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Policy address: IT pros urge HK govt to work on R&D, talent issues

The IT sector in Hong Kong hopes for more government support behind tech R&D and talent cultivation, in response to the first policy address delivered by Chief Executive CY Leung on Wednesday

During his policy address speech, Leung said: "The government will focus on the development of the highly competitive sectors of the innovation and technology industries in light of Hong Kong's strengths. We will provide software and hardware support; foster co-operation among the government, industry, academia and research sectors; forge closer collaboration with the mainland; and inject additional resources when necessary."

He also called for more new platforms to be built to enhance scientific research collaboration with the mainland, given that innovation and technology is elevated to a very important strategic level with explicit support for Hong Kong to develop emerging industries in China's National 12th Five-Year Plan.

In addition, Leung mentioned the government is examining the future positioning of the patent system in Hong Kong, and will map out the way forward in the near future.

"We also plan to set up a working group to study the overall strategy for promoting Hong Kong as a hub for intellectual property trading," he said. "The working group will comprise government representatives, industry stakeholders, and experts from different fields."

Mok: Leung fails to fulfill promise of more tech R&D spend

Legislative Councilor (IT Constituency) Charles Mok slammed the technology part of the policy address as lacking new initiatives. "While the government is right in its attempt to promote Hong Kong as a hub for intellectual property trading and examine the positing of patent system, it over-relies on the mainland market and ignores global tech market opportunities."

He also criticizes Leung as failing to fulfill his promise of raising tech R&D investment made during the Chief Executive election last year. "He promised [in his election agenda] that he'll work to raise Hong Kong's tech R&D expenditure to 0.8% of GDP (Editor's note: Tech R&D expenditure was 0.72% of GDP in 2011), but there's no mention of it in his policy address speech today."

HKCS: Talent cultivation is key to knowledge economy

Agreeing that Hong Kong should become an intellectual property trading hub, Stephen Lau, president of Hong Kong Computer Society urged the government to create IT and tech talent cultivation strategies. "This is important for the development of a knowledge-based economy which can only be sustained by a stable talent supply," he noted.

He also advised the government to help align R&D directions of research institutes and universities and product commercialization needed by the tech industry.

"All these -- talent cultivation, R&D directions, and policies for attracting foreign tech firms to come to Hong Kong -- should be studied and implemented even the government would not set up a TCB (Technology and Communications Bureau)," Lau noted.


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