The Leung Chun-ying administration, which marks its first 100 days in office tomorrow, should boost industries with growth potential, says a government-appointed panel on Hong Kong's economic development strategy.
David Wong Yau-kar, a member of the Preparatory Taskforce on the Economic Development Commission, said the government should consider setting up special funds to invest in such emerging industries. "It's not necessary for those funds to follow the model of sovereign wealth funds in some overseas countries," said Wong. "But we need some innovative ideas to boost new industries."
A proposed fourth industrial estate, being deliberated by the administration, should also target emerging industries with growth potential. "Premises in the new estate could be provided for these industries," he said.
The taskforce was set up at the end of June to advise the government on setting up the Economic Development Commission, which will in turn help draw up an economic development strategy and industry policy.
Wong, former president of the Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong, said the taskforce had held four meetings since its establishment and the commission was expected to be formed by the end of the year.
"Taskforce members note that there are some long-standing problems with Hong Kong's economy, such as an over-reliance on property and financial services," he said. "We should boost the development of value-added industries."
The taskforce recommends setting up four working groups under the commission - transport; conventions, exhibitions and tourism; manufacturing, innovative technology, cultural and creative industries; and professional services.
Wong told the Sunday Morning Post that previous administrations had reservations about taking a bigger role in economic development.
"There is a need to change the government's mindset. I believe the current administration will adopt a more proactive approach in promoting industries with growth potential," he said.
Leung said during his chief executive campaign that Hong Kong could draw from the experience of Taiwan's Council for Economic Planning and Development and Singapore's Economic Development Board.
He added that Hong Kong's economy, regarded as one of the world's freest, could be improved by the government taking a more proactive and positive role.
He said at the time that the government should act as the "market facilitator". This could be achieved by, for example, a strategic investment agency to make initial investments in emerging industries that could help Hong Kong's long-term development.