Dr Charles YEUNG (Chairman of the 48th, 49th terms of office) February 2015
The Year of the Goat has just begun. I would like to wish all CGCC Committee Members, members and our friends in different sectors happiness and prosperity in the new year.
Last month the Chief Executive delivered his third Policy Address, which had a wide coverage of policy measures for sustaining economic development and improving people’s livelihood. CGCC very much agrees with the point the Chief Executive has made that fostering economic development is vital to improving people’s livelihood. We reckon that, while strengthening the traditional industries where Hong Kong enjoys advantages, active efforts should also be made to foster industries that have good potential for growth - for example, the innovative technology and cultural & creative industries. More financial support, stronger manpower training and exchange and closer government-industry partnership are among the means by which Hong Kong can put its industries on a path for more diversified development. This is the only way that Hong Kong can maintain its long-term competitiveness and open up more space for the economy to keep growing and for the younger generation to move up the social ladder.
Providing More Comprehensive Financial Support
The Policy Address has put forward several proposals on providing financial support for the innovative technology and cultural & creative industries. CGCC always believes that the HKSAR Government should put more financial resources in industries with growth potential. It can consider, for example, further expanding the existing technology development funds, rolling out comprehensive credit support and reward schemes, and relaxing the eligibility criteria for applying for the funds, so that businesses engaged in innovative technologies can obtain more capital for R&D and operation.
To support the cultural & creative industries, the authorities can explore how industrial buildings pending revitalization or reconstruction can be better used to provide more space for the related businesses. Rent and tax concessions can also be offered. These can help alleviate the problems like inadequate space for development and high rents, which these businesses are facing. We also propose that, besides promoting the development of the local film industry, the HKSAR Government should also consider establishing an integrated fund for cultural & creative industry development to render extensive support to sectors where Hong Kong enjoys some advantages, such as films, music, drama and animation. Financial institutions are also encouraged to provide financing services for creative businesses to alleviate their difficulties in fund-raising.
Nurturing and Attracting Talents
Manpower is a vital element in sustaining economic development. With their boundless creative and innovative ideas, young people can certainly contribute towards economic diversification. The HKSAR Government has proposed the establishment of the “Youth Development Fund” to assist young people in bringing out their creativity and talent through entrepreneurship. This can also inject more new elements and energy for the local creative and innovative industries. We expect that the authorities can strengthen cooperation with the business community and encourage entrepreneurs to share their successful experience with potential young business starters. The authorities are also expected to keep abreast of the industries’ demand for talents to ensure that their needs can be answered by the design of local tertiary curriculum and vocational education as well as opportunities for internship.
Furthermore, the policy blueprint has proposed exploring the feasibility of drawing up a talent list to attract, in a more effective and focused manner, high-quality talent to support Hong Kong’s development as a diversified and high value-added economy. We hope that the authorities, while working out the details as soon as possible, can make the current talent import schemes more accommodative, so that stable manpower can be supplied to the innovative technology and cultural & creative industries where manpower falls short. To this end, the authorities can exercise flexibility in respect of the job type restrictions and the approval criteria and procedures.
Strengthening Ties with Industries
The HKSAR Government has already presented a proposal on the establishment of the Innovation and Technology Bureau to the Legislative Council. We believe that the bureau can effectively coordinate matters relating to the development of the innovative technology industries in Hong Kong. It can also serve to strengthen cooperation among the government, industry, academia and research sectors, facilitate R&D and innovative technology transfer, propel the commercialization of research outcomes, and draw up a broader strategic development blueprint for the relevant industries.
To promote the growth of the cultural & creative industries, the HKSAR Government can consider facilitating the industry players’ expansion in the Greater China and overseas markets. It can strengthen cooperation with Guangdong Province, which shares similar culture with Hong Kong, to build cultural & creative industry parks, guiding the Hong Kong industry players to expand to the southern China market, and then to the whole Greater China region.
To conclude, CGCC agrees that sustained and diversified economic development is a key element in maintaining steady progress in the overall society and people’s livelihood. We will actively support the HKSAR Government so that the policy measures on promoting economic development can be implemented as soon as possible. Furthermore, a stable political environment is a basis for economic development. Hopefully, our society will take the opportunity of the second round constitutional reform consultation to have rational, pragmatic discussions according to the Basic Law and the NPCSC’s interpretations and decisions and with the rule of law being upheld. All sectors in society are urged to set aside their differences and forge consensus on constitutional reform, working together to achieve the one-person-one-vote election of the Chief Executive in 2017 and to create a harmonious environment for the long-term economic development and the improvement of people’s livelihood in Hong Kong.