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Published: 16:08, June 30, 2022 | Updated: 16:12, June 30, 2022
National support pushes HK's claims as an international I&T hub
By Su Zihan
Published:16:08, June 30, 2022 Updated:16:12, June 30, 2022 By Su Zihan

Photo taken on July 14, 2020 shows the Golden Bauhinia Square in south China's Hong Kong. (WU XIAOCHU / XINHUA)

Strong and sustained national support for Hong Kong’s development as an international innovation and technology center has provided a promising pathway for the city’s I&T industry.

Innovation and technology is reshaping Hong Kong’s traditional model of economic development and is seen as the new engine that will enable the city to sustain its long-term growth, said Zhang Zhaoxiang, executive director of the Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics of the Hong Kong Institute of Science and Innovation.

Operated with the support of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Hong Kong Special Administrative government, the Hong Kong Institute of Science and Innovation, CAS is a non-profit organization and the first mainland institution approved by the central government to set up a branch in Hong Kong since the SAR’s return to the motherland.

With the strong support of the National 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) last year for the development of Hong Kong as an international I&T center, and the tremendous opportunities brought about by the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, Hong Kong’s pathway to I&T development will be promising, Zhang Zhaoxiang, executive director of the Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics of the Hong Kong Institute of Science and Innovation said

HKISI, CAS is dedicated to promoting the establishment of joint laboratories and research centers between CAS and Hong Kong universities and conducting joint research work, covering areas such as basic frontier research and promoting the transfer of research achievements.

READ MORE: Hong Kong can’t afford to be shortsighted with I&T development

The Center for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics is set to promote collaboration between Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland, supporting innovation development in the fields of AI and robotics in Hong Kong, bringing new opportunities across multiple sectors, Zhang said.

“Hong Kong is endowed with a series of unparalleled advantages, with a well-established science and technology infrastructure and strong research capabilities,” Zhang said, adding that the HKSAR government is committed to building Hong Kong into an international technology hub and has been supporting innovation and technology development through a range of funding and concessionary policies.

Two years after Hong Kong’s return to the motherland, the Natural Science Foundation of China and the Hong Kong Research Grants Council set up the first joint research grant fund to promote collaboration between researchers in Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland. By the end of June 2022, the scheme had funded a total of 493 projects.

The Ministry of Science and Technology approved the establishment of the first batch of Partner State Key Laboratories at Hong Kong University in 2005 -- the SKL for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the SKL for Brain and Cognitive Sciences.

In 2012, 56 Hong Kong experts were selected for the National Science and Technology Programmes Expert Database to support the work of Ministry, to assess the implementation of approved projects and provide advice and suggestions on the management of national science and technology projects.

READ MORE: Fund pegged for I&T development

In the past five years, the HKSAR has unprecedentedly invested over HK$150 billion ($19.11 billion) to support I&T development, and spearhead the “InnoHK Research Clusters” initiative with more than HK$20 billion to promote the development of life science and artificial intelligence and robotics, the strategic fields in which Hong Kong enjoys clear advantages.

With the strong support of the National 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) last year for the development of Hong Kong as an international I&T center, and the tremendous opportunities brought about by the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, Hong Kong’s pathway to I&T development will be promising, Zhang said.

He believes the city is well positioned and has accumulated talent in the field of AI and robotics. The unicorn companies in this field have been springing up in recent years, and the demand for AI in Hong Kong is becoming increasingly diverse and prosperous in all aspects, he said.

Backed by Hong Kong’s rich technological resources and its status as a world-class technology center, enterprises in the city should set their vision globally, make full use of the city’s own advantages of internationalization, actively embrace the support and policies provided by the central government, and integrate into the overall situation of the nation to embrace longer-term development prospects, he added.

READ MORE: We need to transform HK into an international I&T talent hub

Focusing on fundamental and frontline theoretical research in AI and robotics, CAIR has extensive collaboration with local universities and research institutes in Hong Kong, aiming to explore cutting-edge technologies and approaches to integrate technologies with concepts such as smart cities, intelligent transportation and smart healthcare to improve people’s health and social well-being.


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