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Friday, August 23, 2019, 22:52
HK needs to do more to improve status as a technology hub
By Oswald Chan
Friday, August 23, 2019, 22:52 By Oswald Chan

Hong Kong should create more scenarios for adopting services provided by local technology enterprises to boost its status as a technology and innovation hub.

Panelists made this point on Friday at a roundtable hosted by the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, the city’s largest political party.

The roundtable invited entrepreneurs from the innovation and technology industry to exchange views on how to foster industry development as part of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area economic blueprint.

The administration should strengthen its abilities to carry out procurement policies that favor technology services provided by local companies

Elizabeth Quat

DAB lawmaker

“The administration should strengthen its abilities to carry out procurement policies that favor technology services provided by local companies,” DAB lawmaker Elizabeth Quat said

The administration is slow in revamping outdated legislation to foster industry development, she said.

The government in 2017 pledged that its expenditure on research and development as a percentage of GDP would increase from 0.73 percent to 1.5 percent between 2017 and 2022. It also earmarked HK$50 billion ($6.38 billion) in 2018 for innovation and technology development.

“The Hong Kong market does not provide adequate scenarios for the adoption of technology services. The lack of these is the main hurdle hindering the development of the city’s innovation and technology industry,” said Shang Hailong, general manager at SenseTime Hong Kong, a global technology company specializing in artificial intelligence.

Hendrick Sin, president of the Internet Professional Association, said the government should do more to cultivate technology experts at the middle and junior level in companies.

“The government also does not provide adequate support for technology startups to conduct product trials. The limited market size of Hong Kong impedes technology companies from obtaining further funding from the capital market,” Sin said.

Smart-city technology is one of the scenarios that Hong Kong should capitalize on in order to boost the city’s status as an innovation and technology hub.

“The government should take a step big forward — negotiating with other governments to push other countries to adopt Hong Kong’s smart technology solutions,” Smart City Consortium President Gary Yeung said.

The first 50 smart lampposts under a government pilot program are being installed in selected road sections in Kwun Tong and the Kai Tak Development Area. They will begin operating at the end of June. The smart lampposts are being developed under the Multi-Functional Smart Lampposts pilot program under the Smart City Blueprint

Equipped with sensors, data networks and related digital facilities, smart lampposts can enhance city management through the collection of real-time data such as weather, environment and traffic. They are suitable for installing microcell stations of fifth-generation (5G) mobile communications services and providing Wi-Fi and future 5G services to people.

In addition to Kwun Tong and the Kai Tak Development Area, the government will progressively install about 400 smart lampposts in the next three years in the Central, Admiralty, Causeway Bay and Wan Chai districts, as well as Tsim Sha Tsui. The administration will evaluate the program’s performance next year.

Amid the development of the Bay Area, entrepreneurs should also evaluate their business prospects.

“Technology entrepreneurs in the Bay Area can develop and promote their technology standards to the world,” said Jimmy Tao, managing director and CEO of Vitargent International Holdings, a bio-testing technology company for product safety.

Hong Kong, with its stringent standards in food safety and biotechnology, could become a leader in promoting such standards, he added.

oswald@chinadailyhk.com


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