Opening remarks by S for IT at press conference on innovation and technology initiatives in 2018-19 Budget
Following are the opening remarks by the Secretary for Innovation and Technology, Mr Nicholas W Yang, at a press conference on innovation and technology (I&T) initiatives in the 2018-19 Budget today (March 1):
Welcome to today's press conference. I would like to make a brief introduction first, before opening the floor to questions.
Since setting up the Innovation and Technology Bureau in November 2015, the Government has put in a huge amount of resources for I&T development. We have implemented measures to finance translational research and development (R&D) activities, promote re-industrialisation, support start-ups and nurture I&T talents, forge ahead with smart city development and promote the use of I&T to improve people's livelihood. In the past two years, the progress of our I&T development is encouraging.
In the 2018-19 Budget announced yesterday, the Financial Secretary unprecedentedly allocated more than $50 billion to further speed up the development of I&T in Hong Kong, through investing in infrastructure development, R&D collaboration, nurturing start-ups and promoting industries. I shall briefly introduce the relevant measures.
First, the Government will set aside $20 billion as the first tranche of funding for developing the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park in the Lok Ma Chau Loop, which is a huge and long-term project to make Hong Kong an important I&T hub in the Bay Area. This provision will cover the site formation, infrastructure and superstructure works, as well as initial operation of the Park.
Secondly, we will inject $10 billion into the Innovation and Technology Fund to keep up our support for applied R&D work and I&T projects in Hong Kong. Of this, $500 million will serve to implement the Technology Talent Scheme announced in the Policy Address. To enable more start-ups and medium-sized enterprises to benefit from the Technology Voucher Programme, we will remove the requirement on having one year of substantive business operation in Hong Kong, and expand the programme to cover enterprises of all sizes.
Thirdly, $10 billion will be earmarked to support establishing two research clusters in the Hong Kong Science Park, one focusing on healthcare technologies and the other on artificial intelligence and robotics technologies. Hong Kong has clear advantages in these technologies, the applications of which would benefit the whole community. The two research clusters aim at attracting world class scientific research institutions and technology enterprises to Hong Kong, and to join forces with our local universities and scientific research institutions in conducting more midstream and downstream R&D projects, which will serve to nurture more technology talent in Hong Kong. We will provide financial support to non-profit-making scientific research institutions that will establish their presence in these two clusters.
Fourthly, we will allocate $10 billion to the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation for constructing research infrastructure and facilities, as well as enhancing support for its tenants and incubatees.
Fifthly, $300 million will be allocated to Cyberport. Of this, $200 million will be used for enhancing support for start-ups and promoting the development of a digital technology ecosystem. Cyberport will boost its incubation programme and put forward new support measures to attract multinational companies to set up offices and R&D units in Hong Kong. The remaining $100 million will be spent to foster the development of e-sports industry. Cyberport will develop its arcade into a local e-sports and digital entertainment node and provide support for the e-sports industry.
In his Budget speech, the Financial Secretary remarked that "I&T is undoubtedly an economic driver in the new era." I&T can introduce new industries and create wealth, drive economic transformation, bring quality jobs for young people and improve people's quality of life. In the Policy Address, the Chief Executive has already set forth eight major areas to map out a clear direction for I&T development. This Budget provides the timely, critical and significant resources for accelerating Hong Kong's I&T development. In addition to its vital catalytic effect, the sizeable financial commitment demonstrates the Government's commitment and determination in I&T development.
Fostering I&T development is the way forward for Hong Kong, impinging on the welfare of every citizen and our next generation. I call upon everyone to support Government's efforts to promote I&T. Thank you very much.
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