Ex-security chief to promote hi-tech sector as she considers Legco candidacy Former security chief Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee has ruled out forming a political party in the short term and will focus on running her new think-tank. She said the Savantas Policy Institute, launched last month, was busy recruiting support staff and policy analysts. 'I am unable to run a political party in the short term,' she said, without ruling out the possibility in the future. She also said that Hong Kong's robust and improving economy had made it easier to form think-tanks and nurture political talent. 'The unemployment rate has dropped and issues can be discussed more rationally,' Mrs Ip said. 'The middle class and Chinese overseas returnees would like to have platforms to express their views on social issues. This fosters the establishment of think-tanks.' She cited the Civic Party as a recent successful example of a new party, and the Bauhinia Foundation Research Centre, set up last year by former officials close to the chief executive, as an example of a new think-tank. There were also the Hong Kong Development Forum, the One Country Two Systems Research Institute, the Better Hong Kong Foundation and Christine Loh Kung-wai's Civic Exchange and Roundtable, which caters to younger professionals. Mrs Ip said previously she would not run for chief executive in next year's election but had not decided whether to run in the Legislative Council election in 2008. She would not say whether she would transform her institute into a political organ. She has raised several million dollars but declined to give details on an exact amount or who donated the money. Earlier, she disclosed an annual budget of HK$4 million for the institute. Asked if, as rumoured, Wheelock tycoon Peter Woo Kwong-ching was a donor, Mrs Ip said she would not comment on individuals. She said she would like Savantas to have more input on Hong Kong's economic transformation, and that Savantas would focus on the application of high technology. 'Singapore and Taiwan quickly recovered from the [Asian] economic crisis as they have niches in biochemical development and semiconductors,' Mrs Ip said. Hong Kong needed to provide hi-tech products and valued-added services, she said. Among initiatives will be Savantas' participation in a forum run by the Trade Development Council and Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks on Radio Frequency Identification, adopted by the Octopus card system. Mrs Ip said she hoped to see the technology extended to the logistics industry. Her institute would also work with the State Council's Development Research Centre, which would hold training courses for certification of financial analysts focusing on the mainland economy and companies.