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Semiconductor chips on a circuit board of a computer. Hong Kong start-ups could provide China an answer to its semiconductor supply issues if the innovation and technology sector receives the right kind of government support. Photo: Reuters

LettersAmid US-China tension over chips, Hong Kong start-ups have a role to play

  • Readers discuss how Hong Kong can help solve China’s chip supply issues, the possibility of including permanent residents in Greater Bay Area opportunities, the meagre wage increase for foreign domestic workers, and the need for data on bus shelters
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The rivalry between China and the United States in the trade and technology sectors is intensifying. US President Joe Biden has just signed an executive order to boost biomanufacturing and biotechnology to compete with China. It is expected that the US and other countries will impose sanctions and trade prohibitions on China’s hi-tech goods, materials and technology.
Amid Sino-US geopolitical tensions, Hong Kong should make good use of its competitive edge to provide a solution to China’s chip supply issues. According to an online survey conducted by InvestHK in 2021, there were more than 3,700 start-ups in Hong Kong, many of which are biotechnology and social innovation start-ups. To win the race in chips, it is important to create start-ups in this area.

According to research by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council in 2020, start-up entrepreneurs are generally satisfied with the funding support provided by the government but feel there is a lack of capital investment from the private sector. At the Angel Investment Foundation, we are dedicated to providing subsidy programmes and interest-free business start-up loans to support entrepreneurs in transforming their ideas into concrete plans.

The semiconductor industry needs a continuous injection of funds. The authorities should consider including the design and research of chips in the innovation and technology development plan and provide seed funding for entrepreneurs to commercialise their research outcomes. This would not only encourage innovation but also echoes our national policy.

Hong Kong ‘should fill tech void in China in bid to be country’s global I&T hub’

Hong Kong has always been a hub for internationally renowned enterprises to set up their regional offices. Tech companies in the chips industry would gain access to a market of more than 7 million consumers and a base for rapid prototyping and high-end manufacturing in Greater Bay Area cities through Hong Kong.

We should continue to be a “super connector”, synergise our research capabilities and bring people together with other Greater Bay Area cities.

Jacky Ng, vice-chairman, Angel Investment Foundation

Allow permanent residents easy access to Greater Bay Area

Recently, Hong Kong government officials have been touting the attractions of the Greater Bay Area to the Hong Kong business community and young talent. But unlike British National (Overseas) passports holders, who qualify for settlement in the United Kingdom without much hassle, some Hong Kong permanent residents of non-Chinese descent cannot even set foot in the Greater Bay Area on the mainland without obtaining a mainland visa, which costs upwards of US$100 for multiple visits.

Some of these permanent residents were born in Hong Kong or have lived here for decades and call Hong Kong their home. Even so, they are excluded from Greater Bay Area opportunities without a China visa despite residing in the same country.

This is a travesty since even President Xi Jinping has given his blessing to Hong Kong residents, especially young talent, to explore opportunities in the Greater Bay Area. Perhaps Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu should use his first policy address to commit to addressing this matter with his mainland counterparts so that all permanent residents could have visa-free access to all parts of the Greater Bay Area regardless of their nationality.
The prospect of easy access to the Greater Bay Area could even boost the flow of overseas talent to Hong Kong. Once the border between the mainland and Hong Kong reopens fully and without Covid-19 restrictions in the future, the Greater Bay Area should be inclusive for all permanent residents.

Joseph Fan, Ma On Shan

Domestic workers need more pay and protection

I am writing to express my views on the minimum monthly salary for foreign domestic workers being raised by only HK$100 (US$13), as well as the calls to increase their food allowance and to reduce working hours.
The HK$100 pay rise is an insult to domestic workers. They make a massive contribution to thousands of families, taking care of children and the elderly and doing housework. Without them, many families would not be able to have two members working outside the home.

In addition, I support the increase in food allowance for domestic workers. Nowadays, inflation is a global problem. If the food allowance doesn’t rise accordingly, domestic workers will have to compromise on the quality of their food and their health will deteriorate.

Furthermore, I agree the working hours of domestic workers should be regulated. In reality, many of them work more than 12 hours a day. We should also pay attention to their mental health.

I hope the Labour Department will fine-tune the salary and working hours of domestic workers, as well as raise their food allowance. We need to do better in protecting the rights of these workers.

Petrina So, Kwai Chung

Release data to aid bus passengers

I refer to the letter, “More coordination needed to make taking a bus enjoyable” ( October 8) complaining about the distance between a KMB bus stop and a bus shelter in Tai Po, which is actually a rain shelter built by the Tai Po district council through the District Minor Works Programme. I have been communicating with the council regarding another rain shelter in the area 10 metres away from a minibus stop. Patrick Mo Ka-chun, chairman of the council, has inspected the site and asked that the minibus stop be relocated.
In fact, there are 608 rain shelters in Hong Kong. I urge the government to release the geospatial data of the bus and minibus stops and rain shelters through so similar cases can be identified and rain shelters can benefit bus and minibus passengers.

Simon Wang, Kowloon Tong