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Published: 12:26, August 25, 2021 | Updated: 13:02, August 25, 2021
Efforts in the pipeline to unleash HK's inno-tech potential
By Gang Wen
Published:12:26, August 25, 2021 Updated:13:02, August 25, 2021 By Gang Wen

In this June 6, 2017 photo, the Charles K. Kao Auditorium stands among other buildings at Hong Kong Science Park - one of Hong Kong's major incubators for sci-tech startups. (PHOTO / VCG VIA CHINADAILY.COM.CN)

Officials from the Ministry of Science and Technology on Tuesday said there would be more policies and measures to step up collaboration between the Chinese mainland and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, to transform the city into a high ground for inno-tech in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. 

The nation’s 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25), the outline of which was released in March, supports Hong Kong’s effort to become a global innovation and technology hub. 

“This is the goal that the mainland and Hong Kong are working toward,” said Li Xiao, deputy director-general of the China Science and Technology Exchange Center of the Ministry of Science and Technology. 

In a media briefing in Hong Kong, Li said the city’s strength in innovation and technology is “obvious”, as it is home to several of the world’s top universities, with leading scholars and scientists, and it maintains an international connection by hosting various exchange activities. There is also the city’s strength in scientific research, Li added. 

Li is a member of a high-level cross-department delegation from the central government visiting the city to brief its leaders and members of the public on the 14th Five-Year Plan. Delegates began their tour on Monday, when they gave talks at the city’s government headquarters and legislative complex. 

Under the current circumstances, Hong Kong can achieve the innovation and technology goals set in the nation’s 14th Five-Year Plan

Li Xiao, Deputy Director-General, China Science and Technology Exchange Center, Ministry of Science and Technology

On Tuesday, they attended a summit on the national plan organized by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council and a local business group. 

Li, who worked in Hong Kong many years ago, said he found society’s attitudes toward innovation and starting one’s own business to be positive and friendly. 

Building synergy 

Under the current circumstances, with favorable policies on cross-border funding, talent and infrastructure in place, Hong Kong can achieve the innovation and technology goals set in the nation’s 14th Five-Year Plan, Li said. 

Speaking at the same event, Huang Shengbiao, deputy director-general of the Department of Research Commercialization and Regional Innovation of the ministry, noted that a single city would be unable to develop into an international inno-tech hub by relying only on its own strengths and resources. 

This requires the city to set its sights on the whole Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, closely collaborate with other cities in the region, and leverage the strengths of the 11-city cluster, Huang said. 

Looking forward, Li stressed that the country will open more national projects to Hong Kong scientists, including the possibility of allowing Hong Kong scientists to apply for the major national science and technology projects aiming for 2030 set out by the nation earlier. 

Li added that National Natural Science Foundation of China is considering concrete measures to extend access to its funding to Hong Kong applicants, and in November, it will launch a new round of applications. 

To facilitate industrial integration, Li said that the ministry also will support top universities, scientific research institutions and national high-tech zones on the mainland to establish branches or research organizations in Hong Kong. 

Hong Kong is home to 16 key State laboratories and six branches of the Chinese National Engineering Research Centres. 

In November 2018, the Chinese Academy of Sciences signed a memorandum of understanding with the Hong Kong SAR government, confirming that it will set up an affiliated institution in the city. 

Li said he believes more universities and research institutions on the mainland are willing to cooperate with Hong Kong and establish branches in the city. 

Contact the writer at gangwen@chinadaily.com.cn 

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