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Two tech firms operating under the Hong Kong Smart Government Innovation Lab recently announced that they have launched new solutions which are now ready to be acquired by companies and institutions.

Solution one – City Traffic Simulation System

The system that the firm provides allows users to trial virtual routes using dummy cars (virtual vehicles) so that they can experience the latest routes and collect feedback on them without having to wait until the roads are built to find out the problems.

Firstly, the system can improve the effectiveness of traffic route design. Secondly, the system can reduce and avoid road traffic congestion caused by road design. Third, collected data can be used for further development of many other technologies including autonomous driving AI.

Application Areas

The solution was developed to be applied in the areas of City Management, Commerce and Industry, Development, Environment, Health, Housing, Population, Recreation and Culture, Social Welfare as well as Transport.

Technologies Used

The developed using the latest in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Data Analytics, Deep Learning and Virtual Reality.

Use case

The collected data can be used for the further development of many other technologies, including autonomous driving artificial intelligence. Although the development of this new technology requires a lot of data, the firm found that realistic and games are the perfect tool for acquiring large amounts of data.

Solution two – micro-segmentation solution

The second innovation is a micro-segmentation solution that prevents the spread of breaches inside data centres and cloud environments. Various global enterprises use the firm’s system to reduce cyber risk and achieve regulatory compliance.

The firm’s platform uniquely protects critical information with real-time application dependency and vulnerability mapping coupled with micro-segmentation that works across any data centre, public cloud, or hybrid cloud deployment on bare-metal, virtual machines, and containers.

Application Areas

The solution was meant to be applied across the areas of Broadcasting, City Management, Climate and Weather, Commerce and Industry, Development, Education, Employment and Labour, Environment, Finance, Food, Health, Housing, Infrastructure, Law and Security, Population, Recreation and Culture, Social Welfare, Transport as well as in public organisations.

Technologies Used

The solution employs the latest in Data Analytics, Deep Learning, Machine Learning and Cybersecurity.

Use case

The tech company has assisted many organisations to reduce firewall complexity rules by 95%. Moreover, the solutions have seen 15,000 firewalls rules reduced to 40 security policies and had saved over US$300,000 in labour and transformation costs.

The firm also segmented development and production environments without having to shift infrastructure or re-architect their network, saving over US$200,000 in re-architecture costs.

The tech company provides precise protection of critical applications, enabling Zero Trust control against the spread of potential attacks, easy-to-deploy micro-segmentation with quick time to value; reliability and confidence from testing; visibility for cross-team collaboration; and millions in savings vs. ACI and NGFWs.

About the Smart Government Innovation Lab

In 2018, the Government established the Smart Government Innovation Lab to explore hi-tech products such as AI and relevant technologies, including machine learning, big data analytics, cognitive systems and intelligent agent, as well as blockchain and robotics from firms, especially local start-ups.

The Lab is always on the lookout for innovation and technology (I&T) solutions that are conducive to enhancing public services or their operational effectiveness. I&T suppliers are encouraged to regularly visit the Lab’s website to check on the current business and operational needs in public service delivery and propose innovative solutions or product suggestions to address them.

Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) recently hosted the STP Platform Experience Day to showcase successful technology use cases that have undergone the STP Platform’s extensive validation process during their pilot phase.

From an automated rodent detection application to disinfecting robots and a preview of AI-powered smart traffic management, the use cases are proof of the growing demand and benefits of the platform’s suite of validation and testing services.

The STP Platform is a dedicated service platform to support the technology development of tech ventures and encourage technology adoption by corporates especially in the areas of AI and Robotics (AIR), smart city, big data, Internet of Things (IoT) and sensors technologies.

The platform builds upon HKSTP’s industry-first validation service for AIR, previously announced in August 2020, featuring unique virtual and physical lab simulation and real-world testing capabilities.

At the Experience Day, use cases tested at the STP Platform during the pilot stage were shared during the panel discussion. Industry experts from the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD), MTR Corporation Limited (MTR), Transport Department and The University of Hong Kong (HKU) shared their expertise on the value and impact of industry-standard simulation and their experience of identifying and honing the right solutions through the validation process.

The CEO of HKSTP stated, “The success of our Park companies is our success. It is encouraging to see the impact and market adoption of their innovations through the STP Platform. The use cases on show at the STP Platform Experience Day are a great demonstration of our living lab philosophy and mission to accelerate the adoption of innovative technologies across Hong Kong business. The validation services drive trust, acceptance and confidence in these emerging technologies and further establish Hong Kong businesses as bold pioneers and adopters of game-changing innovations.”

Reducing technology risk, uncertainty and adoption barriers

The STP Platform addresses the biggest barriers to the development and commercial adoption of emerging technologies. Validation of innovation is often expensive, time-consuming and limited by physical constraints and the lack of benchmarks for a fair comparison. The STP Platform offers corporates an independent performance evaluation tool, allowing them to test different solutions accurately and cost-effectively under numerous user scenarios.

The STP Platform overcomes major obstacles in technology adoption among businesses by delivering three key benefits:

  1. High cost-performance (CP) value. The performance of different image recognition solutions were evaluated in a case that tested their ability to recognise rodents. This enables a like-for-like and impartial comparison so that corporates make an informed decision on which solution best balances their performance and budget.
  2. Versatile testing capability. The platform’s highly versatile testing capabilities were demonstrated by evaluating disinfection robots under an unlimited set of environments. The STP Platform’s virtual lab can accurately simulate different real-world settings ranging from hotels to shopping malls. Additional integration with physical testing removes a host of limitations and time constraints and further validates the virtual simulation results.
  3. Risk-free validation. The STP platform reduces the risks of limited testing data, inaccurate projections and unfavourable outcomes. The platform provides a comprehensive preview over a longer period with unlimited scenarios, enabling better forecast for making decisions and reducing cost. HKSTP’s Smart Transportation Challenge which was hosted in March, saw solution providers using the simulation technology of STP Platform to visualise their traffic congestion solutions and test their performance.

With ongoing effort, the STP Platform will develop more datasets and simulation scenarios to further expand and enhance modelling capabilities. It has a clear vision to offer richer standards and benchmarks to support a wider variety of industries and applications. The platform is constantly evolving to test and validate more cutting-edge technology areas for the banking and finance, real estate, construction sectors and more.

Four electronic payment providers were chosen by Hong Kong to operate the city’s HK$36 billion digital voucher scheme this summer, which is estimated to bring economic growth of 0.7 percentage points this year, Hong Kong’s Financial Secretary said recently.

The four providers each cover about 30,000 to 100,000 merchants in retail, food and beverage, and service industries in Hong Kong, the city’s Financial Secretary noted.

“When identifying the operators, the government has taken factors into consideration including the provider’s experience, popularity, and their coverage of merchants,” the FS said, adding that the four providers are the customary payment tools for people in Hong Kong.

A central registration system will be set up so that any qualified Hongkongers above 18 years old will be eligible to collect a HK$5,000 digital consumption voucher this summer, according to the official.

The total planned issuing scale – HK$36 billion – is expected to shore up Hong Kong’s economic growth by 0.7 percentage points; meanwhile, it will push small merchants to adopt electronic payment, he noted.

The Financial Secretary stated that in order to produce the best possible economic results, in addition to the fast containment of the coronavirus in Hong Kong, it is hoped that all of the payment providers and merchants in retail, food and beverage and other service sectors can promote the scheme actively, and even offer discounts across different sectors so that the electronic vouchers can see a multiplier effect, prop up the local economy and market.

The economic stimulation effect of issuing digital consumption vouchers is twice that of issuing cash according to the Chairman of the China Silk Road iValley Research Institute. In particular, it is effective in boosting tourism – any 10 yuan digital voucher can feed into 300 yuan of consumption.

He noted that over the past year, the consumption willingness of Hongkongers was severely restrained. As long as the SAR government, business sector, and especially the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), can come up with methods to unleash the consumption potential, it will definitely help sales.

Hong Kong’s economy dived 6.1 per cent last year – the biggest annual contraction in history – as the coronavirus hit its tourism and consumption sectors.

When containment measures relax in the future, experts suggest that more Hongkongers spend in Hong Kong for the city’s ‘self-rescue’ instead of travelling to other cities. The Chairman added that the average number of times that Hongkongers travel abroad each year has hit 11.4 – the highest in the world.

In order to be back on track, Hong Kong could grasp the opportunities by actively getting involved in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, while the Chinese mainland sees brisk economic rebound, the expert stated.

According to an earlier article, Hong Kong’s finance chief unveiled a spending blueprint with fewer but more-targeted relief measures, including an unprecedented digital voucher scheme for residents to spur consumption, while forecasting a substantial recovery from the recession that could see economic growth of up to 5.5 per cent in the year ahead.

Presenting a budget focused on reviving the economy and easing the burden on a population struggling under the Covid-19 pandemic, the Financial Secretary had, on 24 February 2021, warned of a record deficit of HK$257.6 billion (US$33.14 billion) for the current fiscal year and more annual deficits ahead as he scaled down relief measures by a third.

Another report noted that the government’s electronic spending voucher scheme will hopefully promote e-payment in Hong Kong. Some believe the scheme will attract more small shops – especially stalls in wet markets – to install e-payment systems.

New methods for reducing air pollution and generating solar fuels developed by scientists at the City University of Hong Kong (CityU) offer practical solutions to the energy shortage, environmental issues, and related public health risks.

The research has been generated by two projects led by Dr Ng Yun-hau, Associate Professor, and Dr Shang Jin, Assistant Professor, respectively, in the School of Energy and Environment (SEE). The research has been published in the top chemistry journal Angewandte Chemie.

Dr Ng and his team have designed a new solar-powered catalyst that can convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into methane fuel through artificial photosynthesis. Their work is published in a paper titled “Metal-Organic Frameworks Decorated Cuprous Oxide Nanowires for Long-lived Charges Applied in Selective Photocatalytic CO2 Reduction to CH4”.

“Methane is a major component of domestic fuel gases. Turning CO2 into methane fuel using sunlight has the potential to produce a clean and sustainable energy alternative, thereby reducing our carbon emissions and reliance on fossil fuels,” Dr Ng said.

However, the key problems with CO2 conversion are short excited charges in the lifetime of the catalyst and non-selective reduction. Cuprous oxide (Cu2O), commonly used for CO2 conversion, undergoes self-corrosion after brief illumination, and it creates an array of product mixture from the reduction process, hindering large scale application.

Dr Ng’s team has solved these problems by uniformly enwrapping Cu2O with a copper-based metal-organic framework (MOF) at the microscopic level. This MOF, which is a good CO2 adsorbent, strengthens the interaction between the CO2 and the catalyst, enabling a higher concentration of CO2 on the surface of the catalyst. The team unveiled for the first time the presence of charge transfer between MOF and cuprous oxide, which can prolong the charges lifetime by ten times for higher activity. With the conformal coating of MOF, the Cu2O becomes stable and its corrosion is delayed.

“We hope we can recycle the unwanted CO2 from industry and transportation sectors at an affordable cost in the future and use it as the precursor to produce green and alternative fuels. We will continue to explore ways to further increase the methane production rate and scale up the catalyst synthesis and the reactor systems,” said Dr Ng.

Dr Ng is the corresponding author of the paper. The first is Dr Wu Hao, Postdoctoral Fellow from SEE. Other collaborating researchers are from University College London, University of New South Wales, Monash University Malaysia, and the Swinburne University of Technology.

The other study, carried out by the team led by Dr Shang, aims to control pollution resulting from nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a major roadside pollutant causing photochemical smog and damage to the human respiratory tract. The team revealed a new class of robust adsorbent materials for capturing ambient NO2 in a paper titled “Transition‐Metal‐Containing Porphyrin Metal-Organic Frameworks as π‐Backbonding Adsorbents for NO2 Removal”.

The team has developed a series of sponge-like nanoporous materials featuring tailored transition metals as active sites at the porphyrin rings, which can selectively bind and remove NO2 from gas mixtures.

The concept was inspired by the pi-backbonding interaction in the human body, through which the iron metal at the porphyrin of the haemoglobin protein can selectively bind oxygen molecules where pi-backbonding occurs.

This novel adsorption-based technology complements the conventional selective catalytic reduction method, which applies only to NO2 conversion at high temperatures (about 250 to 600 °C). It can mitigate ambient NO2 pollution from the low-temperature exhaust, such as that generated by off-road vehicles.

“Our successful demonstration of selective NO2 adsorption in ambient temperature is conducive to the development of a series of technologies for low-temperature NO2 pollution control, such as sensing, filtration, and catalysis of low-temperature NO2, in particular from environmental hotspots, including tunnels and semi-confined car parks,” said Dr Shang.

The research results showed that the adsorbent has high stability, selectivity, capacity, and regenerability. It is resistant to corrosion and is not affected by humidity. Also, it can be made into different forms based on its application, such as spherical shapes for use in ventilation systems or filters for respirator masks.

Dr Shang and Dr Gu Qinfen from the Australian Synchrotron research facility are the corresponding authors of the paper. The first is Shang Shanshan, a PhD student from SEE. The study involved collaboration among researchers at the University of Hong Kong, the Guangzhou Institute of Energy Conversion at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Jilin University.

Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) formally launched the InnoCell, a smart living and co-creation space at Hong Kong Science Park on 7 April 2021.

The purpose-built space provides the ideal environment for local and overseas innovation and technology (I&T) talent to live, co-create, innovate and forge a thriving community to fulfil Hong Kong’s I&T potential.

Located at the city’s largest research and development base, InnoCell brings together a talented community, with a shared passion for innovation, to exchange ideas and pursue the next I&T breakthroughs. The 17-storey InnoCell will provide residential units with flexible design and ancillary facilities at affordable rents.

With integrated smart living technologies, InnoCell offers diversified communal and private living spaces that aim to foster personalised experiences and collaboration among its residents. The building is a prime example of the “Work.Live.Play.Learn.” innovation culture being nurtured across the entire I&T ecosystem at the Science Park.

The CEO of HKSTP stated, “InnoCell represents a major step forward in our ambition to build a vibrant I&T ecosystem for Hong Kong which brings together talent, culture and infrastructure in an environment geared for innovation. The state-of-the-art space is a shining example of innovation at work, delivering a space with affordable rent and custom-designed for like-minded innovators to harness and hone their talent. InnoCell sets new standards for a smarter lifestyle which goes beyond just living and working.”

Open to the founders, mainland and overseas employees of HKSTP’s park companies, as well as visiting academics, scientists, and technology talent, InnoCell is a showcase of unique technology-infusing experiences, offering four room types including THE SOLO, THE TWIN, THE SUITE and THE POWERHUB.

For project teams on a mission, THE POWERHUB, with 8 individual studios plus a private working area, is an ideal space for members to assemble, focus and race through their sprints.

Partnering with various global corporations, InnoCell combines modern living with cutting-edge technology to deliver a frictionless, personalised way of blended living and working in the digital era.

Tenants can easily access key facilities and services with the InnoCell Living app integrated by Chevalier, and also complete transactions within the building using an e-payment application powered by a major global bank. Other key features include personalised online butler services, a multi-lingual chatbot and a host of online services all enabled with cashless payment.

To support the community experience, a UK-based global commercial real estate services company delivers an array of community cum hospitality management services such as organising innovation-inspiring events and community-centric activities.

Developed and built by Hip Hing Construction, space provides approximately 30,000-sqft of tailored communal facilities, including 392 units of studios and suites and 511 bed spaces in total, installed via 418 modules with high-performance materials.

The ground-breaking construction is also Hong Kong’s first high-rise building using the innovative Modular Integrated Construction (MiC) methodology winning international recognition at the Rethinking the Future Awards 2020. This serves as a blueprint and modernisation path for Hong Kong’s construction industry.

The InnoCell application will be open from 20 April to 21 May. Successful applicants will move in from July 2021 onwards.

The Government released the Smart City Blueprint for Hong Kong 2.0 (Blueprint 2.0) on 10 December 2021 with more than 130 smart city initiatives.

Blueprint 2.0 includes initiatives that are under implementation or of an ongoing nature such as open data and on-street parking meters supporting remote payment. In addition, over 60 new initiatives were implemented after the first Blueprint was published at the end of 2017.

These include Smart Living under which the Government aims to:

  • Use the “iAM Smart” platform to streamline the Transport Department’s licensing services;
  • Explore the use of telehealth, video-conferencing and remote consultation in Hong Kong;

Blueprint 2.0 has also put forward the idea of smart village pilot initiatives to explore the use of technologies to address daily life issues faced by residents living in the countryside and further remote areas, such as medical consultation for the elderly and traffic arrangements.

A robotic fish with wide-ranging functions from search and rescue to providing entertainment at an aquarium sounds like an unattainable dream but is the fruit of research by a young engineering team at the University of Hong Kong (HKU).

SNAPP, the robotic fish, currently holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest 50m swim by a robotic fish in 22.92s or at 2.18 m/s (meters per second), which is faster than most Olympic swimmers including Michael Phelps, who averages a speed of 2.1 m/s.

The robotic fish was invented by a student-staff team led by the Department of Mechanical Engineering and sponsored by the Tam Wing Fan Innovation Wing under HKU’s Faculty of Engineering.

The founder of the robotics team BREED is Timothy Ng, an HKU mechanical engineering graduate, who is happy to see that the team’s joint effort had reached one milestone after another. The team started out trying to invent a fish that could beat top high-school swimmers.

After initial success, they furthered their research to beat Olympic champions, and the result has been astounding. In January 2020, the team first set the Guinness World Record for the fastest 50m swim by a robotic fish with 26.79s. SNAPP is another breakthrough. “We have surpassed most Olympic swimmers except Cesar Cielo, who swam 50 meters in 20.91 seconds,” said Ng.

SNAPP is the fastest robotic fish to date, breaking the scientific boundaries known to mankind swimming, at a speed of 2.18 m/s. Other noteworthy fish robots such as Harvard’s Tunabot swims at 1m/s. Mr. Ng said: “By using flexible and soft methods in the tail design, we achieved our present record from the original 1.2m/s. This is the key to underwater propulsion.”

The team is encouraged by the fact that SNAPP is optimal for an array of functions. Professor Dennis Leung, Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and an environmental specialist, said: “I am very pleased with the research output of the robotic fish project. Apart from breaking the Guinness record, the robotic fish can also be applied in our everyday life. It is particularly useful in environmental protection such as monitoring water quality as well as surveillance of rubbish and oil spillage in seawater.”

Although SNAPP cannot yet match the swimming speeds of natural fishes, which have undergone millions of years of optimization in an evolutionary process, through the efforts of the team, it emulates the motions and profile of a real fish, hence it can integrate with the ocean environment seamlessly. Its fish-like gait produces low acoustic noise, keeping underwater sound pollution to a minimum.

With its unparalleled underwater mobility, and the ability to provide floating support and towing capability in the absence of lifeguards, the robotic fish is also ideal for rescue and search operations. When integrated with an artificial intelligence-based vision system and using an aerial drone, it could form a robust system providing unparalleled search and rescue of victims from both air and water.

It brings many new opportunities when integrated with other robotic technologies like drones, according to the supervisor of the project, Dr Fu Zhang, Assistant Professor of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, who is a robotics specialist, especially in aerial drones.

He stated, “The robotic fish project is truly interesting and significant in both research and practice. Its success would benefit applications such as underwater exploration and in saving lives, etc. Most of the oceans are yet to be seen by humankind, and new technologies can help protect the shorelines and public beaches from sharks while policing water boundaries and defining territorial maps.”

According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 320,000 deaths are caused by drowning each year. “The deaths of the professional divers in the Thai cave rescue operation years ago could have been avoided if SNAPP were available to them,” said Mr. Ng.

With its thin profile, SNAPP is fit for both shallow and deep-sea operations, capable of moving through undersea rock formations and fitting through tight crevices. The current prototype allows it to accelerate to a maximum speed within 0.5s, make tight turns with its caudal fin, and swim continuously for hours in a mixed swimming mode fish on a 48V, 850 mAh battery.

The robotics team is already working on using SNAPP to address ocean pollution and to scout for underwater garbage patches. The fish can relay their location back to a much larger collector, or be deployed to take water samples periodically in river basins, and to monitor the water quality, specifically for microplastics.

“It can also be used as “pet” for divers, carrying crucial equipment and oxygen tanks for them,” Mr. Ng added. Snapp can also act as a lifeline for divers that are caught in an underwater current, pulling them away from it.

While being in talks with commercial companies on utilising the search, rescue, and patrol functions of SNAPP, Mr. Ng is eyeing other wider applications. “Perhaps in the future, we would not need to keep real fishes captive for entertainment; robots can replace them instead.”

Two tech firms operating under the Hong Kong Smart Government Innovation Lab recently announced that they have launched new solutions which are now ready to be acquired by companies and institutions.

Solution one – NeuroGym gamified cognitive training platform

Solution description

NeuroGym is an interactive gamified cognitive training platform. It revolutionises entertainment and cognitive training by incorporating academic research and popular games, such as Mahjong, Calligraphy and daily activities.

According to the developers, the platform encourages user participation and long-term training; it is widely used in NGOs for rehabilitation and elderly service, public media and property development as it allows caretakers to better monitor and assesses users’ conditions and as great intergenerational entertainment.

Features:

  1. Personal accounts suitable for individualised and group training and outreach service; the platform will adjust the difficulty level automatically to suit the needs of different users
  2. The report management system allows organisations and caregivers to monitor and assess the cognitive health condition of users, and arrange timely support
  3. Distanced remote-control training, online multiplayer and pre-set schedules are suitable for home training under Covid-19 even without internet.

Application Areas

The solution was developed to be applied in the areas of Broadcasting, Education, Health, Recreation and Culture as well as Social Welfare.

Technologies Used

The was developed using the latest in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Cloud Computing, Data Analytics, Machine Learning and Mobile Technologies.

Use case

In many NGOs, private GPs and psychiatrist clinics serving different types and severity of patients:

  1. Elderly: elderly centres (DECC, NEC), DCSS, district centres, daycare centres, nursing homes, C&A homes, outreach team, enhance team
  2. Rehabilitation: MR & MI patients in day hostel
  3. Different HA departments such as OT, psychiatry and nursing are using OPD, in-patient, day hospitals.
  4. TV and radio live programmes in RTHK
  5. Some schools are trying the system as gamified learning for primary and SEN students.

Benefits

  1. Increase training engagement and participation and good entertainment
  2. Increase interaction in group training
  3. Instant feedback and real-time report for detailed follow-up
  4. Personalisation and self-help to reduce manpower
  5. Online training to keep social distance during Covid-19

Solution two – Blockchain Platform for Digital Contract Signature, Document Storage and Asset Management

Solution description

The solution is a blockchain platform for digital contract signature, document storage and asset management where all sensitive data transmission is stored on the blockchain and can be viewed on the mobile application and website portal.

For an asset management solution, a unique hash ID is generated for each asset with a corresponding QR code. Users can operate asset status by simply scanning QRcode, allowing trustable data and document management.

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in most people adopting a work-from-home arrangement; there has thus been a rise in paperwork, especially the documents that need to be signed and confirmed by multiple responsible people, which are not convenient to bring back home for processing.

To prevent the loss of important documents, the leakage of important files and important documents from being used improperly, during the epidemic, some staffs may still have to take a few days a week to take risks to work at the office. On the other hand, users and customers are troubled because of difficulties signing a contract online.

To remedy this issue, the firm developed a blockchain-based safe and secure online contract signing platform to enable the signing of contracts and documents online without paperwork at any time and anywhere.

The solution allows full life cycle management of digital contract and blockchain document depository; it also ensures security and reliability of source file in the links of encryption, transmission, and storage through technologies such as electronic signature, digital authentication, reliable timestamp and blockchain. Therefore, relevant parties can sign contract remotely, and hence providing service without delay.

Application Areas

The solution was developed to be applied in the areas of Broadcasting, City Management, Commerce and Industry, Development, Employment and Labour, Finance, Health, Law and Security, Social Welfare as well as Transport.

Technologies Used

The solution employs Blockchain, Cloud Computing, Data Analytics, Internet of Things (IoT), Mobile Technologies, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technologies.

Use case

The solution consists of two parts. For digital contract and signature, document storage, allows civil servants to sign contracts at any time and anywhere, even under the “work from home” period. An application that needs to be signed by a civil servant or approved by multiple departments can proceed smoothly.

The solution thus ensures stability by providing a public service and increasing work efficiency. On the other hand, when there are any legal problems caused, it is easier to conduct legal proceedings if needed based on blockchain electronic certificate to protect rights and interests in accordance with the law, due to the ease of access to electronic documents.

Moreover, documents stored on the blockchain and ensure its reliability as data is unchangeable. This is more reliable than using legal evidence. Storing documents on blockchain also prevent the risk of losing paper contracts and documents, ensuring the quality of public service.

For asset management, the solution can reduce idle assets and maintenance costs by 50%. It also reduces manpower for regular inspection and maintenance of assets, so that it can reduce government expenditure and better use of human resources.

The solution can also avoid asset misplacement and loss of assets, and update the asset status. Therefore, it is much easier for the public to borrow government equipment and the government can ensure the equipment lent is in its best condition.

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with one of the “big four” banks in the People’s Republic of China (the Bank) on 1 April 2021 to co-organize a master program in Financial Technology (MSc in Fintech) in the new academic year – the first such program in the Greater Bay Area.

The collaboration – which also includes a mini-MBA program targeting micro, small and medium enterprises (SME), and the Bank sharing financial cases and data with HKUST for relevant joint research projects – sets a new model for youth exchanges and financial connectivity between Hong Kong and the mainland.

According to the agreement, the Bank will recommend qualified candidates – not confining to the Bank’s staff, to join HKUST’s MSc in Fintech program every year.

Meanwhile, the Bank will also open some of its practical financial courses and facilities at its South China Campus to all HKUST students of the MSc in Fintech program, who can apply for elective courses there and participate in exchange visits and internship training.

Candidates who complete the master program will receive a certificate of completion, while those who meet the graduation requirements will be awarded a degree certificate from the HKUST.

The signing ceremony was conducted via video conference in Hong Kong and Beijing in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the witnesses of the Deputy Director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the State Council; the Deputy Director of the Central People’s Government Liaison Office in Hong Kong; the Chairman of the Bank; the Vice-President of the Bank; the President of HKUST; and representatives of the Ministry of Education.

The HKUST Vice-President for Institutional Advancement and a representative of the Bank signed the agreement.

The HKUST President stated that the University welcomes the partnership at the ceremony. He noted that this collaboration marks forward-looking and open cooperation between academia and enterprises. As a leader in the banking sector, the Bank has been actively promoting the development of Fintech.

“We will leverage this opportunity and make good use of HKUST’s substantial strength in Fintech related expertise to further promote [the] implementation of the technology, as well as nurturing more Fintech professionals with diverse background and experiences to advance their innovative ideas and relevant expertise,” he said.

The Chairman of the Bank stated that the cooperation seeks to set an example of bank-university cooperation between Hong Kong and the mainland and to drive innovation in the cross-border integration of youth, enterprises and academia.

Apart from nurturing high-calibre financial talents and showing them the latest trends in Fintech, the scheme will also facilitate Hong Kong students to have a better understanding of the mainland, and vice versa.

Meanwhile, the collaboration will also enhance the financial knowledge of SME owners as well as our ability to provide better full-lifecycle financial services for them.

Apart from the program, the parties have also planned to launch wide-ranging collaboration including a mini-MBA program for SME owners as well as other short-term training courses. The mini-MBA program aims to open in September 2022, will focus on the exploration of an effective model that could help SMEs to solve their operational and financing obstacles.

Meanwhile, the Bank will provide HKUST students with internship opportunities, entrepreneurial mentorship and financial support. The two parties will also launch activities such as entrepreneurship competitions.

HKUST has stepped up cooperation with the Bank since signing a framework agreement on cooperation in October 2018. One of the landmark projects was the “Certified Fintech Practitioners Training program” – an accredited training program co-developed among HKUST, the Bank, the China Banking Association and Shenzhen University, which has trained and certified more than 6,000 Fintech professionals to this date.

GLF Forum 2018

OpenGov Government Leadership Forum – Empowering the Digital Business.