Innovation and Technology in Hong Kong

Innovation and Technology in Hong Kong
10 min read

Hong Kong is one of the world’s leading technology education and research hubs. In 2018, five Hong Kong universities ranked in the top 100 of the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings for Engineering and Technology.

In recent years, the Government has ramped up efforts to develop the startup ecosystem and attract and retain overseas talent. It has also offered world-class R&D facilities and infrastructure to support the sector.
1. Research-to-Industry (RTI) Development

Research Triangle Institute (RTI) is a nonprofit organization that has been providing research and technical services since 1958. Headquartered in the Research Triangle Park in North Carolina, it works globally in public policy, health and medicine, environmental protection and advanced technologies 香港创新及科技.

RTI has a strong track record of helping governments and industries to develop innovative products and services that can improve human life. For example, the company's Center for International Development (CID) helps developing countries in Asia and Africa to address some of the most challenging problems facing their societies. CID also provides advice on the implementation of policies and strategies, such as the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Innovation-Driven Growth program.

From climate change to health and education equity, pandemic research, and beyond, RTI experts are working to find solutions to the world's most complex challenges. They are dedicated to improving the quality of life for people across the globe and are driven by their commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging.

Researchers at RTI have advanced degrees in more than 125 disciplines and collaborate to study and solve some of the most important issues impacting the planet and humanity, including anthropogenic climate change, pandemics, and health and education equity. For instance, researchers at RTI are assessing the relationship between children’s television viewing habits and obesity, testing the effects of the dietary supplement ephedra on infant health, and studying sexual assault among prison inmates.

In addition to their research, RTI scientists help industries develop products and services that can improve human life. They are a leading provider of biomedical contract research, conducting pre-clinical and clinical trials for global clients in the animal health and human health, advanced feed and nutrition, and biopharma industries.

RTI is a partner of NIAMRRE, which brings together a diverse set of academic, industry and startup members to work on the problem of antimicrobial resistance. The goal is to find ways to prevent and fight antimicrobial resistance, which has the potential to cause widespread health problems. The RTI team joins a group of ten academic institutions and two additional affiliate members, as well as four startup industry members at NIAMRRE.
2. Innovation Culture

Hong Kong has long been known as a city where innovation is nurtured and encouraged. Its history as a trading port and business hub draws in international talent. It has the world's freest economy and a wealth of research and education institutions, including three of the top 50 universities in the world.

One of the key reasons that the Hong Kong people have prospered is because of their hard work and dedication. They have created a form of government and culture that combines British and Chinese values with a strong emphasis on Confucian ethics. This blend of traditions has been a great benefit to the people of Hong Kong and helped them build one of the world's most successful cities.

The city has also built a thriving and innovative technology industry. Its Cyberport, a wholly-owned government facility, is a creative digital workspace that fosters I&T start-ups and entrepreneurs. It has an avowed mission to boost the local economy by nurturing digital industry start-ups and technology enterprises, driving collaboration in resources and creating business opportunities.

It is an important part of the government's reindustrialisation vision. This is aimed at providing purpose-built infrastructure and domain-specific eco-systems to enable commercialisation of locally innovated, designed and made high-tech products and services.

In addition, the government is actively encouraging entrepreneurship and fostering a culture of innovation through incubators and accelerator programmes in various industries. This will help develop the city's talent pool, ensuring that Hong Kong's economy stays competitive.

Another factor that has helped Hong Kong become an innovation and technology hub is its openness to foreign talents. This has led to the creation of many multinational companies that have their R&D staff working in Hong Kong.

Several leading universities have set up their first overseas R&D centers in Hong Kong. These include Cornell University, which launched the city's first academic programme for veterinary medicine; MIT, which established an Innovation Node in Hong Kong in 2016; and Sweden's Karolinska Institutet, which opened its own research facility at the Science Park.

These examples of innovation are a testament to the strength of Hong Kong's pioneering spirit and scale-up mentality. These initiatives show that if the right people are brought together with a single goal, then even impossible things can be accomplished.
3. Mainland-Hong Kong Joint Funding Scheme

The Mainland-Hong Kong Joint Funding Scheme (MHKJFS) was launched by the Innovation and Technology Commission (ITC) and the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) in April 2019. Under this scheme, institutions in Hong Kong and the Mainland can apply for funding to conduct applied research projects.

The funding support provided by the Mainland-Hong Kong Joint Funding scheme is a major incentive for universities and research institutions in Hong Kong to collaborate with institutions in China’s Mainland. Since mid-2018, the Central Government and provincial and municipal governments on the Mainland have progressively approved science and technology funding applications from universities and research institutions in Hong Kong and have remitted the funds to those universities in Hong Kong.

As part of the Hong Kong-Mainland collaboration on research, a number of Mainland universities and institutions have established joint laboratories with their Hong Kong counterparts. These laboratories provide a platform for leading scientists in both Hong Kong and China to pursue collaborative research.

These collaborations have contributed to the emergence of a new generation of Chinese researchers. They are also a strong indication of the close collaboration between Hong Kong and the Mainland.

Another major innovation-related initiative is the Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC). HKPC promotes applied R&D, consultancy, technology transfer, and training in smart products, manufacturing, automation, new materials, surface treatment, smart mobility and green transportation. It was set up by the Government to boost the productivity of Hong Kong enterprises, enhance their international competitiveness and enhance their global reach.

In addition to this, the Hong Kong Productivity Council provides assistance to SMEs and non-listed companies through financial aid to finance their research projects. The Government also established the HK$2 billion Innovation and Technology Venture Fund (ITVF) in 2017 to co-invest in local I&T start-ups with private venture capital funds on a matching basis.

As a regional trade and services center, Hong Kong has modern infrastructure and is equipped to accommodate growth and expansion. Its rapid development has placed severe demands on that infrastructure, especially in areas such as airport facilities, roads, railway lines, and water supply networks. In order to cope with the challenges, the HKG has developed an array of policies to combat climate change. It aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Its major decarbonization strategies include net-zero electricity generation by ceasing the use of coal, increasing the proportion of renewable energy in the fuel mix to 15 percent, promoting energy savings and green buildings, and encouraging green transport.
4. Investment in I&T

With a vibrant ecosystem, advanced technology infrastructure and global connectivity, Hong Kong offers a dynamic place to invest in innovation and technology. Its world-class institutions, regulatory systems and low and simple taxes provide a competitive environment for companies to do business in the region and abroad.

Hong Kong has a strong research and development (R&D) culture that is highly developed and has seen the government doubling its expenditure on R&D as a percentage of GDP from 0.73% in 2017 to 1.5% in 2020. It is also a leading investment location for the mainland and overseas companies looking to expand in Asia.

Aside from attracting world-class talent, Hong Kong is home to a number of state-of-the-art R&D centres. One of the largest is the Hong Kong Science Park, which is home to 28 research clusters and more than 1,100 science and technology companies. It is also home to the InnoHK, a government-established research hub that is focused on life sciences and artificial intelligence and robotics.

Another major I&T hub is the 87-hectare Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park (HSITP), which will become the city’s largest technology platform by 2024. With its focus on the development of healthcare technologies, big data and AI, robotics, new material, microelectronics and fintech, HSITP has been designed to cater to the needs of tech giants.

There are also a number of governmental initiatives that support I&T development, including the HK$10 billion InnoHK fund to bolster collaboration and commercialization efforts in a wide range of research areas. The government has launched two programmes, namely the Technology Talent Admission Scheme (TechTAS) and the Postdoctoral Hub Program (PHP), to attract non-local talent as well as nurture local talents in the areas of biotechnology, AI, robotics, cybersecurity, data analytics, material science and financial technology.

As a thriving, competitive and secure business hub, Hong Kong is home to an array of international investors, including U.S. and European firms, who are drawn to its strong legal and financial systems, low and simple taxes, a high-quality workforce and its global connectivity.

The country has a long-standing tradition of protecting intellectual property rights and collaborating with the World Intellectual Property Organization. It has also invested in a number of IPR protection mechanisms, including a joint INTERPOL team to ensure IPR enforcement.

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Andrew Paul 386
Andrew paul is a seasoned content strategist and freelance writer with over a decade of experience in the digital marketing industry.
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