Dr Jonathan CHOI Koon-shum (Chairman of the 50th terms of office) March 2017
If Guangdong and Hong Kong combine the strengths of their innovation and technology industries, they will be able to form a technology industry cluster in southern China.
Innovation and technology has become an important engine to drive sustained and diversified economic development in many parts of the world. In recent years, Guangdong and Hong Kong have proactively earmarked resources in promoting research and innovation as well as strengthening the exchange of technology with other regions. Both places should further capitalise on their respective strengths and foster greater interaction to create more room for the new round of innovation and technology cooperation. This year, in my proposals for the CPPCC, I put forward some suggestions on areas such as how to deepen the co-development of Guangdong and Hong Kong’s innovation and technology industries and attract high-end talents.
Combining the unique strengths of Guangdong and Hong Kong
Since the establishment of the Innovation and Technology Bureau in 2015, the authorities have significantly increased support for the development of research and innovation in Hong Kong. The latest Budget also rolled out tax incentives and fiscal support to strengthen the integration of innovation/technology with industries and raise research spending, which shows that the HKSAR Government attaches great importance to the development of innovation and technology. In recent years, neighbouring Guangdong province has persistently implemented innovation-driven development strategies to promote the use of technologies such as communication equipment and the Internet in various industries, bringing new momentum for Guangdong’s economic and industrial development.
In response to the move towards development of high-end value-added services globally, Guangdong and Hong Kong should actively explore expanding the depth and breadth of cooperation in innovation and technology. Hong Kong is relatively outstanding in terms of level of internationalisation, professional service support, manpower support and institutional protection of intellectual property rights. Guangdong has also substantially increased the market size and development potential of innovation and technology industries through continuous optimisation of reform and transformation. If Guangdong and Hong Kong combine the strengths of their innovation and technology industries, they will be able to form a technology industry cluster in southern China that carries enormous influence. This full cooperation includes capital, R&D, product testing and large-scale production.
Gathering the strengths of hi-tech industry clusters
At the beginning of the year, the Hong Kong and Shenzhen governments signed a deal to jointly develop the Lok Ma Chau Loop into the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park. With its unique geographical advantages, the area can rely on the solid foundation of Shenzhen’s hi-tech enterprises, Guangdong’s technology industry cluster and the huge market size, and Hong Kong’s appeal in systems, taxation, laws and living conditions to motivate internationally renowned research institutes and technology companies to station in the Loop. This will raise the level of development of the innovation and technology industries in Guangdong and Hong Kong through the industry-academia-research collaboration model.
In addition, to the northwest of the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park is the Shenzhen Science and Technology Park, and in the southeast it is connected to the Kwu Tung North development area under the plan for the North East New Territories and the Hong Kong Science and Technology Park. Both Hong Kong and Guangdong can explore joint-development of these technology parks, making use of Futian Free Trade Zone’s development advantages in the hi-tech, Internet and modern logistics industries to construct a logistics and incubation base for the innovation and technology industries and create a ‘cross-border innovation corridor’ for the Pearl River Delta region.
Building an innovation and technology talent base
Talents are a key element for the development of high-end technology industry clusters. The Guangdong and Hong Kong governments should find ways to motivate universities, internationally renowned research institutes and institutions of higher learning to settle into the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park and set up accredited innovation/technology-related research courses in addition to working with enterprises to provide internships and on-the-job training opportunities.
The park may consider using relatively simple technology professional approval system and facilitate the work visa applications of R&D personnel. In addition, the development plan for the park and surrounding areas should take into account the essential needs of technology talents, including providing international education for their children, optimising the park’s external transport facilities and facilitating customs clearance.
The 13th Five-Year Plan actively promotes innovation and technology as a new impetus for economic development. Through the construction of the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park, Guangdong and Hong Kong can further promote in-depth development of innovation and technology industries in both places to build the Pearl River Delta region into China’s most internationally developed technology industry zone.