For Hong Kong to shine as an innovation hub it must shout its dreams to the world
- Not many people abroad know about our determination to jockey for the position of a regional technology hub
The bill on allowing enhanced tax deductions for research and development expenditure to qualified local institutions was duly passed in the Legislative Council last Wednesday. The approval was almost bipartisan, as this measure provides incentives for local companies to invest in innovation and technology. Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has pledged to raise the share of R&D expenditure in our gross domestic product to 1.5 per cent in the next five years. However, much remains to be done.
Tax advantage is just one of the factors that can foster our innovation and technology industry. Another crucial factor is talent. Hong Kong ought to make full use of its renowned international status and appeal to talent from across the globe, as well as to companies, large or small, to set up their businesses, headquarters or regional offices here. We should proactively engage international companies, institutions and governments, and tell them of our determination to develop our innovation and technology sector.
Apart from being founded on the rule of law, Hong Kong provides a light-handed business regulatory environment, and the government should strive to eliminate red tape and streamline procedures. We are a cosmopolitan city, our English proficiency connects us to the West. Only if employees are eager to move here to work and live will employers be willing to set up business here.
The point is to promote Hong Kong to the rest of the world as a high-flyer in the innovation and technology industry in about 10 to 15 years’ time. Those abroad tend to see Hong Kong as excelling only in the financial industry, and not many have a clue about our determination to jockey for the position of a regional technology hub, on which we have the backing of the central government. Only if we are able to attract talent from around the world to come here and work, will we be able to prevail and be seen as a real innovation and technology hub.
The Hong Kong government should reach out to the international community and deliver this message worldwide.
Holden Chow, Legislative Council member, DAB