Xi charges up HK tech connection

Top News | Jane Cheung May 15, 2018
President Xi Jinping says he is supporting the developing IT cooperation between Hong Kong and the mainland.

Replying to a letter from Hong Kong members of the Chinese Academy of Science and Chinese Academy of Engineering, Xi said Hong Kong will play an important role in transforming the mainland into an innovative country.

In June last year, 24 members from the academies wrote to Xi, expressing their hopes and passion in repaying the country by developing innovation technology.

Xi read the letter, Xinhua News Agency reported, and he quickly called for meetings with the IT and financial bureaus to discuss measures on how to enhance IT cooperation between the SAR and the mainland.

He instructed the bureaus to consider the SAR's IT development as an important component of the country's innovative force. The central government liaison office will also gather opinions from the SAR government and IT sector.

Xi said enhanced cooperation between Hong Kong and the mainland will enable the SAR to establish itself as an international IT center.

Xi said the SAR is equipped with the infrastructure and foundation for IT development, and has many advanced and patriotic talents.

He said they will spearhead a major force in constructing an innovative country, as part of China's development strategies.

Hong Kong should make use of its IT advantages to contribute to the country's economic development and improve people's livelihoods as part of its obligations in relation to the "one country, two systems" principle, Xi said.

In the letter to Xi, the members told of problems such as restrictions on the use of IT budgets issued by mainland authorities in the SAR, and the lack of tax allowance for the importation of machinery, which Xi has asked authorities to follow up on.

The central government has supported 16 state laboratories in the SAR and is looking into setting up a trial scheme to sponsor scientific research in Hong Kong and Macau. It has also extended the tax allowances to Hong Kong IT organizations in the mainland.

Such policies were welcomed by the IT sector of the two SARs.

The mainland bureaus will strive to fulfill the tasks instructed by Xi and fully support IT talents by joining the country's national IT schemes.

Nancy Ip Yuk-yu, University of Science and Technology vice president and a professor of life science, said mainland authorities usually provide a larger research budget than the SAR government.

She said after applying for mainland funding, many HKUST professors had to conduct their research projects in Shenzhen or Nansha. She also said she is pushing to allow mainland IT funding to be used in Hong Kong.

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January 2019