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In striving to integrate into the national development, Hong Kong must seize the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area opportunities and capitalise on its advantages as an international innovation and technology centre.

Financial Secretary Paul Chan made the statement this morning when delivering the Budget speech, noting that as Hong Kong integrates into the national development, the city must fully leverage its unique advantages and irreplaceable role under "one country, two systems" to make proactive contributions to the modernisation of the country.

“The bay area is the best entry point for Hong Kong to integrate into the national development. It has a population of 86 million, and is also the country's most affluent area.

“By joining hands with our bay area sister cities to achieve synergy in the development of a number of major industries, Hong Kong can certainly spearhead high quality development of the entire bay area.”

International Innovation & Technology Centre

In conjunction with that strategy, Hong Kong has to better capitalise on its advantage as an international innovation and technology (I&T) centre, Mr Chan stressed.

Apart from strengthening co-operation with the Mainland and overseas, he pointed out that Hong Kong should also make good use of the vast Mainland market as well as the regional advantages of the bay area.

Furthermore, he suggested pooling the efforts of the Government, industry, academic and research sectors to commercialise research and development (R&D) results and promote the development of I&T industry.

“The Government has been stepping up efforts in promoting I&T development through an array of measures over the past few years, which have begun to yield solid results. The number of startups in Hong Kong has increased to about 4,000 with over 10 unicorns.

“Hong Kong has been Asia's largest and the world's second largest fundraising hub for biotechnology companies in recent years.”

To seize the immense opportunities arising from the 14th Five-Year Plan and the bay area development, the finance chief said the Government promulgated the Hong Kong Innovation & Technology Development Blueprint last year to map out the development directions and strategies of future I&T development.

Life technology and artificial intelligence

Mr Chan announced that $6 billion has been earmarked for enhancing support for the transformation of R&D outcomes as well as R&D activities related to life and health technology.

Such an amount will provide subsidies for universities and research institutes to set up thematic research centres. The aims are to foster cross-university, cross-institutional and multi-disciplinary co-operation.

He will also set aside an abundance of money to further enhance basic research in frontier technology fields such as artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum technology.

“I will earmark $3 billion to promote the development of relevant facilities, in particular, to leverage Hong Kong's unique advantage as a platform for international scientific research collaboration and attract leading I&T talents, research teams and enterprises from the Mainland and overseas to Hong Kong, thereby promoting cross-sectoral research co-operation.”

Microelectronics Research & Development Institute

The Financial Secretary also outlined plans to establish a Microelectronics Research & Development Institute to enhance collaboration among universities, R&D centres and the industry.

“Microelectronics is the core technology in high-tech and information industries. Given the rapid growth of its global demand, microelectronics has infinite room for development and Hong Kong must seize this opportunity.

“The institute will be tasked with strengthening collaboration with universities, R&D centres and the industry and expediting the '1 to N' transformation of technological outcomes.

“This will help pool together Mainland and overseas talent in relevant fields and strengthen the nurturing of local R&D talent.”

Nurture Startups

On top of that, Mr Chan divulged that $265 million is being reserved for Cyberport to nurture smart living startups and explained why the Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTPC) is injecting $400 million to benefit a particular fund.

“The Government has been supporting the sustainable development of the I&T ecosystem in Hong Kong through the HKSTPC and Cyberport.

“To step up investment in technology startups, the HKSTPC will inject $400 million into its Corporate Venture Fund to help more technology startups with potential.

“In addition, the HKSTPC will, through consolidating its existing Acceleration Programme and injecting an additional amount of $110 million, launch the Co-acceleration Programme in collaboration with co-operation partners to support the growth of technology startups with high potential into regional or global enterprises.

“To tie in with the policy of developing smart city and digital economy, I will earmark $265 million for Cyberport to launch a dedicated incubation programme for smart living startups, under which a maximum grant of $500,000 as well as targeted professional support and counselling will be provided.”

New Industrialisation

Mr Chan expounded in his Budget speech about the importance of conducting a feasibility study on setting up the second Advanced Manufacturing Centre (AMC).

“Advanced manufacturing activities generate R&D demand and encourage private enterprises to invest more resources in R&D work, thereby supporting Hong Kong in developing into an international I&T centre.

“The AMC in the Tseung Kwan O InnoPark was opened in April 2022, providing advanced manufacturing space of about 110,000 sq m.

“To tie in with the policy objectives of attracting strategic enterprises to establish a presence in Hong Kong and promoting new industrialisation, the Government will plan ahead to provide more advanced manufacturing space, including to support the setting up of the second AMC, on which the HKSTPC is currently conducting a feasibility study.”

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Quelle/Source: news.gov.hk, 22.02.2023

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