HK sci-tech firms inspired by Xi’s visit, eye closer GBA cooperation
Published: Jul 01, 2022 11:59 PM Updated: Jul 01, 2022 11:48 PM
Innovation Photo: VCG
Innovation Photo: VCG

Enterprises from Hong Kong Science Park said they are inspired by the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping and look forward to closer technology cooperation with cities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) as Hong Kong is developing into a leading innovation and technology hub.

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government should give full play to the role of technological innovation in supporting and leading economic development, Xi said, while inspecting the Hong Kong Science Park on Thursday, Xinhua News Agency reported.

When talking with academicians, researchers, and youth representatives of innovation enterprises, Xi called on Hong Kong to better cooperate with mainland cities in the Greater Bay Area, strengthen the collaborative development of enterprises, universities and research institutions, and strive to build the bay area into a global highland for scientific and technological innovation.

"Technology and innovation is a bright direction that President Xi has pointed for Hong Kong to facilitate Hong Kong's future economic transformation and integration into the GBA," said Shang Hailong, general manager of SenseTime Hong Kong, a leading AI software company in the science park. 

"As a tech industry player in Hong Kong, we must earnestly comprehend Xi's important speech, and strive to turn Hong Kong's advantage into the intelligent manufacturing development in the GBA and firmly hold the technology independence in our own hands," Shang told the Global Times on Friday.

Kinson Chan, CEO of eSIX Limited, a software provider for 5G industrial applications, told the Global Times on Friday that Hong Kong's input into innovation in the past three to four years is equivalent to the past two decades and in this context the visit of President Xi on Thursday to the science park is "very encouraging and morale boosting."

Chan, whose company's products now serve major ports in the mainland, said Hong Kong has a global platform and living environment that makes it easier to attract world-class talent, adding that scientists and engineers from Pakistan and India work shoulder by shoulder in his company.
"Closing the gap with advanced Western technology requires the smartest brains from all over the world, and Hong Kong, where East meets West, could be the global platform for this job," Chan said.

According to the national 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25), the central government supports Hong Kong to cement its four traditional roles in international finance, shipping, trading and international legal and dispute resolution services in the Asia-Pacific region, while encouraging the city to explore four new roles such as serving as international innovation and technology center among other directions involving the services sector.

In addition, Hong Kong will develop a new metropolis in its northern part to deepen cooperation with South China's Shenzhen and integrate Hong Kong into the overall development of the country, according to the 2021 policy address of HKSAR.

The total number of jobs in the metropolis will increase substantially from 116,000 to about 650,000, including 150,000 innovation and technology industry-related jobs.

"In this regard, SenseTime has caught up with a good opportunity," Shang said.

Hong Kong has valuable advantages in talent resources. By combining talent resources with high-end industries, incunabular R&D projects could be first rolled out in Hong Kong and then by taking advantage of the integrated development of the Greater Bay Area, AI technology could be industrialized and commercialized, and simultaneously enter the mainland and international markets, Shang said.
Vitaly Pentegov, CEO of UrbanChain Group, a company based in the science park, also looks forward to a deeper integration of Hong Kong's innovation sector into the national development plan and believes the new plans would take the integration of GBA cities to a new level.

"The GBA and northern metropolis plan implied easier commute, cross-border transactions and acknowledgement of technology exchange procedures," Pentegov told the Global Times on Friday.

His company provides AI-driven parking, property, mobility software and hardware solutions.

"My company is interested in the GBA market, and we are waiting for quarantine restrictions to be eased, so we can schedule the visit to our clients and prospects in Shenzhen right away," Pentegov said.

The science park is the largest research and development and business incubation base in Hong Kong, and is currently home to more than 1,100 enterprises and 17,000 innovators.