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Forum discusses huge potential for Greater Bay Area

By Oswald Chan in Hong Kong | China Daily | Updated: 2018-10-30 09:13
Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, chief secretary for administration of Hong Kong SAR, addresses the Belt and Road Conference on "Tapping Belt and Road Opportunities in the Greater Bay Area". [Photo by Roy Liu/China Daily]

The authorities in Hong Kong are working closely and proactively with central government departments to take forward new policies to unleash the innovation and technological potential of inter-regional cooperation in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

Speaking at the forum themed "Belt and Road Conference: Tapping Belt and Road Opportunities in the Greater Bay Area" organized by China Daily and the Silk Road Economic Development Research Center, Hong Kong Chief Secretary for Administration Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said "the aim is to develop the Greater Bay Area into the Silicon Valley of China".

"Leveraging our advantage in scientific research, internationalization, our robust legal system, rule of law and our status as an international financial, business and logistics center, Hong Kong is in an excellent position to contribute to the national strategy of innovation-driven development, namely the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area into an international innovation and technology hub," Cheung said.

The Greater Bay Area, comprising the two special administrative regions and nine mainland cities in the Pearl River Delta region, has a population of nearly 68 million people and a gross domestic product of nearly $1.4 trillion. It will be a key pillar for the Belt and Road Initiative as an innovation and technology hub.

"We have gathered to hear how Hong Kong can take full advantage of this increased opportunity. We would like to be able to realize the roadmap that must follow to play a pivotal role in the process of China's reaching out to the outside world," said Zhou Li, publisher and editor-in-chief of China Daily Asia-Pacific.

Cheung said the government is committed to fostering innovation and technology development in eight areas, namely increasing resources for research and development, pooling resources, providing investment funding, providing technological research infrastructure, renewing existing legislation and regulation, opening up government data, changes in government's procurement policy, and strengthening science education.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, in her October policy address, announced the government would allocate additional HK$28 billion ($3.57 billion) to expedite reindustrialization, promote research and development in universities, revamp e-Government services and encourage innovation in society.

The amount is in addition to the HK$50 billion announced by Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po in February to support key technology areas such as biotechnology, artificial intelligence, smart city and financial technology.

The Hong Kong Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park in the Lok Ma Chau Loop, when completed, will be the largest technology business park in Hong Kong with an area of 87 hectares and is expected to boost the area's global position in technology and provide an incubator for technology startups.

Hong Kong has earmarked HK$20 billion for the first phase of its development.

Besides infrastructure, Cheung said that a highly-skilled workforce is an essential element of innovation and technological development. The government has launched a three-year pilot scheme "Technology Talent Admission Scheme" which provides a fast-track arrangement for eligible technology companies and institutes to admit overseas and mainland technology professionals to undertake R&D work in biotechnology, artificial intelligence, cyber security and robotics.

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