Speech at Panel on Information Technology and Broadcasting

Briefing by the Secretary for Innovation and Technology and the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development on the Chief Executive’s 2019 Policy Address

Attracting innovation and technology talent

Mr CHAN Chun-ying noted the Administration’s assessment that the uncertainties in the international trade environment had affected the business environment of local enterprises and was not favourable to I&T development of Hong Kong; the recent spate of social incidents in Hong Kong was also weakening its competitiveness in attracting I&T talent from over the world. He asked whether the number of applications under the various talent-attracting schemes, such as the Technology Talent Admission Scheme, the Researcher Programme and the Postdoctoral Hub, was declining significantly in the past few months. Mr CHAN also enquired whether and how the Administration would enhance the relevant schemes with a view to maintaining Hong Kong’s competitive edges amid the keen international competition for talent.

Permanent Secretary for Innovation and Technology (“PS(IT)”) responded that the number of applications under the Technology Talent Admission Scheme had recorded a downward trend in recent months, while the Researcher Programme and the Postdoctoral Hub remained popular. To address the industry’s concerns about the Hong Kong’s prospect in I&T development, CE had announced in the 2019 Policy Address that the scope of the Technology Talent Admission Scheme would be extended to cover companies outside the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation and Cyberport, as well as to cover new technology areas. The Researcher Programme and the Postdoctoral Hub would also be extended to include all technology companies conducting research and development activities in Hong Kong. The enhanced schemes and measures would be launched in early 2020.

“iAM Smart” platform

Mr CHAN Chun-ying expected that many commercial and financial companies would make use of the “iAM Smart” platform to carry out online transactions in future. He asked what the progress was regarding the Administration’s briefing public and private organizations, including the Hong Kong Association of Banks (“HKAB”) and the Hong Kong Investment Funds Association, on the technical design and operating model of the “iAM Smart” platform.

Government Chief Information Officer (“GCIO”) advised that the Administration had presented the “iAM Smart” platform to various organizations and financial institutions, including members of HKAB. The Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (“OGCIO”) would provide a trial platform in the first quarter of 2020, on which financial institutions could connect to this platform for testing the adoption of “iAM Smart” in their online services. The Administration hoped that more public and private organizations would use the “iAM Smart” platform after it was launched in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Possibility of cancellation of economic forums due to protests

Mr CHAN Chun-ying noted that the Administration would organize the fifth “Internet Economy Summit” in April 2020. As a number of mega local events, such as Hong Kong Tennis Open 2019, the Hong Kong Cyclothon, and the Hong Kong Wine and Dine Festival had been cancelled one after another, Mr CHAN queried whether the Summit could be held as scheduled, and whether the Administration had any fallback options in the event that the Summit could not proceed on the designated date.

PS(IT) advised that the Administration would continue to review various factors, including the social atmosphere, the venue concerned, the number of participants attending, and so on, when considering whether any I&T related events should be cancelled. Individual organizers should have drawn up their contingency arrangements to handle unforeseen circumstances.