Welcome to the inaugural Global Innovation & Technology Summit organised by the Innovation & Technology Commission of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government. Today’s summit features some 30 world-class scientists, academics and researchers from Asia, Europe and North America.
This summit is the latest in a series of international events being staged here in Hong Kong. It began in early November, with the Global Financial Leaders’ Investment Summit – an event that attracted more than 200 international leaders from some 120 financial institutions. Since then, we have welcomed the world to the Hong Kong Legal Week, the Maritime Week and, taking place this very week, the Construction Innovation Expo and the Asia Cultural Co-operation Forum.
These, and other global gatherings, underline a clear and compelling message: that Hong Kong is back onstage, back in business, back to creating opportunities for you and your business.
Technology is reshaping our world. The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the transformation. That reality makes the theme of today’s summit – “Innovate for a Better World” – particularly timely.
We are doing just that – for a better Hong Kong, for a stronger economy, a more connected community and a more comfy lifestyle.
Hong Kong’s innovation and technology (I&T) sector, together with that of Shenzhen and Guangzhou, ranks second in the world among science and technology clusters, according to this year’s Global Innovation Index, produced by the World Intellectual Property Organization.
The central government fully supports Hong Kong’s development as an international I&T hub. With that support, we are pressing ahead with the construction of the Hong Kong-Shenzhen I&T Park.
On its full development, the park will provide a gross floor area of 1.2 million sq m in the Lok Ma Chau Loop alone. That, ladies and gentlemen, is about three times the scale of our current Science Park.
And that’s not even the half of it. Together with the Shenzhen I&T Zone, it will rise as the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Innovation & Technology Co-operation Zone. This “one zone, two parks” initiative will attract Mainland and overseas I&T companies to Hong Kong and power the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area’s rise as one of the world’s I&T hubs.
The bay area will, ultimately, expand our domestic market tenfold – and more. At the same time, it will fast-track Hong Kong’s integration into the country’s national development, with all the long-term opportunity that promises.
In my Policy Address, I laid out a roadmap to accelerate Hong Kong’s I&T progress, including expanding our I&T infrastructure. The ongoing expansion at Science Park and Cyberport alone will provide 100,000 sq m of additional floor area. Meanwhile, we are pressing ahead, with a concerted re‑industrialisation strategy, as well – establishing more smart production lines and considering a second Advanced Manufacturing Centre.
We are also stepping up the commercialisation of our research and development. To that end, we are launching a HK$10 billion funding initiative, equivalent to some US$1.2 billion. The Research, Academic & Industry Sectors One-plus Scheme will fund, on a matching basis, at least 100 university research teams with strong potential to become I&T startups. We are determined to encourage transformative collaboration among our industry, academic and research sectors.
Talent, and talent alone, creates the innovation that inspires smart technology. To expand our talent base, we are enhancing existing talent admission schemes and introducing the Top Talent Pass Scheme. It is designed to entice graduates of the world’s top 100 universities, together with high-income professionals, to pursue their careers in Hong Kong.
We are also establishing a dedicated Office for Attracting Strategic Enterprises. Its purpose is to attract companies focused on areas of strategic importance to Hong Kong. We will offer them attractive perks and make it as easy as possible for them to say yes to Hong Kong.
Then there is the HK$30 billion, or US$3.8 billion, Co-Investment Fund. It will be used to encourage companies to set up or expand their businesses in Hong Kong. In doing so, it can only create more jobs, more opportunities, for Hong Kong.
We are committed to Hong Kong’s rise as a smart city supported by a smart government. That means actively opening up data, while boosting data flow between Hong Kong and the Mainland. It means getting all government services online within the next two years.
Ladies and gentlemen, that just touches on a few of our I&T initiatives. I can tell you that the Hong Kong SAR Government will soon publish an I&T Development Blueprint, setting out our major strategies and development directions for the years to come.
Many of us from Hong Kong will remember that back in 2003, Hong Kong welcomed Yang Liwei, our country’s first man in space here. He visited a secondary school and planted a sapling on the school ground there. That tree now stands tall and strong on our soil.
And so are Hong Kong’s scientific and research achievements, after decades of investment and development. Just two months ago, the country launched its recruitment of payload specialists for the first time in Hong Kong, giving Hong Kong people the opportunity to participate in the National Manned Space Programme. It goes to demonstrate the country’s confidence in our rise as an international centre for I&T.
Chief Executive John Lee gave these remarks at the Global I&T Summit on December 15.