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Monday, August 1, 2016, 10:25

HK needs to transform itself into a smart city: Eric Yeung

By Oswald Chan and Luis Liu
HK needs to transform itself into a smart city: Eric Yeung
Eric Yeung Chuen-sing, convener of Smart City Consortium. (Provided to China Daily )

Hong Kong should update its legislation so it can transform itself into a smart city, advises IT expert and aspiring politician Eric Yeung Chuen-sing.

Yeung is a candidate running in the seat representing the Information Technology functional constituency in the upcoming Legislative Council election.

He says developing Hong Kong into a smart city will enable more social resources to be shared as well as create the right conditions to develop new economic models.

Yeung is also the convener of an IT consulting organization, the Smart City Consortium (SCC), founded in March this year.

The SCC was formed by a group of IT professionals, including engineers, technology experts, surveying organizations, geographic information service providers, urban planning and intelligent transportation researchers. It aims to provide opinions and suggestions to the government for promoting smart city development in Hong Kong.

“Current legislation regarding technology and institutional arrangements is far from adequate, so the government must take on a cross-departmental approach to change the situation,” Yeung told China Daily in an exclusive interview.

If elected, Yeung said he will push legislative amendments to give the public more access to official data, such as weather statistics, traffic conditions or parking space information, which will benefit third-party organizations in developing their related products.

He stressed such a change is urgent to attract the public sector to join Hong Kong’s smart city shift.

“Public-private partnership is the key strategy to develop smart city which can merge governmental policies and business initiatives,” Yeung said.

The city also needs to put in place various industry standards to facilitate the transformation, he said. “Formulating a standardized benchmark regarding smart city-related devices can help Hong Kong service providers export their service standards to other countries and regions, thus boosting overseas and local investment into such industries,” Yeung added.

Meanwhile, he will put forward proposals to get favorable land policies for IT and innovation enterprises, to set up a State-level innovation center in Hong Kong and encourage investment from the mainland and overseas.

He also called for adding IT courses into Hong Kong’s primary and secondary school curricula to foster more local talents and raise the current status of IT professionals in government departments.

In his Policy Address 2015, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying outlined the vision to upgrade Hong Kong into a smart city in the near future. The administration has chosen Kowloon East as a pilot area to explore the feasibility.

However, the Innovation and Technology Bureau, proposed by the Chief Executive in 2012 when he assumed office, had waited three years to get its funding from LegCo.

The pan-politicization of issues in the legislature prompted Yeung to run for the seat representing the IT industry in LegCo.

Yeung is running against Charles Mok Nai-kwong, the incumbent lawmaker for the constituency who is seeking another term. “If elected, I will give priority to industry concerns instead of wrangling over political issues,” Yeung pledged. “Lawmakers are not the government’s enemies, but partners to work with at the negotiation table,” he said.

He urged fellow LegCo candidates to uphold rational discussions, respect different voices and pursue solutions to social issues that are commonly accepted by society.

Yeung revealed he will meet Secretary for Transport and Housing Anthony Cheung Bing-leung in early August to exchange views on how to upgrade the transportation system in the city.

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