Amid growing concerns that Hong Kong may be losing its competitive edge, tycoon Li Ka-shing has urged local authorities to offer more support to development of innovative technologies, saying such move can help the city keep pace with rivals such as Japan, Taiwan and Singapore.
The government should not worry too much about the little or slow returns that tech investments will generate in the initial stage, Li said, pointing out that the investments will eventually create value to the overall economy and society in the long run. He made the comments in an interview to Caixin Magazine, voicing the need for Hong Kong to get its act together and prepare for the future.
Israel has much better planning in nurturing technology companies, Asia’s richest man said, noting that the Israeli government provides support and funding for private entities to invest in technology start-ups.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong government officials are wary about new initiatives as they are afraid of drawing criticism of being too close to businessmen, he said.
In Israel, 140 out of 10,000 workers are engaged in the innovative technology sector, Li said. The corresponding figure is 85 in the United States, 80 in Japan, 45 in Taiwan and 32 in Singapore. Hong Kong, which has no ranking, is lagging behind others, the tycoon said.
Observers say it is always a good suggestion to encourage innovative technology investments but the reality in Hong Kong is that the city’s economy is dominated by the financial and property sectors while technology start-ups are unable to survive due to high real-estate costs.
Also, it may not be suitable for Hong Kong to adopt the Israeli government’s incubator-type model, they say. Hong Kong’s biggest selling points will continue to be a level-playing field, rule of law and transparency.
In fact, Shenzhen may be a better place to develop innovative technologies compared to Hong Kong. In fact, several Hong Kong engineers are working in Shenzhen-based firms such as Huawei Technologies and Tencent Holdings (00700.HK), helping create some tech products that can beat global rivals, observers point out.
New support policies for culture industry seen soon
China could unveil some new policies this month to support the development of the culture industry, Shanghai Securities News reported Friday, citing Liu Yuzhu, director of Cultural Industry Department of Ministry of Culture. The policies will promote domestic culture and design services, and push their integrated development with other industries, it said. Authorities will also promote financial investment in cultural projects, channel private capital into the segment, and facilitate growth of small and micro enterprises within the cultural sector, the report said.
Govt urged to take two-way approach to housing curbs
China should adopt a two-way approach to property controls and rein in excessive inventory in some cities, Shanghai Securities News cited deputy housing minister Qi Ji as saying. This involves increasing the supply of general types of homes and suppressing speculative demand. The idea was first raised by Housing and Urban-Rural Development Minister Jiang Weixin , the report said. Housing curbs and differential mortgage loans will remain in place in first-tier cities but more measures are needed to reduce excess inventory, Qi was quoted as saying.
–Contact HKEJ at [email protected]