23 January 2019
Tencent chairman Ma Huateng has urged the Hong Kong government to help facilitate innovative technology by bringing in more talent. Photo: HKEJ
Tencent chairman Ma Huateng has urged the Hong Kong government to help facilitate innovative technology by bringing in more talent. Photo: HKEJ

Tencent laments lack of technology talent in HK

Tencent chairman Ma Huateng lamented Hong Kong’s lack of innovative talent, saying the government should help facilitate technology by bringing in more experts, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

Ma said in an event organized by HKXTech Startup Platform that in the past, Hong Kong has seen too many cases in which high-tech products suffered losses while low-tech ones made large profits.

He said there are ways Hong Kong can improve but all efforts would require assistance from the government.

Ma hopes that the government would be more daring and should set some goals of its own.

“If you set a goal and fail to meet it, we can always find out who is accountable,” he said.

Ma said he had once suggested to Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor that the government should bring in more talent and make itself accountable only to be told that she would not “easily fire people”.

Ma said the accountability system would be a great source of pressure and motivation for the government to improve.

Last July, Ma asked former chief executive Leung Chun-ying whether the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme can allow more quotas for talent with innovative creativity.

This year, Ma asked the same question again at a Tencent event, implying there has been no improvement in the past year.

Ma said that if Hong Kong wants its innovative technology to move past square one, it needs new talent and a suitable environment.

He suggested to Lam that for every Hong Kong talent it nurtures, the government should also take in a new migrant.

Another way is to use the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area network to push forward new policies such as developing technological education in the Lok Ma Chau Loop, changing the education policy and investing more capital to develop innovative education.

Tencent held a summer camp in August, inviting students from Macau, Hong Kong, and China to participate in a visit to Shenzhen’s newest innovative technologies.

Ma said the camp was a great success and hopes there will be more enterprises involved next year.

According to statistics, from October last year to March this year, there had been 5,521 successful applicants for the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme.

About 30 percent of the applicants were artists or creative people. Only 131 cases were related to information technology, accounting for a mere 2.4 percent.

Speaking at Monday’s event, Lam said Hong Kong can push forward the industry in several ways.

First is that the government and private enterprises can provide capital and tax incentives to develop more projects in science and technology.

The government should also include investments, which will amount to nearly HK$2 billion in the near future.

Other methods include paying for the Science Park, keeping data regarding the government’s funding and development, nurturing talent, education and changing the law.

Lam said that she has very little contact with science and innovative technology but added that Hong Kong has an advantage over China in this respect due to “one country, two systems”.

Neil Shen, founder of the HKXTech Startup Platform said Hong Kong is “clearly lagging” in technological development.

He said the reason people are not willing to start a business is the the high cost.

Shen urged the government to loosen some policies so that more tech people will be able to stay and develop in Hong Kong. He said the government should also allow more talent from China to become mentors to those in Hong Kong.

He said Hong Kong has a chance to develop AI (artificial intelligence), big data analytics and robotics. The pioneers in this industry should be innovative companies instead of big companies.

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