The digital economy has transformed the world in unprecedented ways, reforming traditional business models and creating new industries. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of a robust digital economy like never before.
From e-commerce and online education, to remote work and smart city innovations, the adoption of digital technologies is now part of the new normal today around the world everywhere. The digital economy offers a way forward for businesses and individuals alike, providing opportunities for growth and resilience in the face of uncertainties.
That is why we have rebranded this summit from its previous name of Internet Economy Summit to the Digital Economy Summit this year.
This year’s summit is the first in-person mega event in the field of innovation and technology organised by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, since our emergence from the COVID-19 epidemic. Yes, Hong Kong has resumed normalcy in full and is back on the centre stage.
This two-day summit serves as the perfect occasion for senior executives, entrepreneurs, innovators, academics and policy makers worldwide to reconnect again, in Hong Kong, in Asia’s world city.
At the first session of the 14th National People’s Congress held in Beijing last month, President Xi Jinping said that our country would fully implement a development strategy driven by innovation and constantly increase our scientific and technological capabilities.
Under the unique principle of “one country, two systems”, Hong Kong enjoys the unparalleled advantage of having the strong support of national strategies, while being connected with the rest of the world. The country’s key strategies of the National 14th Five-Year Plan and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area development support Hong Kong’s development into an international I&T centre.
We are now poised to start a new chapter of digital economy development through our persistent pursuit of I&T advancement.
As Hong Kong emerges from stability to prosperity, the Hong Kong SAR Government is committed to promoting I&T development in order to foster a more vibrant and diversified economy. To echo the theme of today’s summit, we must embrace the sweeping changes brought about by the digital revolution, in order to emerge stronger than ever in a smarter future.
To lead Hong Kong in moving full steam towards becoming an international innovation and technology (I&T) centre, we published the Hong Kong I&T Development Blueprint last December. It sets out four broad development directions, formulates eight major strategies and devises specific development targets at different stages. Here, I would like to take the opportunity to highlight some of the major strategies.
First, to enhance Hong Kong’s competitiveness and speed up industry development, we established the Office for Attracting Strategic Enterprises last December. The office is dedicated to attracting enterprises of strategic importance and investments.
Next is the $30 billion Co-Investment Fund, designed to encourage enterprises with strategic development value to set up or expand their businesses in Hong Kong.
In addition, we will launch the $10 billion Research, Academic & Industry Sectors One-plus Scheme. This “RAISe +” scheme is going to further promote the transformation and commercialisation of Hong Kong’s outstanding research and development outcome.
We will also forge ahead with the construction of the Hong Kong-Shenzhen I&T Park. With a gross floor area of 1.2 million sq m, the Park is set to become Hong Kong’s largest-ever I&T platform.
Together with neighbouring land and its counterpart the Shenzhen I&T Zone, the area will form the 540-hectare Shenzhen-Hong Kong I&T Co-operation Zone. It will power the rise of the Greater Bay Area as one of the world’s I&T hubs and provide bountiful opportunities for innovators and dreamers from all over the world.
As announced in this year’s Budget of the Hong Kong SAR Government, we will commit over $700 million to expedite the development of digital economy and over $9 billion to roll out an array of I&T initiatives and measures.
We have also issued a policy statement last year to set out Hong Kong’s commitment towards the development of virtual assets. This forms our larger plans in capitalising on the development of the third generation Internet, or Web3.0, in which we see huge potential for future growth. All these clearly demonstrate that the Hong Kong SAR Government will continue to proactively steer our future high-quality economic development in the era of digital economy.
Ladies and gentlemen, as the only city in the world where the global advantages and the China advantage converge, Hong Kong will continue to be the ideal base for Mainland enterprises to develop their global reach and a launch pad for foreign companies to gain access to the Mainland Chinese market. It is our top priority to ensure that the business and investment prospects in Hong Kong will continue to flourish in the years to come.
Chief Executive John Lee gave these remarks at the Digital Economy Summit 2023 on April 13.