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Thursday, May 16, 2019, 10:44
Med firm CEO calls for more flexibility in talent incubation
By Oswald Chan
Thursday, May 16, 2019, 10:44 By Oswald Chan

HONG KONG - The CEO of a Hong Kong-based medical startup says the city must have more flexible talent-incubation programs if it wants to be the global innovation and technology hub in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

AusMed Global CEO Christine Yip made her comments during the 10th HKTDC Hong Kong International Medical and Healthcare Fair, which began Tuesday and runs through Thursday.

The fair, taking place at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, showcases 258 exhibitors from eight countries and regions, focusing on the latest biotechnology applications and smart portable devices. The Hong Kong Trade Development Council organized the event, with the Hong Kong Medical and Healthcare Device Industries Association serving as co-organizer.

Yip said talent cultivation is the major hurdle for Hong Kong as it seeks to become the global technology and innovation hub in the Bay Area.

It is very difficult to recruit technology talent in Hong Kong because other regions are also introducing their own talent incubation programs, making it is even more difficult for Hong Kong to lure talent.

Christine Yip, CEO, AusMed Global

“It is very difficult to recruit technology talent in Hong Kong because other regions are also introducing their own talent incubation programs, making it is even more difficult for Hong Kong to lure talent,” Yip told China Daily.

ALSO READ: Innovative solutions needed for Bay Area talent shortage

She said the Hong Kong government could, for example, consider relaxing some requirements for work visas by granting visas to technology experts who do not have doctoral degrees, or by scrapping the requirement that visa applicants must devote 100 percent of their time to research based in the city.

Yip said that in addition to talent cultivation, the Bay Area offers market potential as well as manufacturing capabilities that a startup can tap into.

AusMed Global, one of the fair exhibitors, is showcasing its noninvasive, needle-free and pain-free technique to measure ketone, an important biomarker, in breath. The technology can help prevent hospitalization and stabilize a patient after treatment, which is particularly useful when treating diabetes patients.

AusMed Global sees the potential of this ketone-sensing technique and successfully obtained this patent technology from the University of Sydney in Australia.

“This technology can be extended to other applications as medical researchers can gather more data and do more research based on the sensing technology to make diagnoses and treat obesity, lung and brain cancer and tumor,” said Stephen Twigg, head of the Department of Endocrinology at the University of Sydney.

As an international finance center with no currency controls, Hong Kong provided various venture capital funding sources to AusMed Global’s founders when they established the company.

AusMed Global is expected to move into Hong Kong Science Park this year with further ventures in technology commercialization. The company will recruit up to eight multidisciplinary research and development employees for technology development, and four or five marketing team members to promote the product and get regulatory approval.

READ MORE: Govt fostering strong innovation and technology ecosystem

The Bay Area population is expected to see great demand for AusMed Global’s medical technology services. At the same time, the city cluster has many OEM (original equipment manufacturing) factories that can make some parts of the device.

The Bay Area, which includes nine Chinese mainland cities and the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macao, is an enormous market with a population of 71 million and a gross domestic product of US$1.6 trillion at the end of 2018, equivalent to 12 percent of the Chinese mainland’s GDP.

But AusMed will manufacture the most high-end part of the device in Hong Kong. “Since Hong Kong has strong intellectual property rights protection, the most sensitive technology part of the device will be manufactured in the city,” Yip told China Daily.

Murray Davis, New South Wales state’s trade and investment commissioner for South China and Hong Kong, said Australia and the Bay Area can complement their expertise in medical technology commercialization.

“While Australia provides world-class clinical research, technology commercialization is still weak in the country,” Davis said.

“Hong Kong is endowed with ample venture-capital funding sources and strong research institutions for product prototyping, while the Bay Area provides access to advanced manufacturing supply chain.”

oswald@chinadailyhk.com

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