Speech at Panel on Information Technology and Broadcasting

Progress report on Innovation and Technology Fund for Better Living and Digital Inclusion

Implementation of the Innovation and Technology Fund for Better Living

Mr CHAN Chun-ying supported the implementation of FBL. He noted that only 13 out of 48 applications had been approved so far. He queried whether the low success rate reflected the lack of publicity and whether the Administration would step up promotion and publicity.

DS(1) said that FBL was introduced in end-May 2017 and the FBL Assessment Panel had already approved 13 eligible applications involving a total grant of about $38 million. Many of the applicants were social service organizations which needed time to study the application requirements and to identify partners in preparing application documents, and hence the Administration did not expect to receive many applications during the initial launch of the Fund. The Administration considered that the response so far met the Administration’s expectation.

Mr CHAN Chun-ying referred to a grant of $4.52 million to an application (“Baduanjin Health Programme Game”) which had been criticized for being too costly. He asked why the FBL Assessment Panel supported such a large amount of funding on just one mobile app. DS(1) said that the app would adopt advanced artificial intelligence technology and machine learning features which enabled users to receive feedback from the app. DS(1) added that the Assessment Panel had thorough deliberation on the project based on the prescribed assessment criteria and agreed that the project should be supported.

Digital inclusion

Mr CHAN Chun-ying asked whether the Administration had invited private sponsorship in implementing the various digital inclusion initiatives. AGCIO said that the Administration welcomed and encouraged those organizations which had helped to implement digital inclusion measures to seek sponsorship from other private companies. In fact, the two implementers of the Internet Learning Support Programme (“ILSP”) would continue to seek private sponsorship to provide assistance to needy families after completion of ILSP.