" development. On "software" side, I refer to bringing in bright minds, connecting them among each other, and supporting their research works. We have launched various initiatives through attracting top-notch researchers from all over the world to conduct world-class and impactful research with local universities and institutions. For example, our R&D flagship project, InnoHK, has one dedicated cluster, namely Health@InnoHK, specialising in all types of healthcare-related technologies.
This year's Budget also committed to set aside $6 billion out of the earmarked provision to provide subsidies for universities and research institutions to set up life and health technology research institutes, so as to foster cross-university, cross-institutional and multidisciplinary co-operation, in a bid to facilitate transformation of R&D outcomes related to life and health technology.
To further incentivise the transformation of R&D outcomes, the Government has earmarked $10 billion recently for the Research, Academic and Industry Sectors One-plus Scheme. It will fund, on a matching basis, at least 100 university research teams with clear potential to become successful start-ups to drive the "1 to N" transformation of outstanding R&D outcomes and the tech industry development, and to boost collaboration among our academic, research and industry sectors. I am confident that it will help drive the commercialisation of our outstanding R&D outcomes, including those of life and health technology.
On "hardware" side, the Government is developing the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park in Lok Ma Chau Loop in full speed. Life and health technology will be among the priority development areas. One of the initiatives is to set up the InnoLife Healthtech Hub, which will pool together top-notch research teams from the Mainland and all over the world for research collaboration with the focus on life and health disciplines given the Lok Ma Chau Loop's strategic location and key role of being one of Hong Kong's strategic R&D bases.
In addition, the newly established Office for Attracting Strategic Enterprises is charged with drawing high-potential companies from all over the world to Hong Kong. We will offer a range of special measures and services to entice top global companies that fit our strategic needs. I can tell you that life and health technology companies are high on our priority list.
We are thankful for the extensive support rendered by the Central Government in driving Hong Kong's I&T development. We have been in close communication with the Ministry of Science and Technology and have recently signed the "Arrangement between the Mainland and Hong Kong on Expediting the Development of Hong Kong into an International Innovation and Technology Centre" in Beijing, marking a new chapter for the science and technology co-operation between the Mainland and Hong Kong. Being one of the key directions as highlighted under the Blueprint, this term of Government will further enhance our I&T co-operation with Mainland provinces and municipalities. In particular, we will continue to co-operate with the Mainland cities in the GBA underpinned by the principles of complementarity and mutual benefits, thereby creating greater impetus to the development of life and health technology in the GBA.
Ladies and gentlemen, Hong Kong has fully resumed to normalcy. I am confident that there will be more occasions like today for friends and experts from all over the world to experience the thriving I&T ecosystem in Hong Kong. We strive to better leverage our strengths to promote Hong Kong as an international I&T centre at full speed, and to better integrate with the development of the GBA and the country. Rest assured, there will certainly be enormous long-term opportunities for our life and health technology start-ups, researchers, investors and entrepreneurs in the days ahead.
In closing, may I wish you all an enlightening and rewarding Summit. Thank you very much.
Ends/Wednesday, May 17, 2023
Issued at HKT 18:25
Issued at HKT 18:25