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Wednesday, September 28, 2016, 00:26

Forum: HK needs talented people to build a smart city

By Willa Wu
Forum: HK needs talented people to build a smart city

Some models of China's high-speed trains are shown to Starry Lee Wai-king (third right), lawmakers and chairwoman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), Tam Yiu-chung (right), former legislator and DAB chairman, and other members of  the party at the InnoTech Expo 2016 on Tuesday. (Parker Zheng / China Daily)

HONG KONG – The government should work closely with universities and enterprises to provide more training to students to prepare them for Hong Kong's future transformation into a smart city, experts from different sectors said on Tuesday.

The discussion, one of the forums held during the eight-day InnoTech Expo 2016, saw seven experts from the government and private sector discuss Hong Kong's future as a smart city.

Tsang Kim-fung, chairman of the Internet of Things Committee of Smart City Consortium who presided at the forum, said smart cities rely not only on technology but also on talented people. Thus, more extensive training should be provided to young people. Then they can acquire the skills needed for developing a smart city, Tsang said.

He noted that such training should not be limited to those conducted in schools. It could also be training offered by enterprises – such as internships or summer programs.

His views were shared by Man Kim-fung, chair professor of the Department of Electronic Engineering in City University of Hong Kong. According to Man, every year 700 PhD students graduate. Most engage in academic projects in order to get more funding.

"If companies are willing to cooperate with universities, providing necessary funding and facilities, more capable students will enter the fields of science and technology. This is the backbone of building smart cities," Man said.

Convener of the Smart City Consortium Eric Yeung Chuen-sing said a smart city was not an abstract concept. Rather, it was topic which needs extensive discussion.

To transform an ordinary city into a smart city also requires the support of information technology, a large amount of data and cloud storage technology, Yeung said.

He said smart cities will develop quickly around the world. In 2020 the overall output value of all smart cities will amount to US$900 billion. The thriving market will benefit the development of science and technology, he said.

The government also sees this potential. Allen Yeung Tak-bun, government chief information officer, said in the forum’s opening speech that the government attached great importance to building a smart city. Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying had discussed this in his 2016 Policy Address. The government has developed a blueprint which includes policies, strategies and a digital framework for a smart city.

He emphasized that building a smart city not only needed assistance from the government, but also from academia and the business sector.

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