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Six strategies to build HK as the Asia IT hub

As Donald Tsang about to deliver his final policy address, local ICT leaders gathered to highlight strategies that the chief executive should address to better support Hong Kong as Asia's IT hub.

Organized by the Hong Kong Computer Society (HKCS), the pre-policy address roundtable forum aims to raise awareness and discussion around six areas of improvement, in order to provide a long term and sustainable strategy to develop the local ICT industry.

The six strategies suggested by the roundtable forum are:

1. Establish a Technology and Innovation Bureau

2. Promote Hong Kong as Asia's data center hub

3. Offer incentives to attract more ICT business investments

4. Encourage matching between academic research and commercial needs

5. Re-position ICT industry

6. ICT talent cultivation and management

One of the suggestions is the establishment of a Technology and Innovation Bureau, as the local industry lacks an official organization with ICT professionals to manage industry development.

"Different from the existing Innovation and Technology Commission, which is a body to execute plans," said Stephan Lau, president of Hong Kong Computer Society. "The Technology and Innovation Bureau is expected to provide more strategy and policy planning." He added the Bureau can also help to forester regional industry collaboration like building integration with China and reciprocal certification programs within the region.

Following the announcement of Google's US$100million data center investment in Hong Kong, the roundtable forum also suggested the government to invest more resources to attract multinational corporations and organizations to establish data centers locally.

"Hong Kong's location is ideal for being a data center hub," added Sunny Lee, honorary advisor of HKCS. "Not only we have stable power supply, well connected network and established privacy law, we are also politically stable."

The strategy aims to create more job opportunities, improve quality of work and uplift the capability to innovate Hong Kong through technology. The OGCIO office currently runs a Data Center Facilitation Unit to assist data center operators to help investors to build data center facilities locally.

Another highlight among the six strategies is the cultivation of local technical and management talent. One of the forum speakers, Nicholas Yang, executive vice president of the HK Polytechnic University noted that the industry is demanding IT professionals to have additional expertise. "IT is required across all industries," said Yang. "Students should build knowledge in at least two curriculums on top of IT, regardless it is finance, chemistry or logistics."

Lee added there are 3,000 jobs available in Hong Kong, but with no one to fill them. The demanding positions are mainly project managers and IT system architects, which requires talent with both experience and technical knowledge.

Local leaders within the HKCS roundtable forum included: Lego councilors Regina Ip and Samson Tam, Hubert Chan from Communications Association of HK, Duncan Chiu of HK Software Industry Association, John Chiu from HK WITA, Joe Locandro from CLP, Nicholas Yang from Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Cally Chan from HP HK.

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