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HK unveils tech support measures

The Innovation & Technology Commission announced enhanced funding arrangements and a freeze of fees as part of the measures to support enterprises announced by the Financial Secretary last month.

The commission will disburse partial funding in advance to projects funded by the Technology Voucher Programme, the Enterprise Support Scheme, the Patent Application Grant and the Re-industrialisation & Technology Training Programme under the Innovation & Technology Fund.

The arrangements will be rolled out in phases starting from the end of the year.

The Standards & Calibration Laboratory, as well as the Hong Kong Accreditation Service under the commission, will also freeze fees for their calibration and accreditation services until the end of 2020.

The commission hopes the arrangements can ease funding problems that small and medium-sized enterprises and start-ups face when carrying out projects and to help them control their operating costs.

This will assist them in coping with challenges brought by the current austere economic environment, it added.

Supporting I&T

According to an earlier OpenGov Asia report, the Financial Secretary believes the development of I&T will bring huge economic benefits to Hong Kong.

The intellectual property generated as a result can be commercialised to drive ancillary economic activities, thus creating quality employment opportunities and enabling people to live comfortably by adopting new technology.

Sufficient resources have been allocated, with a commitment of over $100 billion so far.

To develop I&T, Hong Kong will need a robust ecosystem and the Government aims to establish through various I&T policy initiatives.

It will support the scientific research and I&T sectors by developing I&T infrastructure, promoting research and development (R&D), pooling talent, supporting enterprises and promoting re-industrialisation.  All these efforts have brought significant enhancements to the local I&T ecosystem.

Developing I&T Infrastructure

Hong Kong authorities acknowledge the need for quality infrastructure to attract I&T talent and facilitate the operation of I&T enterprises.

The 2018 Budget saw $3 billion allocated to the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTPC) for constructing R&D infrastructure and facilities such as laboratories. The construction of some facilities has commenced and they will gradually come into operation.

HKSTP is also working in full swing to develop a Data Technology Hub and an Advanced Manufacturing Centre in Tseung Kwan O Industrial Estate to support and promote smart production activities and high-end manufacturing industries which have great demand for data services.

The two projects are expected to be completed in 2020 and 2022 respectively.

Meanwhile, Cyberport has built a digital technology ecosystem with over 1,200 companies and start-ups and nurtured over 500 start-ups after years of growth.

HK$5.5 billion has been earmarked for the development of Cyberport 5 which aims to attract more quality tech companies and start-ups to set up their offices in Cyberport and provide a pathway for young people to pursue a career in I&T.

The expansion project is will include facilities such as offices, co-working space, conference venues and data service platforms, with a view to commencing construction in 2021 for completion in 2024 at the earliest.

Enabling SMEs and start-ups leverage technologies and continue their digital transformation is in line with Hong Kong’s Smart City goals.

Ultimately, the aim is to enable businesses to capitalise on Hong Kong’s renowned business-friendly environment to foster innovation, transform the city into a living lab and testbed for development.

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