THE Internet is a three-kilometre race - American companies have only won the first 100 metres. So said Jack Ma, head of the mainland business-to-business portal Alibaba.com last week. His words apply equally well to the whole hi-tech industry. Nevertheless, getting off to a good start is a big advantage. There is therefore no time to lose in starting the sprint to catch up. To pick the pace up, it is essential the Government plays an active role in assisting the runners by creating innovative schemes that provide all possible advantages. Professor Tien Chang-lin, the former head of the Commission on Innovation and Technology, has forecast that turning Hong Kong into a technology hub will take three to five years. That forecast could very well be a little too sanguine, given the lack of state-of-the-art electronic infrastructure and the poor - and, it often seems, decreasing - standard of English in the SAR. The hi-tech innovators and entrepreneurs need to be able to communicate in the global language just as much as they require business acumen and technical know-how. What is equally vital, however, is that the brightest and the best are attracted to Hong Kong. These are the people who will act as catalysts for new ideas, which will attract venture capital and, ultimately, create new jobs. For this reason, the Secretary for Security's announcement yesterday of details of the Admission of Talents Scheme should be welcomed and the Government is to be congratulated on its rapid response to the problem of recruiting the talent needed to spur hi-tech growth. It is right to take a pragmatic approach: if it is necessary to import such talent, then immigration rules must be changed. There are still those who fear that a no-quota system of admission for people holding the required qualifications will lead to worsening unemployment in Hong Kong. In reality, the reverse is true. Those who are highly qualified, skilled, and leaders in their fields, attract investment, and jobs are created. Undoubtedly, the scheme must be properly policed. And those details outlined by Regina Ip, which include a vetting committee and a commitment to a decision on each applicant within three weeks, seem to strike the right balance between thoroughness and efficiency. Properly administered, the scheme can bring nothing but benefit.