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Beijing officials get down to IT nitty-gritty

Top News | Staff reporter May 16, 2018
Beijing officials are in Hong Kong to explain the measures to help the city in innovation and technology. This is to ensure Hong Kong institutions no longer need to find mainland partners in applying for central funding. Their arrival comes just one day after President Xi Jinping's instruction to support the SAR in the IT field. They are here first to explain details of the policies at the Forum on Mainland-Hong Kong Cooperation in Innovation and Technology held yesterday at government headquarters. During the forum, Vice Minister of Science and Technology Huang Wei explained the new Beijing policy to science scholars and researchers in the audience. Hong Kong research institutes can enjoy the same rights as their mainland counterparts when opening branches in Shenzhen while qualifying for the same tax favors and import-tax exemptions. When applying for funding from the Central Finance Science and Technology Plans, Hong Kong and Macau universities, institutes and scholars may apply alone, without the need to form partnerships with mainland partners. All funding granted to them can be used in Hong Kong and Macau. The 16 "state key laboratories" in Hong Kong universities already enjoy these measures. "A bridge has been built above the river; thus our money arrives at Hong Kong via this bridge and goes into the accounts of Hong Kong scientists," Huang said. Beijing will also introduce policies to help Hong Kong by formulating a joint plan for the mainland and the SAR, supporting Hong Kong and Macau scientists to take up important state research and promoting integration of the technology industry in the Big Bay Area. Chen Honglin, coordinator in operation of the University of Hong Kong's State Key Laboratory for Emerging Infectious Diseases, said the new measure could stabilize the supply of funding to the laboratory, which would enable him to employ more talented local researchers. Since its establishment in 2005, the lab has provided lifelines for local operations, having received HK$5 million recurrent funding each year from the Innovation and Technology Commission since 2012. But he said the recurrent funding was far from enough to employ ample researchers and purchase equipment. Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said the new policy would be a great breakthrough for the innovation industry in Hong Kong. "It's a great breakthrough because Hong Kong scientists had to form partnerships with mainland experts in applying for the central fund, and the fund could only be used in the mainland," she said.


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