25 January 2020
Cooperation between Hong Kong and Shenzhen holds the key to technological innovation. Photo: Xinhua
Cooperation between Hong Kong and Shenzhen holds the key to technological innovation. Photo: Xinhua

HK, Shenzhen should join hands in fostering innovation

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s policy address this year focused on innovation and technology development.

Meanwhile, the Shenzhen municipal government and the Guangdong provincial government have set an innovation-driven economy as a target in their five-year plans.

The rise of drone maker DJI has proved that Hong Kong has a great advantage, in terms of providing related services for research and development, in the region.

Most importantly, the open market in the Pearl River Delta region makes it possible to integrate all the necessary factors for DJI’s success.

However, documents related to Shenzhen and Guangdong’s five-year plans provide few details on the kind of cooperation that is needed to build an open market to foster technological innovations within the region.

The wide adoption of information technology and the growing awareness of the need for technological innovation have led to significant changes in commercial entities and research institutes, in terms of their structure, business model, etc.

Creation and innovation will no longer come from a closed circulatory system.

Instead, an open system becomes a mainstream way to foster technological innovations.

I think officials in Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Guangdong know this quite clearly.

A 2009 study by academics at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology said that since many Hong Kong firms are small businesses, it would be more suitable for them to sell services or products in such an open system.

For example, they can provide R&D services for specific projects, establish venture capital funds, acquire licenses for advanced technologies, and provide logistical, design and other professional services.

Hong Kong should explore the way to integrate external resources for its own advantage.

Cooperation with Shenzhen counterparties holds the key to integration.

Hong Kong can integrate Shenzhen’s high-tech manufacturing business into the city’s “innovation chain”, making it a key player that can link its R&D abilities with Shenzhen’s industrial capacity.

Shenzhen and Hong Kong should encourage sharing and integration of efforts from academic and industrial circles to create long-term and sustainable drivers for the sector to develop and build the open system to foster technological innovations.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on March 1.

Translation by Myssie You

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Director of the Economic and Social Development Research Centre at the China Development Institute