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Hong Kong innovators

China minister tells young Hong Kong entrepreneurs to seize mainland opportunities

Science and technology minister Wan Gang met with a group of young entrepreneurs and students after an innovation and technology expo in Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 24 September, 2017, 9:02pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 24 September, 2017, 10:50pm

China’s science and technology minister Wan Gang has told Hong Kong’s young entrepreneurs to seize opportunities on the mainland, saying that entrepreneurs from both sides of the border can learn from each other.

Wan, who is also vice-chairman of political advisory body the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, was in Hong Kong on Sunday to attend an innovation and technology exhibition held by Our Hong Kong Foundation.

After the event, he met with a group of young entrepreneurs and students and encouraged them to learn more about the opportunities the mainland has to offer.

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“When I was here two years ago, I talked to [former Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa] and I said: ‘You must let young entrepreneurs in Hong Kong understand the innovation and entrepreneurship situations in the mainland’,” he said at the meeting.

He added that the Belt and Road and Greater Bay Area initiatives would bring entrepreneurs in Hong Kong and the mainland closer together. The Belt and Road initiative is China’s global trade strategy, while the Greater Bay Area initiative is a plan to foster cooperation and development between Hong Kong, Macau and Guangdong province.

The minister said it is important to encourage young people to become entrepreneurs because there are 7.5 million to 8 million university graduates on the mainland every year. If they set up businesses, it means they are creating job opportunities for others, he said.

He told the city’s young entrepreneurs not to give up when they come across setbacks.

Speaking at the expo, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said there are eight areas where the city can work harder when it comes to innovation and technology, including spending more resources; reviewing established laws and regulations; and enhancing science education at schools.

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“Some of the works have already started. For example, the government has already picked several innovation and technology fields to focus on. That includes biomedicine technology, smart city and robot technologies,” she said.

She also said that her government places a lot of emphasis on economic development. Only when Hong Kong sees high economic growth will the city have the capacity to improve people’s livelihood.

“In the past few months, I have been learning and consulting different experts. I have visited overseas and mainland cities. My conclusion is: innovation and technology will provide a huge force for Hong Kong’s economy to grow,” she said.

Kevin Lee Ka-tsun, founder of multimedia production company Redspots Creative (Hong Kong) Company Limited, was among the young entrepreneurs in the meeting with minister Wan.

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His company has expanded into the mainland because he says the Hong Kong market is saturated.

“There are just a few television channels in Hong Kong. The channels in Hong Kong would ask you for money to broadcast programmes you have produced,” he said. “It is totally different in the mainland. They would buy your programmes and pay you an eight-digit figure.”

Jackal Chan Kin-pong, chief executive of IT company Cloudicty Limited, also said the Hong Kong market is just too small compared with the mainland market.

“But Hong Kong is a good testing ground for new IT products because Hong Kong people are willing to accept new IT products,” he added.