2018 | ISSUE 2 English繁體简体
Integrated Solutions eNewsletter
THEME STORY: Hong Kong Re-industrialization. Opportunity?

HK I.T. needs to CATCH UP!

The Support of I&T Development from Government:
Are the Local Business Enterprises the biggest Winners?

HKSAR government announced the Budget for the 2018/19 fiscal year at the Legislative Council, it is believed that the local business enterprises are benefited from this proposed budget for developing their Innovation and Technology (I&T) products. In face of the intense international competition, Hong Kong should grasp the opportunity and ensure the effective use of resources by focalizing on the four major competitive spheres—that is, biotechnology, artificial intelligence (AI), smart city and financial technology, in order to outperform other cities in terms of technological advancement. In the economic domain, the significance of I&T is the impetus of the new economy. Therefore, nearly HK$ 50 billion, according to the Budget, is designated for supporting the local business enterprises’ I&T development. The money will be used for three purposes: advancing the business enterprises’ technology, fostering the research on I&T, and developing the science and technology parks.

Advancing the Business Enterprises’ Technology

The development of business enterprises’ technology promoted by the HKSAR government is mainly manifested in three ways: Research and Development (R&D), “Re-Industrialization”, and Technology Voucher Programme (TVP). First, for the sake of encouraging the research on technology and innovation, the Policy Address 2018 proposed the additional tax deduction that aims at reducing the expenditure on R&D incurred by the local enterprises. Apart from that, Government has, on the other hand, promised that the eligibility criteria for the Technology Voucher Programme will be relaxed. TVP aims to provide funding for local small and medium enterprises and setups to utilize technological services and solutions to meet their respective technological needs, such as enhancing the productivity. The funding from the programme can be used for the technology consultancy as well as the purchase, rental or subscription of customized or readily available equipment, hardware, software and technological services or solutions that form an essential part of the project. After the relaxation of the eligibility criteria, all local enterprises, regardless of size and age, can be benefited from the programme. This programme facilitates the local business enterprises to develop new technology and to improve their established technology.

Besides, the government has put forward the agenda of re-industrialization, with the aim of providing the potential enterprises in Hong Kong a favorable environment for technological development. The government is keen to set up the Data Technology Hub and Advanced Manufacturing Centre, which are expected to open in 2020 and 2022 respectively. Hong Kong also enjoys numerous advantages from “re-industrialization”. Thanks to the global procurement and sales network, the well-established technological infrastructure, as well as the strong service industry, a solid foundation has been laid for the local enterprises’ technological development. To foster the “re-industrialization” in Hong Kong, the HKSAR government has also carried out several policies and support measures. The Innovation and Technology Fund and the Midstream Research Programme for Universities which has been launched recently with a funding of HK$200 million are two of the important financial aids for facilitating the theme-based research related to the focused technological areas such as robotics and smart city, leading to the enterprises’ technological advancement.

I&T talents are also the key to the advancement of business enterprises’ technology. With the purpose to discover the top-notch talents in the domain of I&T, the government has therefore set aside HK$500 million for the I&T Fund to promote the Technology Talent Scheme. According to the Policy Address, the Postdoctoral Hub programme, which is a part of the Technology Talent Scheme, provides eligible organizations and enterprises a funding to recruit postdoctoral talents for R&D work. Moreover, the scheme also includes a funding that allows the local enterprises and their staff to have training in high-end technology. Not only can these schemes nurture the talents in STEM, but they also promote the public interest in STEM subjects, such that more talents will be atiracted to pursue a career in the I&T industry, and that there will be more positions opened for the IT talents. As a result, the increasing number of IT talents in the business sector will further help the technological development in local enterprises.

Fostering the Research on Innovation and Technology

The government enthusiastically encourages the local enterprises to invest in I&T development. In order to boost the value-added potential of the domestic economic activities, productivity and competitiveness, the enterprises in Hong Kong, with the financial aid from the Innovation and Technology Fund, are prompted to improve their technological level by introducing innovative ideas to their business operation. According to the Budget, the government will earmark HK$ 10 billion for the Fund. In this regard, the Commission can allocate additional resources to continue the support of the local R&D work that focuses on different types of I&T, and improves the existing technology. The variety of schemes and programmes under the Fund bring about numerous opportunities for the local enterprises. For example, the Innovation and Technology Support Programme offers a funding scheme for the Guangdong-Hong Kong cooperation and development of technology. There are also other funding schemes, including Enterprise Support Scheme, University-Industry Collaboration Programme and Research and Development Cash Rebate Scheme. All these funding schemes cover a wide range of areas, which directly support the local enterprises’ development of I&T. Meanwhile, HK$10 billion has been earmarked for building innovative platiorms for medical technology, AI and robotics, so as to attract the top-notch research institutions and technology enterprises to Hong Kong as well as to nurture more outstanding talents.

Developing the Science and Technology Parks

The government also plans to invest more resources in different science and technology parks, which provides substantial support to the enterprises of various size and period of existence. The three major science and technology parks include Lok Ma Chau Loop, Hong Kong Science Park and Cyberport. The Hong Kong Science Park is currently undergoing an expansion, which will provide additional space for setups and other technology enterprises. For instance, the Inno Space has offered setups, students and graduates working space and technical support. It helps them to transform their creative ideas into industrial designs and turn the prototype into a product, in the hope to inspire new directions for the enterprises. As an innovative digital community which gathers 1,000 digital technology companies, the Cyberport contributes to a new economic impetus. Not only does it increase the support to the setups, but it also fosters the development of digital technology ecosystem. The “Easy Landing” programme will be launched by Cyberport which intends to attract multinational enterprises, including the leading Internet enterprises and Fintech companies in mainland China and overseas, to set up offices and research units in Hong Kong.

To sum up, there is a close relationship between the government policy and the enterprises’ technological development. The government policy shows its support of the enterprises’ technological development, R&D on innovation and technology, and development of science and technology parks—all of which straightforwardly encourages the local enterprises to develop their technology and to gather more top-notch IT talents and resources. As a result, more and more local business enterprises can enjoy the advancement brought by technology.