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Opening remarks by S for IT at press conference on innovation and technology initiatives in 2017 Policy Address

Following is the translation of the opening remarks by the Secretary for Innovation and Technology, Mr Nicholas W Yang, at the press conference on innovation and technology initiatives in the 2017 Policy Address today (January 19):

Good afternoon and welcome to our press conference. I'll briefly introduce the policy initiatives in the 2017 Policy Address which will further innovation and technology development. The key measures include:

(1) Supporting the development by the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTPC) of an InnoCell adjacent to the Science Park. The InnoCell will provide residential units with flexible design and ancillary facilities such as co-working space. It will help foster the continued development of the innovation and technology ecosystem;

(2) Partnering with the Hong Kong Productivity Council to establish an Inno Space for use by members of the public, including start-ups, secondary/university students and graduates. The Inno Space will help put innovative and technological ideas into practice and support re-industrialisation. It is a good training ground for talents;

(3) Earmarking $500 million for the Innovation and Technology Bureau to assist government departments in using innovation and technology to enhance the quality of public services in the coming five years;

(4) Actively encouraging industries enjoying advantages in the process of re-industrialisation including biotechnology, big data, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and smart city to establish their presence in Hong Kong; and

(5) Exploring measures to enhance Hong Kong's overall competitiveness, including offering tax and financial concessions, and other policy support measures to attract innovation and technology enterprises from Hong Kong, the Mainland and overseas to establish and operate high value-added industries in Hong Kong.

This year, our measures focus on "connection" and "collaboration", which are the pillars of a sharing economy. The InnoCell will facilitate the formation of a community of R&D talents with closer connection and high interaction, enhancing the collaborative culture of the innovation and technology community at the Science Park. The idea of Inno Space derives from makerspace in overseas countries. Well-established in the US and the UK, maker communities are proven to be successful in nurturing young innovators, bringing together technology and creativity. At the Inno Space, working space, tools and technical support are available for innovators to build prototype for translating their ideas into products, fostering innovative ideas. In addition, we have also earmarked $500 million for connecting government departments with innovation and technology, helping them in delivering better services to the public.

There are many ways to nurture talent and it is an ongoing process. The initiatives proposed in the Policy Address on the Continuing Education Fund, STEM education and the Hong Kong Scholarship for Excellence Scheme will be conducive to nurture innovation and technology talents. In the public sector, the Internship Programme, Midstream Research Programme for Universities, Smart-Space FinTech of Cyberport, co-working space Lion Rock 72 of the HKSTPC and the Incubation Programmes run by the Cyberport and the HKSTPC, can help expand the talent pool in the innovation and technology industry. On top of that, industry-specific accelerator programmes and dozens co-working spaces managed by the private sector also play a key role in grooming innovation and technology talents. We will continue to collaborate and join hands with different parties, such as the CoolThink@JC by The Hong Kong Jockey Club and the FabLearn Hong Kong by STEM Initiative Hong Kong launched last year, in nurturing local innovation and technology talents.

At the beginning of 2017, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government and the Shenzhen Municipal People's Government signed the "Memorandum of Understanding on Jointly Developing the Lok Ma Chau Loop by Hong Kong and Shenzhen" and agreed to jointly develop the Hong Kong/Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park, which will establish itself as a key base for co-operation in scientific research, as well as related higher education and other complementary facilities. This is a major breakthrough, and we will combine the strengths of Hong Kong and Shenzhen, complementing each other to achieve a synergy effect. With the application of laws and systems of Hong Kong, we will build the largest innovation and technology platform at the Hong Kong/Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park. It will help attract top institutions from around the world, bringing the development of innovation and technology to the next level. In March, we will consult the relevant Panels of the Legislative Council to explore how to proceed with the project as soon as possible.

An array of initiatives with total funding of HK$18 billion to boost the innovation and technology ecosystem were announced in 2016 Policy Address and Budget. Funding approval was secured before the Legislative Council adjourned in July last year. Projects such as the expansion of the Hong Kong Science Park, the development of the Advanced Manufacturing Centre and the Data Technology Hub, the Technology Voucher Programme and the Midstream Research Programme for Universities have been rolled out. The Innovation and Technology Venture Fund and the Innovation and Technology Fund for Better Living are also in the pipeline for launching in mid-2017. These programmes or funds will drive the development of innovation and technology in Hong Kong in the coming five years or in a longer term. The consultancy study on smart city will complete in mid-2017. A smart city development blueprint will be formulated for setting out a digital framework and technical standards suitable for Hong Kong.

I will stop here and open the floor for questions.


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