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Policy Address

Innovation and Technology

41.       Innovation and technology can diversify the economy, provide wider employment opportunities in research and development (R&D), and enhance the competitiveness and growth of related industries.  According to the latest Global Innovation Index by Cornell University and other organisations, Hong Kong ranked amongst the 10 most innovative places out of some 140 economies surveyed.

42.       The Government provides a strategic environment for innovation and technology development through five core strategies.  They include providing world-class technology infrastructure for enterprises, research institutions and universities; offering financial support to stakeholders in the industry, academia and research sector to commercialise their R&D deliverables; nurturing talent; strengthening collaboration with the Mainland and other places in science and technology; and fostering a vibrant culture of innovation.

43.       Hong Kong's gross domestic expenditure on R&D increased from $7.1 billion in 2001 to $15.6 billion in 2013, an average annual growth of 7%.  The number of R&D personnel has more than doubled during the same period.

44.       The Science Park is currently home to nearly 500 partner companies, providing more than 10 000 technology-related jobs.  By the time Phase 3 comes into full operation in 2016, the Science Park will accommodate more than 600 partner companies.  The Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation has proposed optimising the use of the remaining vacant site for the development of new R&D facilities.

45.       On financial support, the Government's Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF) has provided about $8.9 billion for more than 4 200 projects.  The funding scope of the ITF was expanded in mid-2014, providing stronger support for downstream R&D projects and our universities.  Last September, we launched the Technology Start-up Support Scheme for Universities to encourage university students and teaching staff to start their own technology business and commercialise their R&D deliverables.

46.       I propose injecting $5 billion into the ITF and subsuming the Research and Development Cash Rebate Scheme under the Fund.  The Government is also setting up an Enterprise Support Scheme to enhance our funding support for R&D projects of the private sector.

47.       There are currently 16 Partner State Key Laboratories in Hong Kong, covering a spectrum of scientific and technological disciplines.  We have also started the first round of applications for Hong Kong branches of Chinese National Engineering Research Centres to invite participation of universities and research centres in Hong Kong.




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