February 28, 2024

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Latest HK Budget Aims to Foster I&T

Image Credits: HKSAR Budget Wesbite, Gallery

The Financial Secretary of the HKSAR Government delivered the 2023-24 Budget at the Legislative Council on 22 February 2023. The theme was “Leaping Forward Steadily, Together We Bolster Prosperity under Our New Vision”.

This is the first budget presented following Hong Kong’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the resumption of unrestricted travel with both the Mainland and the global community.

Hong Kong has entered a new phase in its pursuit of robust economic growth, high-quality development, and improved quality of life for its people, with a clear direction and defined objectives, the Financial Secretary stated.

The is focusing on High-Quality Development by enacting the following:

Digital Economy

  • A feasibility study will be conducted on the development of an Artificial Intelligence Supercomputing Centre
  • HK$500 million has been earmarked to launch a Digital Transformation Support Pilot Programme, to assist SMEs in applying ready-to-use basic digital solutions
  • HK$200 million will be invested to enhance the operation of the “iAM Smart” platform to improve user experience
  • A tax deduction has also been proposed for the spectrum utilisation fees paid by telecommunications network operators which successfully bid for radio spectrum

Web3

  • HK$50 million will be invested to expedite development of the Web3 ecosystem
  • A task force will be set up to advise on the sustainable development of the virtual asset industry

International GreenTech and GreenFi Centre

  • A Green Technology and Finance Development Committee will be established to formulate an action agenda covering green technology, green finance, green standard certification, etc.
  • An International GreenTech Week will also be organised

Attracting Enterprises and Talents

  • A mechanism to provide facilitation for companies domiciled overseas for re-domiciliation to Hong Kong will be introduced
  • A new Capital Investment Entrant Scheme will be introduced: applicants may reside and pursue development in Hong Kong after making investment at a certain amount in the local asset market, excluding property

With regards to I&T, the Government is working on:

Innovation and Technology

  • HK$6 billion has been set aside for universities and research institutes to set up thematic research centres related to life and health technology
  • HK$3 billion is earmarked to enhance basic research in frontier technology fields such as artificial intelligence and quantum technology
  • A Microelectronics Research and Development Institute will be established to enhance collaboration among universities, R&D centres and the industry, expediting “1 to N” transformation
  • Over HK$260 million has been reserved for Cyberport to nurture smart living start-ups
  • HKSTPC will inject HK$400 million into its Corporate Venture Fund and inject an additional $110 million to launch the Co-acceleration Programme
  • A feasibility study will be conducted on setting up the second Advanced Manufacturing Centre

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) and the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) all voiced their support for the new budget.

PolyU’s President expressed his support for the government’s 2023-24 Budget initiatives aimed at promoting innovation and technology (I&T) development, and encouraging collaboration between the government, industry, academia, and research sectors. These measures are expected to facilitate high-quality development in Hong Kong, advance the city’s status as a global I&T hub, and aid in the nation’s technological progress.

Through PolyU’s State Key Laboratories, Chinese National Engineering Research Centres (Hong Kong Branches), and interdisciplinary research institutes and centres under the PolyU Academy for Interdisciplinary Research, the University will strengthen collaboration with industry.

The objective is to carry out influential research and expedite commercialisation in multiple domains, including health technology, AI, advanced manufacturing, and smart cities. These endeavours will use Hong Kong’s distinctive advantages as a centre for global scientific research collaboration and make noteworthy contributions to both Hong Kong and the nation.

HKUST also welcomed the initiatives announced in the Budget, aimed at enhancing Hong Kong’s innovation and technology (I&T) capabilities. HKUST is committed to fulfilling its missions of advancing knowledge through teaching and research and translating our research outcomes with the view to contributing to the economic and social development of Hong Kong and the nation. The University looks forward to closely collaborating with different stakeholders in the I&T sector on frontier technologies and nurturing of start-up to bring win-win benefits to multiple parties.

HKUST Council Chairman’s stated that the University will continue to fulfill the mission set forth 30 years ago when it was first founded – to help Hong Kong nurture the right talents to support the city’s economic transformation – and to supplement different I&T policies put forward by the Government.

He said that under the framework of ‘Unified HKUST, Complementary Campuses’, which unites the Clear Water Bay and Guangzhou campuses, HKUST is ushering in a new era of HKUST 2.0. The University is committed to actively contributing to the I&T development of the country, the Greater Bay Area, and Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, The Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) endorsed the 2023-24 Budget which assigns resources to boost Hong Kong’s innovation and technology (I&T) initiatives, establish strategic industries, and offer incentives to attract businesses and talent from the Mainland and overseas to the city. These measures will unquestionably enhance Hong Kong’s flourishing I&T ecosystem and stimulate economic growth.

HKSTP’s Chairman stated that the Park welcomes the proposed measures to support the development of I&T infrastructure, businesses, and talent. This includes injecting capital into the Corporate Venture Fund (HKSTP Venture Fund) and launching a Co-acceleration Programme to support even more high-potential start-ups.

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