Hong Kong has not been known for being innovative nor technologically advance. However, in the past few years, a catching up has been in place hoping to boost Hong Kong’s ranking in these arenas. There are institutions being empowered for this purpose.
1) The Innovation and Technology Bureau is tasked to:
- strengthen cooperation among stakeholders and create greater synergy;
- encourage private sector participation in Research & Development (R&D) and commercialization of R&D results;
- coordinate inter-bureau policy efforts in R&D and technology matters;
- strengthen collaboration with other economies to promote scientific and technology exchanges;
- enhance support for nurturing of innovation and technology talents.
One of the major missions is to transform HK into a smart city. The eID project which will enable citizens to have e-access to Government services is underway.
2) The HK Science and Technology Park (HKSTP), a statutory body, was set up in 2002 to support Biomedical Technology,Electronics, Green Technology,Information and Communications Technology and Material and Precision Engineering. These technological clusters aim to provide solutions for smart city, healthy ageing and robotics.
In 2017 the Governments of Shenzhen and of Hong Kong announced the joint development of the Lok Ma Chau Loop Innovation and Technology Park of which the HKSTP will be responsible for its management. This Park, with a size of 87 hectares, aims to boost the technology ranking of this area and act as incubator for start-ups. It will also alleviate HK’s lack of land and human resources. Residents in Shenzhen could cross the border to work in the Park. HK$20 billion has been earmarked for the first phase development with more to come. Engineering work for the site is now in progress and the first batch of land parcels are expected to be available by 2021.
3) Located inside the HKSTP is the Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute with the mission of enhancing R&D as well as technology transfer / commercialization. As at 31 March 2019, approx. 25% of its technology staff has PhD qualifications. 66 patents have been filed by the Technology Division in 2018-2019.
4) Another innovation center owned by the HK Government is the Cyberport with its focus to be the hub for digital technology thereby creating a new economic driver for Hong Kong. Together with the HKSTP, incubation programs are in place to help the startups grow.
With these efforts and with the ecosystem enhancing constantly, HK now has a number of unicorns e.g. WeLab (one of the virtual banks recently licensed by the HK Monetary Authority), Sensetime, Gogovan, Lalamove, Klook etc.
Hopefully, HK can be recognized as an innovation and technology in the near future as the Government is pouring more and more resources for this purpose.