Global STEM Professorship Scheme
Attractiveness of the Global STEM Professorship Scheme
Mr CHAN Chun-ying expressed support for the Scheme as talent was a key component of promoting I&T development. Noting that the Administration would provide subsidy up to 50% of the actual remuneration offered by the university to the awarded scholars, subject to a ceiling of $1 million per annum for each professorship for at most five years, Mr CHAN enquired whether the remuneration package of the Scheme would be attractive to the I&T scholars who might otherwise enjoy lifetime employment in universities. Noting that the total commitment for each professorship was $5 million (to be awarded over a period of five years) whereas the total commitment for the research team was $4.6 million(to be awarded over a period of three years),Mr CHAN enquired about the rationale behind the discrepancy in the subsidy period.
S for IT advised that the objective of the Scheme was to support the eight universities funded by the University Grants Committee in recruiting internationally renowned I&T scholars and their research teams to work in Hong Kong by providing funding for the universities in order to offer more competitive remuneration package. In addition to the remuneration of the awarded scholars and subsidy for the research teams, there would also be subsidy for setting up laboratories. The remuneration package of university professors was a matter within the autonomy of the universities. Under the Scheme, a subsidy for the remuneration of the scholars, equivalent to 50% of that offered by the university, would be provided, subject to a ceiling of $1 million per year. Regarding the subsidy period of the research team, it was set at three years to tie in with the usual time needed for the completion of a research project. S for IT added that the total commitment of the Scheme now stood at around $2 billion, but the Administration would consider the need to expand the Scheme if such was warranted.
Mr CHAN Chun-ying enquired about the criteria to be employed to assess the effectiveness of the Scheme.
S for IT advised that it would assess the performance of the awarded scholars based on the R&D results achieved and the commercialization rate of such results, etc. The universities concerned would be required to submit annual reports, which would comprise the performance appraisal of awarded scholars and the progress of using the subsidy, to the Assessment Panel. The subsidy granted to individual scholars/research team members could be terminated if there was any non-compliance with the funding requirements.
Findings of the survey of companies in Hong Kong with parent companies located outside Hong Kong and the survey of startups in Hong Kong
Annual Survey of Companies in Hong Kong with Parent Companies Located outside Hong Kong
Mr CHAN Chun-ying said that according to the Annual Survey of Companies in Hong Kong with Parent Companies Located outside Hong Kong, the number of RHQs/regional offices (“ROs”)/local offices (“LOs”) in the financial and banking sector fell from 1 787 in 2019 to 1 735 in 2020. He asked whether InvestHK had followed up with those RHQs/ROs/LOs which had quitted Hong Kong, with a view to formulating appropriate measures to retain FDI. Besides, noting that among the projects completed by InvestHK in 2019, around 47% and 36% of the companies concerned considered access to the Greater Bay Area and the Belt and Road markets respectively as one of the factors in their investment/expansion decisions, Mr CHAN asked about the corresponding figures in relation to projects completed in 2020.
DGIP responded that in many cases InvestHK/C&SD came to know concerned RHQs/ROs/LOs had left Hong Kong only when it tried to approach them for the survey. Without a contact person, it was difficult to identify the reasons of their departures. According to InvestHK’s analysis, their departures might involve a wide range of issues. Some of these companies might have merged with other entities or have been acquired, whereas some might have shifted their focuses to other parts of the world. InvestHK had however engaged with companies which were known to be considering phasing out part or all of their businesses from Hong Kong, and noted that their considerations were typically commercial in substance. Some of these companies could not find the client segments in the city while others might consider relocating the businesses because of the changes in supply chain.
DGIP and Associate Director-General of Investment Promotion 3 (“ADGIP3”) further advised that apart from the two annual surveys mentioned in the Administration’s paper, InvestHK also collected views from companies which had established a presence or undergone a significant expansion in Hong Kong through InvestHK upon completion of a new or expansion investment. In 2020, around 46% and 30% of these companies considered development of the Greater Bay Area and the Belt and Road Initiative as key attractions for their investment in Hong Kong. ADGIP3 added that startups were also attracted by Hong Kong’s proximity to the Mainland cities in the Greater Bay Area. Apart from that, Government’s funding support was one of the key reasons for startups to establish a presence in Hong Kong.
Mr CHAN Chun-ying considered that InvestHK should, when meeting potential clients, accord strong emphasis on Hong Kong’s financial stability, including the stability of the Hong Kong dollar exchange rate through the Link Exchange Rate System, the robust banking system and the integrity of the equity capital market. He also asked how InvestHK collaborated with other government departments and key stakeholders to attract FDI.
DGIP assured members that when promoting Hong Kong around the world, InvestHK covered all the fundamental attributes of Hong Kong including those mentioned by Mr CHAN Chun-ying. In terms of collaboration, InvestHK had been working closely with other government departments and local stakeholders which varied across sectors. InvestHK worked with the Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau (“FSTB”) which provided InvestHK funding to establish a dedicated Financial Technology team and would also be working with FSTB on attracting family offices. It collaborated with the Financial Services Development Council, regulators, trade associations in the financial services sector, as well as the Innovation and Technology Bureau, Innovation and Technology Commission, HKSTPC, Cyberport, Hong Kong Productivity Council, R&D Centres, local universities and business technology community in Hong Kong in the I&T sector. InvestHK also worked in close partnership with the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Offices and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council outside Hong Kong on its promotion activities.