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Thursday, May 19, 2016, 01:33

Young entrepreneurs appreciate Zhang’s visit

By Wang Yuke

HONG KONG - The city’s young entrepreneurs welcomed a heartening visit from Zhang Dejiang on the second day of his three-day inspection tour, as they showcased their innovations to the nation’s top legislator at the Hong Kong Science Park.

The chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress made a high-profile appearance in the park where more than 600 startups, including 182 from overseas, are located.

Accompanied by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, Zhang heard reports on Hong Kong’s work on innovation and technology and also met the heads of local universities. After that, founders of five local innovation and technology startups that have excelled in different technology areas presented and demonstrated to Zhang their products, ranging from face recognition to medical sector technologies.

Zhang said Hong Kong should strive to find new economic growth points, while maintaining its well-established pillar industries.

In response, Leung said innovation and technology, which can improve people’s lives in a safer, more comfortable and more convenient way, can be one of the new economic growth areas which Zhang discussed.

Professor of Chemical Pathology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong Dennis Lo Yuk-ming was one of the five entrepreneurs there on Wednesday afternoon.

Calling Zhang’s visit a positive signal, Lo said the visit showed the central government attached great importance to innovation and technology. He added that innovation and technology are vital to the development of Hong Kong.

Secretary for Innovation and Technology Nicholas Yang Wei-hsiung stressed the city’s role in entrepreneurship and innovation and the relevant policies in the city. He also discussed the work of major innovation and technology support institutions, while highlighting the cooperation between Hong Kong and the mainland and also Hong Kong’s role as a “super-connector”.

Heeding the call from the central government, Hong Kong entrepreneurs have begun to seek partnership from the Chinese mainland. They aim to tap into the mainland market by further developing their technologies. Close cross-boundary collaboration on innovation and technology domain is encouraged.

Recent years have seen frequent collaboration between Hong Kong and mainland cities including Shenzhen when it comes to innovation and technology development.

Director of Shenzhen Innovation and Development Institute (SIDI) Mao Zhenhua strongly encouraged closer collaboration between the two cities. He made these comments at a recent roundtable meeting co-hosted by the SIDI and the One Country Two Systems Research Institute in Hong Kong.

Mao said Hong Kong should have a fresh perspective on Shenzhen, a city that has experienced huge transformation and been recognized as China’s Silicon Valley.

Jimmy Tao, chief executive officer of Vitargent, a bioscience startup which has thrived amid cross-boundary cooperation since it was founded in 2010, said “the company wouldn’t make it without the government’s continuous help”.

The company’s new technology to detect toxic chemicals in edible oil has gained the mainland authorities’ financial support. Most oil samples for testing are provided by mainland partners, including the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. It is expected to roll out the new product on the mainland market next year.

The founding of the Innovation and Technology Bureau in 2015 signaled the government’s commitment to boosting its competiveness in the innovation sector.

The city will see greater efforts to encourage startups as more resources are deployed to boost research and development. Hong Kong Science Park is expanding by another 70,000 square meters between now and 2020. It is committed to continuing its Corporate Venture Fund and incubation programs. Cyberport, another government-sponsored hub for startup companies, in February earmarked HK$200 million for funding startups.

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