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Monday, March 2, 2015, 18:35

Nicholas Yang appointed tech advisor

By Kahon Chan

HONG KONG - Nicholas Yang Wei-hsiung, the former executive vice president of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, has been appointed the city chief's Innovation & Technology Adviser and an non-official member of the Executive Council to pave the way for the city's Innovation and Technology Bureau (ITB).

Plans for the bureau was stalled by the Legislative Council two weeks ago. Owing to the opposition camp's filibustering tactics, the Finance Committee did not manage to send the funding request to vote before the government sent next year's Budget to print.

As part of the transitional remedy, the Steering Committee on Innovation and Technology will be overhauled to become a new advisory committee. Yang will take over the chairman post from Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying explained that though the appointment was clearly not the optimal way to formulate policies in innovations and technoogy, but it would ensure Hong Kong is not falling behind in an environment that changes in a matter of "months" when he made the announcement on Monday.

Yang did not share details of his plans, but pointed out the administration is in need of a newer mindset and a fast-response action plan to promote the city's competitiveness, to improve the quality of living in Hong Kong and to offer Hong Kong's next generation hope and better prospects.

Yang had been tipped to head the ITB. Though the funding request fell through, the veteran engineer, executive and educator will nevertheless launch a series of exchanges with the industry and other stakeholders, and eventually draw up recommendations to the CE and the Executive Council.

He will not be paid for his advisory role, nor Leung's office will provide any regular staff to support his research work. But as a non-official member of the top advisory council, he will receive a monthly honorarium of HK$76,510 a month - lower than what is drawn by any politically-appointed official.

Born in Taiwan, Yang was trained in the United States as an electrical engineer, and began his career at Intel. He came to Hong Kong to manage the Shell Electric Holdings in 1983, and joined JDS Uniphase Corporation in 1999.

He was hired to become the chief executive officer of Cyperport in 2003, and moved to the Polytechnic University in 2010.

Legislator Charles Mok Nai-kwong, who represents the information technology sector, said the industry has a mixed views on Yang's management of the Cyperport, but he personally felt Yang had made the best efforts in his capacity.

Mok hopes with Yang could better elaborate the bureau's strategy to the legislature to help pave the way for the creation of the bureau in coming months, as his opposition allies have been skeptic about the bureau's ability to cut the red tapes and collaborate efforts for the industry.

 
 
 
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