INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Government earmarks $50b to power IT sector

Almost half ($20b) is reserved for the Hong Kong-Shenzen Innovation and Technology Park.

The government is allocating over $50b to accelerate innovation and technology development in an effort to keep up pace with the digital demands of the global economic arena, Finance Secretary Paul Chain said in his 2018 budget address. 

“To shine in the fierce I&T race amidst keen competition, Hong Kong must optimise its resources by focusing on developing its areas of strength, namely biotechnology, artificial intelligence, smart city and financial technologies,” Mr Chan said. 

Of this figure, almost half or $20b is reserved for the infrastructure and initial operation needs of the first phase of Hong Kong-Shenzen Innovation and Technology Park in Lok Ma Chau Loop whilst $10b is to be allocated into the Innovation and Technology Fund. 

Chan added that another $10b is earmarked to establish two research clusters on healthcare technologies, AI and robotics to attract the world’s top scientific talent into conducting R&D projects in collaboration with local universities to improve the quality of IT education in the city. 

“Such clusters will pool and nurture more technology talent in Hong Kong. I will provide financial support for non-profit-making scientific research institutions that will establish their presence in these two clusters,” said Chan.

The Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTPC) is also poised to receive $10b in financing fuel to construct infrastructure and enhance support for its various tenants and incubatees.

Chan added that the government is allocating $200m to promote the development of a digital tech ecosystem for startups with the aim of attracting internet enterprises to set up shop in Hong Kong as well as an additional $100m to promote e-sports development. 

“The financial assistance offered under Cyberport’s incubation programme to individual start-ups will also increase by 50 per cent to $500,000,” Chan added.

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