Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam speaks at the Visionary Forum of the Internet Economy Summit 2018 in Hong Kong on April 12, 2018. (GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES)
Hong Kong is set to transform itself from an economy based on traditional financial services into a hub for innovative, new-economy companies, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor told a high-powered forum on the internet economy on Thursday.
The third Internet Economy Summit, themed “New Impetus for the New Economy”, discussed multi-pronged strategies to harness innovation and technology.
Leading internet companies and “unicorns” have become heavyweight driving forces in many economies, shaking up the business landscape worldwide with their disruptive technologies. Authorities in Hong Kong are set to revamp the city, which has flourished on traditional financial services for decades, into a magnet for new, high-growth industries that are at the cutting edge of technology.
We must keep reinforcing and upgrading our capability, as well as providing a conducive ecosystem for innovation and technology development in Hong Kong
Carrie Lam, Hong Kong Chief Executive
“Internet has led the world into the digital era and created a whole new economy as well as countless business opportunities,” Lam told the government-initiated forum. “We must keep reinforcing and upgrading our capability, as well as providing a conducive ecosystem for innovation and technology development in Hong Kong.”
Hong Kong policymakers have introduced a flurry of initiatives to meet the needs of the new economy. The Hong Kong Stock Exchange is set to overhaul its listing rules, opening the doors to new-economy firms that have yet to turn a profit. This sends a clear signal that authorities are ramping up reform efforts; for the first time Hong Kong provides generous tax deductions of as much as 300 percent for research and development expenditure enterprises incur.
The new economy was a key part of Lam’s maiden policy address delivered last year. Since taking office on July 1 last year, Lam and the new administration have come up with a holistic approach – ranging from more resources for R&D and nurturing a talent pool to venture capital and popular-science education – to shore up Hong Kong’s competiveness in innovation and technology.
“I have set a goal to double Hong Kong's R&D expenditure as a ratio to gross domestic product to 1.5 per cent by 2022 – or about HK$45 billion a year,” the chief executive pledged at the summit.
Lam told the forum that she believed the four key technology areas highlighted in the policy address – healthcare technologies, artificial intelligence and robotics, smart city and Fintech – can become new economic drivers for Hong Kong's future development,”
Boosting the new economy has taken on new meaning in the context of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area, as Lam noted Hong Kong has a vital role to play in the promulgating China’s version of Silicon Valley.
The Internet Economy Summit is an annual flagship summit co-organized by the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer and the Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company.
This year the forum brought together experts from renowned tech firms – such as Google, IBM, JD.com, Amazon, Ping An Technology, Facebook, Microsoft, Alibaba Cloud and Huawei Technologies – to present their thoughts on how AI, big data, cloud technology and e-commerce have improved industry and fueled their growth.