Last week the Financial Secretary for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), Mr. Paul Chan Mo-po, unveiled Hong Kong’s 2018-19 budget, which includes a HK$50 billion investment in innovation and technology. These budget allocations are expected to establish Hong Kong more firmly as an innovation and technology development centre.
“To shine in the fierce I&T race amidst keen competition, Hong Kong must optimize its resources by focusing on developing its areas of strength, namely biotechnology, artificial intelligence, smart city and financial technologies (Fintech),” said Mr Chan in his annual budget speech delivered on 28 February 2018.
In order to accomplish these goals, HK$20 billion has been allocated to fund the first phase of the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park, which will be around four times the current size of Hong Kong Science Park (HKSP) and expected to attract top scientific research institutions and technology enterprises.
HK$10 billion will be used to establish two research clusters on healthcare technologies and artificial intelligence and robotics technologies, which are expected to draw world class research institutes and commercial research enterprises to Hong Kong to conduct early and mid-stage research and development in collaboration with Hong Kong universities and research institutes.
HK$10 billion has been set aside to fund the further development of HKSP, including construction of additional research-related infrastructure and a new Smart Campus that will promote Hong Kong’s Smart City efforts and enhance support of HKSP tenants.
Hong Kong Cyberport will receive an additional HK$300 million to boost support for start-ups, attract multi-national companies, strengthen its incubation program and support development of e-sports in Hong Kong.
In addition, significant tax-reductions on domestic research and development expenditures by commercial research enterprises will be implemented, including a 300% tax deduction on the first HK$2 million of qualified expenditures and a 200% deduction on remaining qualified expenditures above HK$2 million.
We expect this investment in I&T in Hong Kong will enhance the region’s appeal as a centre for R & D and collaboration due to the attraction of talent and I & T industry players and the development of knowledge and infrastructure.