19 October 2019
If properly regulated, car-sharing and bike-sharing industries can add to Hong Kong’s economic strength. 
If properly regulated, car-sharing and bike-sharing industries can add to Hong Kong’s economic strength. Photo:

HK govt should be more open to new technologies

Legislator Charles Mok, who represents the IT sector, has arranged a meeting between technology industry players and Secretary for Transport and Housing Frank Chan Fan.

Automobile manufacturers, car and bike sharing operators, e-payment firms, scholars and representatives of several other business sectors attended the meeting.

I raised four issues. The first is how the government can regulate the emerging car-sharing and bike-sharing industries, and integrate them into our economic system to boost Hong Kong’s competitiveness.

Policymakers should be open to new ideas and figure out how to compete with other cities, rather than holding on to old rules and discouraging investors from around the world.

Second is the government’s decision to scrap the registration tax waiver on electric vehicles early this year. The move has drawn much criticism for setting Hong Kong backward as an environmentally conscious city.

The decision has had an immediate impact on electric car sales, leaving car makers with little incentive to research and develop new electric cars and forcing them to continue selling polluting traditional cars.

Third is the government’s introduction of e-payment services for several tunnels.

This move has resulted in long queues at Autotoll booths, especially during rush hours, because there aren’t enough of them, while manual booths are actually less busy. To reap the benefits of automation, the government should consider adding more Autotoll booths.

Fourth, the government should discuss with MTR Corp., the city’s rail operator, the use of idle land outside subway stations as parking lots for sharing bikes. If such an arrangement can be implemented, bikes stand a better chance to be used for daily commuting rather than just for fun on weekends.

We hope the new administration will be more open and tolerant to innovative or disruptive technologies and put Hong Kong again on an ascending path.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Oct. 3

Translation by Julie Zhu

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Hong Kong Information Technology Federation honorary chairman