Speech at Panel on Commerce and Industry

New programme to step up promotion of Hong Kong’s professional services under the Professional Services Advancement Support Scheme

Coverage of professional services sectors

Mr CHAN Chun-ying noted that according to the information on the PASS thematic website, projects involving building and construction-related services, and health-related services, which numbered 17 and 20 respectively, made up a considerable share of the 75 projects funded since the launch of PASS in 2016. However, the number of projects involving company secretary services and business consultancy services was relatively few, and there was no project involving veterinary services at all. Mr CHAN enquired about the reasons for such phenomenon. Regarding the narrow scope of the five approved-in-principle activities under PSP which did not cover health-related services, veterinary services, waste management and environmental consultancy services, and technical testing and analysis services, Mr CHAN urged the Administration to liaise with the professional bodies concerned and work out relevant activities for these sectors.

DSCED(C&I)2 advised that the Administration had promoted PASS (including PSP) through various channels, and approached various professional bodies to encourage applications. The new approach under PSP would enable the Administration, ETOs and HKTDC to take the initiative to target specific professional services sectors. DSCED(C&I)2 added that the scope of the 20-odd PSP activities under preliminary planning would cover more professional services sectors.

Format of activities

Mr CHAN Chun-ying noted that the format of PSP activities consisted mainly of forums, meetings, company/infrastructure visits, thematic sessions and business matching activities. He enquired whether the professional bodies’ views on the format of activities had been consulted and taken into account.

USCED advised that there was no prescribed format for PSP activities and projects under the PASS Main Programme. The Administration would engage the professional bodies concerned and encourage them to submit applications. For the Main Programme, applications would likely be approved as long as the proposed projects were in line with the objectives of PASS (e.g. promoting Hong Kong’s professional services and enhancing their standards and external competitiveness), and the organizers concerned were deemed capable of implementing the projects.

USCED added that taking into account the pandemic situation, a flexible approach would be adopted regarding the format of projects under PASS. In addition, with effect from 30 April 2021 for a period of two years, the Administration had also expanded the funding scope of the SME Export Marketing Fund to cover large-scale exhibitions targeting the local market as well as online exhibitions.

Measures to support re-industrialization in Hong Kong

Pooling technology talent

Regarding the Re-industrialization and Technology Training Programme (“RTTP”), Mr CHAN Chun-ying enquired about the breakdown of the training courses (including the number of trainees funded) related to i4.0 among the public courses and tailor-made courses approved respectively as at end of July 2021.

CIT advised that RTTP aimed to fund local enterprises on a matching basis for their staff to receive training in advanced technologies, especially those related to i4.0. The Administration welcomed enterprises from different industries to consider their own training needs and select suitable training courses for their employees. As at end of July 2021, RTTP had provided a total funding of over $46.9 million. CIT undertook to provide information requested by Mr CHAN Chun-ying in writing.

Technology support

Mr CHAN Chun-ying referred to the INC Invention Centre (“the Hatch”) set up by HKPC in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology of Germany to introduce i4.0 related technologies to Hong Kong enterprises. Mr CHAN enquired about the details of adoption of the relevant technologies in Hong Kong.

CIT advised that HKPC was determined to assist Hong Kong enterprises to move towards high value-added production and gradually upgrade to i4.0. HKPC implemented the “i4.0 Upgrade and Recognition Programme”, which facilitated the setting up of intelligent production lines by enterprises. More than 20 industries and 50 enterprises had applied intelligent manufacturing technology for production. In addition, HKPC also operated “Inno Space” and “Digital@HKPC (Digital Transformation)” to promote re-industrialization and assist the industry in moving towards smart production. “Digital@HKPC (Digital Transformation)” was one of the themed exhibition areas in the HKPC building installed with different smart production lines to demonstrate the application of i4.0 technology.

Encouraging and support research and development

In response to Mr CHAN Chun-ying’s enquiry about the progress of commercialization of R&D outcomes (including the commercialization income received) by the R&D Centres established by the Government, CIT undertook to provide supplementary information after the meeting.