- Veröffentlicht: 15. Dezember 2020
- Innovation and technology advancements are crucial for any economy, especially in the new normal after Covid-19. Companies must embrace digital transformation to survive
- Government efforts to hasten this transformation deserve support
Hong Kong is fast becoming an innovation and technology hub for the region. As early as 1998, Hong Kong established a Digital 21 Strategy. Since then, the city has developed an impressive information and communication technology (ICT) ecosystem, with over 93 per cent household penetration of broadband, and nearly 100,000 people working in the industry.
Hong Kong has followed this up with a Smart City Blueprint in 2017, committing over HK$900 million (US$116 million) to digital infrastructure, and a Smart City Blueprint 2.0 this year.
In addition, both the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation and Cyberport provide support for digital entrepreneurs, from funding to incubation. For example, Cyberport is administering a HK$120 million scheme to create jobs and further nurture fintech talent. Last year, Cyberport administered HK$50 million to support Hong Kong’s emerging e-sports industry
Non-profits such as the Hong Kong Computer Society have been doing their part to empower the ICT community and support tech start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises. The Computer Society, for example, has been active in disseminating valuable knowledge of ICT through webinars and virtual conferences, with talks by local and global ICT leaders on best practices.
The group’s CIO Board, which consists of chief information officers and heads of IT from prominent organisations in Hong Kong, is a platform to share insights, views, best practices, and experiences, including the latest developments in digital transformation. It has also been advising the government on ICT-related policies and raising public awareness of ICT.
To nurture the next generation of ICT leaders, the Computer Society has a professional and leadership development platform, as well as mentoring programmes. It also has a FACE (Female, Attract, Connect, Engage) Club for women to network and engage in ICT activities, as a way to encourage a more diverse IT workforce and a more inclusive culture in Hong Kong.
The government has given funding to help start-ups and SMEs through these tough times. The Anti-Epidemic Fund includes a Distance Business Programme, a LawTech Fund, rental waivers and 5G subsidies.
Innovation and technology advancements are crucial for any economy, especially in the new normal after Covid-19. For companies of all sizes to survive, digital transformation is a must. All aspects of our daily lives, whether it is work, family or entertainment, have gone digital. If a company does not have a digital presence, it cannot survive. For example, the retail industry and the banking and financial services industry have embraced digital transformation in a very short time.
Hong Kong regulators have also been very quick to accept new modes of digital interactions. According to GlobalData’s recent survey on ICT investment trends in Hong Kong, enterprises here plan to spend an average 39.3 per cent of their ICT budget on digital transformation initiatives in 2020 amid the Covid-19 crisis; that is about 7.7 per cent more than 2019.
As an international commercial and financial centre that needs to work with countries around the world, Hong Kong has always embraced international standards for better integration with international partners as well as in the Greater Bay Area. The adoption of cloud and open APIs (application programming interfaces) has greatly accelerated this process.
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority has been developing an Open API Framework for the banking sector, which will further accelerate fintech development in Hong Kong by allowing easy integration and access and providing consumers with an unprecedented level of convenience and functionality. This framework is being launched in four phases, beginning last year; the third and fourth phases are starting soon. Together with Hong Kong’s new virtual bank licences, this will create a rich ecosystem supporting new nonbank fintech players.
Doing business across borders can be challenging in times of Covid-19, especially for SMEs and start-ups, when travelling and face-to-face meetings are not possible. The government launched a Covid-19 Online Dispute Resolution Scheme in June to provide mediation and arbitration services for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as members of the public.
The eBRAM International Online Dispute Resolution Centre, which operates the scheme, is a not-for-profit organisation established in 2018 with support from the Asian Academy of International Law, Hong Kong Bar Association, and The Law Society of Hong Kong. It leverages the latest technologies, such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, cloud and soft robotics, to ensure security and data privacy when handling electronic arbitration and mediation across borders.
Hopefully, with schemes and organisations like these, SMEs will be better equipped for expansion outside Hong Kong, including in the wider Greater Bay Area, and countries in the Belt and Road Initiative, even during Covid-19.
Lastly, what really drives digital transformation is artificial intelligence and machine learning. With streams of data collected on customers and businesses, AI is needed to make sense of data and turn it into valuable insights so as to improve customer experiences and business efficiencies. Given Hong Kong’s research and development capabilities at the Science and Technology Parks and Cyberport, SMEs and enterprises can benefit from Hong Kong’s growing pool of talent in data, AI and machine learning.
Autor(en)/Author(s): Andy Chun
Quelle/Source: South China Morning Post, 08.12.2020