Date
16 December 2017
The government can help tech companies monetize their innovations by scrapping outdated and restrictive regulations. Photo: Xinhua
The government can help tech companies monetize their innovations by scrapping outdated and restrictive regulations. Photo: Xinhua

Why tech bureau should take a page from ICAC

Hong Kong’s business sector hasn’t been enthusiastic about technology investment because making money from it isn’t easy.

This partly explains the catchphrase “high-tech means high risk, low-tech means profit”.

One of the biggest hurdles faced by the tech sector is excessive and outdated regulation, University of Hong Kong professor Richard Wong writes in the Hong Kong Economic Journal.

The newly founded Innovation and Technology Bureau (ITB) should take a leaf out of the playbook of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).

“The research unit of ICAC is a great role model. It reviews the policies of different government departments, searches for rules that might encourage bribery and gets them amended,” Wong says.

“Similarly, ITB could identify rules across different sectors that are keeping companies from monetizing their technological innovations and get them relaxed, or even removed.”

The medical sector is a good example.

Hong Kong’s aging population suggests that labor shortage in the healthcare sector will be a serious issue in a couple of decades but existing regulations are obstructing the use of technology to solve the problem.

The government should ease restrictions on imports of medical professionals to boost the development of biotechnology and related industries and allow the business sector to tap the enormous market potential from the demographic change, Wong says.

This initiative involves different departments including the Food and Health Bureau, Education Bureau and Security Bureau.

– Contact us at [email protected]

RA

EJ Insight writer

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