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CE policy address: promoting HK as an international I&T hub

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive recently gave her much-anticipated fourth Policy Address on 25 November 2020, one report notes. In it, she pledged to uphold “one country, two systems” and with a promise to revive the special administrative region’s economy battered by social unrest and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hong Kong’s chief executive has pledged to roll out 200 new initiatives during Wednesday’s annual policy address, with sources saying the Greater Bay Area integration plan will take centre stage – even though the city’s leader is expected to make it clear that untraced coronavirus cases must hit zero before any new cross-border measures can proceed.

Sources stated that among these initiatives is a youth employment project that aims to create thousands of jobs for young Hongkongers in the nine Guangdong cities included in the Greater Bay Area scheme, Beijing’s ambitious plan to integrate the cities with Hong Kong and Macau to form an economic powerhouse.

Job opportunities would be offered in sectors ranging from technology and finance to cultural and creative industries.

Insiders also said the CE might unveil some modest improvements to the Stock Connect schemes between Hong Kong, Shanghai and Shenzhen, such as allowing more Hong Kong-listed biotech firms to take part, and promoting private equity funds, family offices and real estate investment trusts.

HKSTP’s response to the CE’s 2020 policy address

The Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) supports various innovation and technology (I&T) related measures outlined in The Chief Executive’s 2020 Policy Address. Such measures will promote closer collaboration between Hong Kong and Shenzhen and foster the development of Hong Kong into an international I&T hub.

The Park welcomed the initiative for the Corporation to manage certain areas of the Innovation and Technology Zone in Futian, Shenzhen. This will support institutions and enterprises to start their business in the GBA, enhancing the I&T value chain and overall development of the ecosystem.

Biomedical technology is one of the strategic focuses of HKSTP. There are approximately 150 biotech companies in the Park, which have grown significantly over the past few years. With the inclusion of pre-revenue biotechnology companies listed in Hong Kong and stocks listed on the Mainland Sci-Tech Innovation Board meeting certain prescribed criteria in the scope of eligible securities under the mutual market access programmes, it will create more opportunities for local biotechnology companies to raise funds for research. The Park believes this initiative will be beneficial to promote venture capital investment and accelerate the R&D process of biotech companies.

On talent development, HKSTP announced earlier this year the launch of HKSTP InnoAcademy and the Technology Leaders of Tomorrow Programme, which has received an encouraging response. HKSTP will fully support the government’s Global STEM Professorship Scheme and Greater Bay Area Youth Employment Scheme, helping young talent pursue a career in the I&T sector, experience and capture opportunities offered in the region, and at the same time expand the talent pool.

HKSTP welcomes the upcoming Smart City Blueprint for Hong Kong 2.0 to further accelerate smart city development. HKSTP will continue to serve as a living lab and work alongside the government’s plan to drive the application of technologies in key areas including 5G, sensors, data, AI and robotics, and IoT, supporting relevant industries and application developers. HKSTP will also support the government’s drive for Art-Tech which will boost the application of technology in arts and creative industries.

The Chairman of HKSTP stated that under the impact of the pandemic and economic uncertainty, local start-ups have shown their capabilities and adaptability. He noted that HKSTP strives to empower partner companies to capitalise on the opportunities in the GBA and overseas, as well as to strengthen partnerships and networks.

HKSTP believes that I&T will be the driving force for industry growth in the new normal, powering the growth of new economies and the domestic and international dual circulation. HKSTP will continue its efforts together with ecosystem partners in nurturing I&T talent, accelerating R&D and commercialisation of innovation.

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