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Hong Kong’s 2021 Policy Address Focuses on Tech

Image Credits: HK 2021 Policy Address Website

The Chief Executive of Hong Kong delivered the 2021 Policy Address which aims to bolster the development of innovation and technology (I&T) to transform Hong Kong into an international I&T hub. The CE had noted, before delivering her final Policy Address, that the address will focus on economic integration with the Chinese mainland, housing and land supply, and resumption of quarantine-free travel with the mainland.

For example, with regards to Housing and Land, among other goals, the HKSAR government aims to:

  • Ensure the timely delivery of the 10-year public housing production of 330,000 units by advancing projects in the latter five-year period (2027-28 – 2031-32) as far as practicable
  • Further streamline development processes through the critical examination of town planning, environmental impact assessment and other statutory requirements, and
  • Take forward the Northern Metropolis Development Strategy to transform the northern part of Hong Kong into a lively and attractive area providing more land for housing, technology development and other industries

In a section titled ‘New Impetus to the Economy’, the government is working to:

  • Improve the listing regime, expand offshore RMB business and grow agreen and sustainable financial sector
  • Develop a “Smart Port”, grow high value-added logistics and maritime business, and improve connectivity within the Greater Bay Area and beyond
  • Improve small and medium enterprises’ access to bank financing through the Commercial Data Interchange
  • Attract reputable dispute resolution institutions to set up offices in the Hong Kong Legal Hub
  • Riding on achievements in recent years, build a complete innovation and technology ecosystem via providing more land and infrastructure, promoting research and development, investment in technology, re-industrialisation as well as supporting universities’ research
  • Take forward the Airport City developments and enhance co-operation with Zhuhai in the aviation industry
  • Modernise the copyright regime in light of the digital environment
  • Develop world-class cultural facilities and cultivate a pluralistic cultural environment
  • Invest $100 billion on average annually in infrastructure in the next few years

The Policy Address also covered targets to help ‘Nurture Talent and Youth Development’. These include working to:

  • Double the annual quota of the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme to 4 000
  • Add new professions and expand the fields of existing professions to the Talent List to target high-quality talents
  • Extend the Research Matching Grant Scheme for two years to support research work of the higher education sector
  • Enhance national education and values education with the Education Bureau playing a monitoring role
  • Invite the Youth Development Commission to explore the introduction of a new funding scheme to nurture young people’s positive thinking

Leading academic and research institutions have shown support for the 2021 Policy Address. For example, the Chairman of ASTRI noted that he was pleased to see that the government continues to actively promote the development of I&T in Hong Kong via diversified policy initiatives, including providing more land and infrastructure, promoting research and development, investing in innovation and technology, accelerating re-industrialisation, as well enriching the local talent pool.

In addition, collaboration in I&T between Hong Kong, the Greater Bay Area and other mainland cities will be strengthened. Meanwhile, the CEO of ASTRI stated that the agency has leveraged cutting-edge technologies in a wide range of areas.

“We will render our full support to the government to implement the initiatives, which include accelerating the adoption of innovative 5G applications across multiple industries, realising intelligent manufacturing, making use of the Commercial Data Interchange platform developed by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) to promote alternative credit scoring, etc., in a view to continuously foster smart city development and enhance quality of life of citizens,” he said.

The University of Hong Kong (HKU) also welcomed the 2021 Policy Address in proposing several visionary and creative policies to support scientific research and development. It is encouraging to see the provision in land resources, talents, and financial policies, which will help attract more world-class talents and outstanding research postgraduate students to Hong Kong, the press release notes.

The University pledged to leverage its research capabilities to actively participate in the InnoLife Healthtech Hub in the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park (HSITP) in the Loop district.

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) also expressed support for the Chief Executive’s initiatives in the 2021 Policy Address that charted a roadmap to build a brighter future for Hong Kong in collaboration with all sectors of the community.

The press release notes that the University is grateful towards the current administration’s staunch support in nurturing talents and promoting innovation and technology, particularly its investments of more than HK$130 billion in innovation and technology over the past four years, as well as the development of a more comprehensive innovation and technology ecosystem. These have made innovation and technology a new impetus for the city’s economy.

The President of PolyUn conclusion noted that in the next academic year, PolyU will reform its undergraduate programme to strengthen education in artificial intelligence, data analytics, innovation and entrepreneurship, while enhancing support to students’ entrepreneurial endeavours in the GBA.

The Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) also responded positively to the 2021 Policy Address. The University’s press release noted that HKBU supports the setting up of an InnoLife Healthtech Hub in the HSITP. Life and health are one of the key research areas of HKBU, and it has the relevant research facilities, including the State Key Laboratory of Environmental and Biological Analysis, Computational Medicine Lab and System Health Lab.

The University also participates actively in the InnoHK research clusters and plays an important role in promoting the development of Chinese medicine in Hong Kong. Apart from having established the Hong Kong Chinese Medicine Clinical Study Centre, it was recently appointed as the operator of Hong Kong’s first Chinese Medicine Hospital. The University hopes that the InnoLife Healthtech Hub will inject impetus into the research and industry development of life and health in Hong Kong.

HKBU also welcomed the government’s plan to develop Hong Kong into an East-meets-West centre for international cultural exchange. The University is at the forefront of development in the areas of art, culture and creative media, and it has nurtured talent in various sectors, including music, film, visual arts, cultural studies, creative writing and art-tech, to provide new impetus to the creative industries.

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