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Friday, July 29, 2016, 23:27

HK needs to boost innovation: Experts


HONG KONG - Hong Kong should boost innovation to compete with rivals like Shanghai and Singapore, economic experts said during a forum on Friday.

The Hong Kong Development Forum, held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, invited academics and business leaders to discuss Hong Kong's future development. They also looked at what lessons could be learnt from the fast economic development of Shanghai and Singapore.

Professor Raymond So Wai-man, dean of the School of Business at the Hang Seng Management College, noted that Hong Kong had world-leading infrastructure and excellent city planning. But he added that the city lagged in areas like innovation and government efficiency.

He stressed that small economies like Hong Kong and Singapore should give more emphasis on developing an innovation-oriented economy.

In his view, Singapore is doing a better job than Hong Kong as it spent nearly 2 percent of its GDP in research and development, while the SAR used less than 1 percent.

Chan Yan Chong, a Singaporean at the City University of Hong Kong, believed Singapore experienced less political wrangling than Hong Kong, which benefited the Lion City.

Chan added that the ultimate victim of political gridlock is the city and its people.

Another factor that contributed to Singapore's better performance, in Chan’s view, is the country's tax rebates.

Such a policy has attracted large-scale venture capital to Singapore, propelling its capacity for innovation.

Business leaders also shared their insights. Fung Hau-chung, executive director and head of global banking and markets of Hang Seng Bank, suggested Hong Kong consider establishing a new stock market. This is to accommodate the emerging science and technology start-ups - like the New Third Board on the mainland.

Fung said the city should work closely with Shenzhen in the area of technology to create more jobs.

The 2016 World Competitiveness Ranking from the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) places Hong Kong at No 1, followed by Switzerland, with the United States at third.

While in the Annual Report on China’s Urban Competitiveness (No14), which was announced in May, Hong Kong is ranked after Shenzhen in terms of comprehensive economy competitiveness.

Willa Wu contributed to the story.

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