Lam opens door wider to draw techies to Bay Area

Local | Stella Wong 15 Apr 2019

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor is aiming to attract more universities and research institutions from around the world to help with the Greater Bay Area's innovation and technology development.

Speaking at an academic forum at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology yesterday, Lam said universities have become places that are musts for visits during her overseas trips.

"Innovation and technology is a policy priority for my government," she said, adding that the government is looking to build an international innovation and technology hub.

Lam said the government is planning to establish two world-class research clusters at Science Park, with one focusing on health-care technology and the other on artificial intelligence and robotics.

"In each case, we are inviting renowned universities, research institutions and companies from all over the world to look to Hong Kong for their future," she said. She also said the response has been encouraging, as nearly 50 proposals have been received so far. Prestigious universities such as Harvard and Stanford are among the proponents.

The first research institutes will set up their laboratories in two new buildings at Science Park before the end of this year.

Lam said the SAR government is also "building unprecedented connections and opportunities" in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area, and strengthening collaboration with the mainland on the information technology front under the one country, two systems principle.

"The Outline Development Plan for the Greater Bay Area was promulgated by the central government in February this year, and the goal of creating an international innovation and technology hub for the Greater Bay Area occupies a very prominent part of the plan," she said.

"We would like to see more world-renowned universities and research institutions joining us, both for the research clusters being set up in Hong Kong and for the Greater Bay Area development."

Lam said she was thrilled to learn that a Hong Kong start-up won this year's Geneva Exhibition of Inventions' Grand Prize with a water-based manufacturing process to recycle and reuse lithium batteries.

She said the government will expand its support for the sector through policies and investments.

Meanwhile, Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po wrote in his blog yesterday that the information technology ecosystem in Hong Kong is gradually taking shape.

As of the end of last year, there were 2,600 IT start-ups, including eight "unicorns" with a market worth of US$1 billion (HK$7.8 billion), he wrote.

Chan said during a trip to Seattle and San Francisco last week that he learned enterprises and investors in Silicon Valley are aware of Hong Kong's active input of resources into the IT sector and the development potential of the Greater Bay Area.

stellast.wong@singtaonewscorp.com

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