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Hong Kong Chief Executive’s Policy Address highlights – Part 3

Recently, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, delivered her 2018 Policy Address. The press release issued by the HKSAR Government reflects on the progress of the region and details the next steps that Hong Kong will take regarding technology, digital transformation and other pertinent topics.

Part 1 and Part 2 of this series can be found here.

Updates on the educational aspect of Hong Kong’s I&T next steps were followed by acknowledgements and gratitude towards the Chinese president.

According to the Chief Executive, the Chinese President recognises that Hong Kong, with its solid foundation in science and technology and a pool of high-quality technology talent, is an important force in implementing the nation’s innovation-driven development strategy and building an innovative country, and renders his support for the development of Hong Kong into an international I&T hub.

In May 2018, the MOST and the Ministry of Finance launched a new initiative which allowed universities and research institutions in Hong Kong to bid for science and technology funding of the Central Government on the basis of merit and competition, and the funding granted can be used in Hong Kong.

This has realised the cross-boundary remittance of science and technology funding, which the local technology sector has been longing for. Towards the end of September, the Arrangement on Enhancing Innovation and Technology Co-operation between the Mainland and Hong Kong was signed between the MOST and the Innovation and Technology Bureau (ITB), providing an overarching framework for mutual I&T collaboration.

In the next section, the Chief Executive addressed expediting re-industrialisation.

While Hong Kong is a service-oriented economy, high-end and high value-added manufacturing has a promising prospect, following the development of I&T and promotion of R&D. Moreover, high-end manufacturing will generate R&D needs, which is conducive to raising R&D investment by the industries.

Thus, contributing to a robust and sustainable development of the R&D work of local universities and research institutes. High-end manufacturing will also provide quality jobs for local I&T talent, particularly young graduates.

To encourage the industries to engage in high-end production by tapping into I&T and application of smart technologies and production processes, and expediting the realisation of “re-industrialisation”, the Chief Executive proposed to allocate HK$15.6 billion (US$2 billion) for launching a “Re-industrialisation Funding Scheme” to subsidise manufacturers, on a matching basis, to set up smart production lines in Hong Kong.

The ITB will work out the operational details of the scheme, such as the eligibility criteria and approval mechanism. The Precision Manufacturing Centre established by the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTPC) in Tai Po Industrial Estate and the Advanced Manufacturing Centre to be completed in Tseung Kwan O Industrial Estate will provide the industries with facilities for smart production.

The Chief Executive also recommended providing an additional allocation of HK$15.6 billion (US$2 billion) for the HKSTPC to identify suitable land in industrial estates for building manufacturing facilities required by the dedicated advanced manufacturing sector.

Next, the leader discussed the importance of promoting technology transfer.

She stated that gifted and outstanding scientific research talent exists within various local universities. To fully unleash Hong Kong’s strengths in scientific research and promote technology transfer as well as the realisation of R&D findings, funding for three relevant schemes under the I&T Fund will be doubled.

The maximum annual funding for the Technology Transfer Office of each university will be increased from the existing HK$31.3 million (US$4 million) to HK$47 million (US$8 million).

The maximum annual funding for each specified university under the Technology Start-up Support Scheme for Universities will also be increased from the existing HK$31.3 million (US$4 million) to HK$47 million (US$8 million).

Finally, the annual funding for each State Key Laboratory and each Hong Kong branch of the Chinese National Engineering Research Centre will be increased from the existing HK$39.2 million (US$5 million) to HK$78.4 million (US$10 million) to support scientific research and commercialisation of outputs.

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