Lok Ma Chau Loop development backed by 60 per cent, Hong Kong survey finds

But only 44 per cent think city has adequate capacities to pull off project

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 04 February, 2017, 8:04am
UPDATED : Saturday, 04 February, 2017, 8:03am

The plan to develop Lok Ma Chau Loop along the mainland border into a high-tech zone was supported by around 60 per cent of respondents in a Chinese University of Hong Kong study.

In addition, more than 70 per cent of the 733 people interviewed by phone in Hong Kong agreed the development of innovation and technology industries was important for the city’s future.

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The university’s Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies conducted the survey between January 19 and 23, after local authorities announced earlier this year a deal with Shenzhen authorities to develop the 87-hectare area into an innovation and technology park.

The muddy wetland located along the Shenzhen River is four times larger than Science Park in Sha Tin.

Among those who expressed support for the project, some 43 per cent said the park would help Hong Kong develop its innovation and technology industries. Others believed it could create more job opportunities and make good use of the mainland’s industrial advantages.

But for the 24.6 per cent that rejected the cross-border plan, a quarter feared it would draw too many mainlanders to work in Hong Kong. Another 22 per cent said they wanted to keep a distance between the city and mainland.

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Yet nearly half of those surveyed – 47 per cent – believed the development project would benefit both sides of the border.

Despite years of government efforts to boost the city’s innovation sector, including the establishment of the Innovation and Technology Bureau, only 44.1 per cent reckoned Hong Kong had adequate capacities to handle the project. Around one third described Hong Kong as “in between” in its readiness, and 15 per cent said it was not.