As Hong Kong has been striving to become a technology innovation hub through several policy and funding initiatives, Beijing is stepping in with some help from across the border.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said on Tuesday that the central government has decided to support Hong Kong’s innovation and technology efforts by allowing higher education and research institutions in the territory to apply for funding under the Central Finance Science and Technology Plans program.
It represents a major breakthrough for Hong Kong, given that until now Hong Kong researchers, who can apply for the funds jointly with their mainland counterparts, were allowed to use the money only in the mainland but not in Hong Kong, Lam told reporters before she attended a regular Executive Council meeting.
According to the chief executive, the Ministry of Science & Technology and the Ministry of Finance on Monday issued guidelines on granting science and technology funding for higher education and research institutions in Hong Kong, including arrangements on cross-boundary remittance of approved project funding to Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
The move came after President Xi Jinping instructed Beijing officials to take steps to promote technology collaboration between Hong Kong and the mainland.
Calling the policy a shot in the arm for Hong Kong’s efforts in technology and innovation, Lam it shows the central government really attaches great importance to the city’s technological expertise as well as the well-being of Hong Kong society as a whole.
Under the guidelines, universities and research institutions in Hong Kong, as well as Macau, can bid for cross-boundary funding to undertake central fiscal science and technology projects, on the basis of merit and competition.
Executive Council member Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fun, who heads the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation, said Xi’s instruction shows that Hong Kong’s technological expertise has been recognized.
The Hong Kong government on Tuesday held an event titled ‘Forum on Mainland-Hong Kong Cooperation in Innovation and Technology’, with representatives from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering participating along with Hong Kong officials and technology executives.
Huang Wei, a vice minister of Science and Technology, told the forum that the central government has approved the establishment of 16 state laboratories and six branches of Chinese National Engineering Research Centres in Hong Kong, as well as allocation of around 22 million yuan from the central fund to the city to support scientific research.
Huang Liuquan, deputy director of the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office, urged people in Hong Kong’s technology sector to take the initiative to understand deeply national policies on technology development so that they can find points connecting what the country needs and what Hong Kong is good at.
In other news, Hong Kong’s Secretary for Innovation and Technology, Nicholas Yang Wei-hsiung, told a Legislative Council committee on Tuesday that Hong Kong has to step up in order to hire foreign tech talents more efficiently and more quickly amid an ongoing global war for such talents.
However, entities seeking to hire foreigners must prove they are unable to find local people that fit their needs, Yang said while introducing the Technology Talent Admission Scheme, suggesting that the government doesn’t want the local job market to be affected.
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