New head of Hong Kong industries body says innovation and technology is key to city's growth

Progress has stagnated and HK industries need to be transformed, says head of trade body

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 July, 2015, 3:15am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 July, 2015, 3:15am

Hong Kong's industries should be upgraded and transformed through innovation and technology, said Daniel Cheng Man-chung, the newly elected chairman of the Federation of Hong Kong Industries (FHKI).

"Hong Kong's technological progress has stagnated," he told the media yesterday after he was elected to head the organisation that is one of the city's biggest trade bodies.

Cheng, an engineer by training, is managing director of Dunwell Group, an environmental technology company that specialises in used oil recycling and industrial wastewater treatment.

Formerly deputy chairman of FHKI, Cheng succeeds Stanley Lau Chin-ho, who finished his two-year term this month.

"Innovation and technology is seen as one of the most important sectors in economies worldwide to spearhead economic progress," said Cheng.

He rued the fact Hong Kong was no longer the technology leader in Asia, noting the city had been eclipsed by its more advanced neighbours.

"It is therefore vital for Hong Kong to foster the growth of innovation and technology and help them to connect with traditional industries to make possible symbiotic growth," Cheng said.

He cited e-commerce as an effective way to tap into the mainland Chinese market by some Hong Kong industrialists who found it difficult to open a bricks-and-mortar outlet on the mainland, given the rising entry thresholds and the differences in consumption habits.

He believed the creation of an innovation and technology bureau was crucial to the city's industrial development, saying the proposed bureau could provide urgently-needed guidance for the city's manufacturers.

The environmental specialist also urged Hong Kong enterprises to adopt greener production methods.

He said FHKI would help member enterprises "go green" by offering more services related to environmental protection.

"The environmental industry has high technology content and is a very creative sector … Green advocacy will continue to be one of the focus areas in FHKI's work," he said.

Cheng serves in many other associations and government committees. He is founding president of the Hong Kong Environmental Industry Association, and board member of the Business Environment Council.

He advises on environmental protection policy and development in Hong Kong.

Last year Cheng was inducted into the "Hall of Fame" by the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. The 22 inductees of the 2014 group were selected, from 25,000 engineer alumni of the past 75 years, based on their achievements and contributions to the community and to the global market.