Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po has earmarked HK$5.5 billion for the development of the fifth phase of Cyberport, a government-owned complex in Telegraph Bay with a cluster of technology and digital content tenants.
The amount, combined with HK$36 billion set aside for universities to conduct research and development, and add additional facilities essential for such activities, is aimed at boosting innovation and technology development in Hong Kong, after the government allocated HK$50 billion last year for the purpose, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
In his 2019-20 budget speech on Wednesday, Chan said a robust ecosystem is needed to develop innovation and technology in the city through various I&T policy initiatives, including developing I&T infrastructure, promoting R&D, pooling talent, supporting enterprises and promoting re-industrialization.
Cyberport has built a digital technology ecosystem with more than 1,200 companies and startups and has nurtured over 500 startups after years of growth, the financial chief said.
According to a government source, Cyberport 5 is expected to attract 100 tech companies and 700 startups.
The HK$5.5 billion allocation for Cyberport 5 will serve to attract more quality technology companies and startups to set up their offices in Cyberport and provide a pathway for young people to pursue a career in I&T, Chan said.
Cyberport 5 is expected to offer about 66,000 square meters of floor area, including facilities such as offices, co-working space, conference venues and data service platforms, he said.
A source revealed that existing buildings in Cyberport have seen their letting rate reach 93 to 95 percent, close to saturation, prompting the government to decide on a fifth phase.
The new building will start construction in 2021 and is expected to be completed in 2024 at the earliest.
Located between The Arcade mall and the waterfront promenade, the new building will occupy a land area of about 1.6 hectares, the source said.
Lee George Lam, chairman of Hong Kong Cyberport Management Co., welcomed the fresh government funding, saying it will help enhance efforts to develop digital technology, digital transformation and smart living.
Duncan Chiu Tat-kun, president of the Hong Kong Information Technology Joint Council and a board member of Cyberport, said the fifth phase project was necessary to help ease the overcrowding in the complex by offering more space for forums, contests and training classes for the I&T sector.
However, lawmaker Charles Mok Nai-kwong, who represents the information technology sector, said the government seems to be focusing on providing a huge amount of money to support R&D projects but neglecting the current lack of talent, which is the biggest problem faced by the I&T sector.
The administration’s policy initiatives are apparently geared towards attracting foreign talents rather than training local ones, Mok added.
– Contact us at [email protected]