The multibillion-dollar Silicon Harbour proposal by a United States-based investment bank may be scrapped if progress in discussions is not reached soon, according to the former chief of the Government's technology think-tank. Tien Chang-lin, who was chairman of the Commission on Innovation and Technology, said: 'If the Government does not take action relatively soon . . . the investors may take their money away.' The US$1.2 billion Silicon Harbour project, initiated by Hambrecht & Quest, was unveiled by Mr Tien in July together with the commission's last report to Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa. The project, which promises to add 195,000 jobs and $30 billion to gross domestic product by 2008, would concentrate on making advanced semiconductors. However, after months of discussion, the Government and Hambrecht & Quest have failed to reach agreement on concession terms. Hsu Ta-lin, chairman of H&Q Asia Pacific, Hambrecht & Quest's investment arm in Asia, has asked the Government to grant low cost land for the project and offer tax exemptions to participating manufacturers. Critics have complained that Hambrecht & Quest's proposal is a replication of the Cyber-Port project, which has drawn criticism for being granted land by the Government. Despite the controversy, Mr Tien said the Government's pace in implementing Silicon Harbour was too slow. 'Time is money,' he said. 'The longer the issue drags on, the lesser the possibility of the project being a success.' In August, Mr Hsu said that Hambrecht & Quest might drop the project if the Government's endorsement was not given by the end of the month. On Monday, Secretary for Trade and Industry Chau Tak-hay said the Government had certain reservations about the land and tax concessions sought by Hambrecht & Quest. Mr Chau said the Government was also assessing the economic impact of Silicon Harbour. He said a review of the project would be completed shortly. Other issues include US restrictions on the export of semiconductor manufacturing equipment to Hong Kong. Mr Tien said the project could also be scrapped if Hambrecht & Quest failed to receive export licences from Washington. He urged the Government to speed up the decision or face a lapse in a project he believed would be 'very good for Hong Kong'. 'Right now, Hong Kong really needs a balanced approach [in the development of high-technology industries],' he said. Mr Tien said he had asked Mr Tung to endorse the project. However, the Government appears indifferent towards the project. Director-General of Trade and Industry Francis Ho Suen-wai has said that with or without the Silicon Harbour project, the Government will still proceed with its plan to develop innovative, hi-tech industries in Hong Kong.