Speech at Panel on Commerce and Industry

Briefings by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, the Secretary for Innovation and Technology and the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs on the Chief Executive’s 2021 Policy Address

Enlarging the innovation and technology talent pool

Mr CHAN Chun-ying welcomed the various initiatives related to I&T in PA, and the satisfactory growth in a number of I&T-related figures in Hong Kong in recent years. Nevertheless, he expressed concern that Hong Kong’s achievement in attracting I&T talent had lagged behind Shenzhen, as reflected in the small number of scholars having been supported so far under the Global STEM Professorship Scheme to pool international talent in research and development (“R&D”) in Hong Kong. Noting that the number of employees in the I&T sector had grown by about 26% from around 35 500 in 2014 to around 44 600 in 2019, he enquired whether the Administration had set any target on the number of I&T employees in the next five to 10 years.

S for IT advised that nominations from local universities under the Global STEM Professorship Scheme were vetted and selected by an Assessment Panel formed by individuals from the technology sector, academics and professionals. In the first tranche, 119 nominations were received, and the Scheme had supported over 40 scholars who were considered most outstanding or having strong potential to ensure the optimal use of resources. The Administration would continue to implement the Scheme in tranches in order to enlarge the pool of R&D talent.

S for IT added that in parallel with the growth in the number of employees in the I&T sector, the number of start-ups rose from around 1 070 in 2014 to around 3 800 in 2021. Venture capital investment in Hong Kong also increased substantially from around $1.2 billion in 2014 to around $10 billion in 2020. The upward trend was expected to continue, having regard to the development of new I&T infrastructures. The Administration anticipated that some 150 000 I&T-related jobs would be created under the Northern Metropolis Development Strategy (“Development Strategy”).

Providing land and infrastructure for the development of innovation and technology

Mr CHAN Chun-ying noted that Hong Kong’s existing and future infrastructures for I&T development were scattered in different areas, including the Science Park in Tai Po, the Cyberport in Pok Fu Lam and San Tin Technopole in San Tin. He enquired what measures the Administration would take to achieve synergy among the various sites.

S for IT advised that the foci of the various I&T infrastructures were different based on factors such as their respective historical background and geographical locations. For example, Cyberport focused on financial technology, as well as digital entertainment and e-sports. The focus of the Science Park was on deep technology, artificial intelligence, health science and green technology, etc. The future San Tin Technopole would leverage its proximity to Shenzhen by combining the relative strengths of the two cities, such as Shenzhen’s strong manufacturing capabilities.