Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland should collaborate to strengthen the role of the internet in the public service sector, a senior mainland government official urged on Monday.
Cooperation should be stepped up in using the internet to support and benefit the people in education, healthcare, culture and life after retirement, said Yang Xiaowei, deputy director of the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC).
He made the call at the opening of the two-day Internet Economy Summit in Hong Kong with the theme “Digital Economy Redefines Our Future”.
Yang stressed that the recently unveiled Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area offers Hong Kong a rare opportunity to develop innovation and technology.
Focusing on the integrated development of Hong Kong, Macao and nine cities in Guangdong province, the Bay Area plan expects Hong Kong to play a key role as a global innovation and technology center.
Yang said collaboration between Hong Kong and the mainland should be strengthened first in the high-end manufacturing digital economy and the cultural field to contribute to internet intercommunication among the nations and regions involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.
He also highlighted the importance of talent training and communication, especially institutional improvement, to encourage Hong Kong talents to work and live on the mainland.
In her opening remarks, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said the internet is now the bedrock of innovation and technology, and is at the heart of cloud computing, big data analytics, the Internet of Things, fintech, blockchain, artificial intelligence, robotics and many more to come.
“Hong Kong is already building an impressive foundation for our strategic role in the Bay Area. The Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park, which is about four times the size of Hong Kong’s Science Park, is under construction in Hong Kong, strategically close to Shenzhen,” Lam noted.
“We’re also enhancing deep collaboration with other cities and research institutions on the mainland, thanks to the relaxation of cross-boundary remittances for science and technology project funding,” she said.
“The Bay Area – one of the most exciting urban developments in history – will be an ideal place to embrace the fourth industrial revolution,” said David Aikman, chief representative officer of Greater China and member of the Executive Committee of the World Economic Forum.
He said openness remains the fundamental driver of competiveness in the industrial revolution, and the Bay Area has to embody the notion of openness.
Steven Weber – a professor at the University of California, Berkeley’s School of Information – called for cyber-security to be placed at the top of issues in the internet era.
“The problem set is evolving more quickly than our understanding, and different countries and industries will grapple with these challenges in different ways, so gaining foresight into those differences in advance enables us to tilt the digital world in a direction that’s more secure and beneficial to people and societies,” Weber said.
But, what worries him most is not protecting networks and data from thieves, but the protection of manipulation. Thus, data integrity and trust need to be maintained, he said.
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