Hong Kong's new Innovation and Technology Bureau to absorb two departments from commerce bureau

Two departments under the remit of commerce bureau to be reassigned

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 November, 2015, 12:01am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 November, 2015, 5:50am

Two government departments, currently under the direction of the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau, will be outsourced to the new Innovation and Technology Bureau when it launches, the commerce secretary announced yesterday.

Greg So Kam-leung told reporters that the Innovation and Technology Commission and the Office of the Chief Information Officer - two of nine government departments currently within his bureau's remit - would be reassigned after the new bureau's scheduled opening on November 20.

"As for the goal of the Innovation and Technology Bureau, I think it would be appropriate for me to leave that to the new secretary to introduce his work plan," So said.

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He added that the commerce department would continue handling policies for telecoms, broadcasting and creative industries, despite calls from the IT sector to have them also put under the new bureau's purview and said he has no concerns about a potential overlap.

"I encourage overlap. I encourage cross-sectoral development, say in start-ups, there is innovation in terms of technology as well as design and innovation," So said, adding that overlap in policy areas should be no cause for concern because inter-bureau cooperation within the government had always been "seamless".

IT sector lawmaker Charles Mok echoed So's remarks.

"Certain overlap [in policy areas] is unavoidable," Mok said.

"What matters is whether there will be good cooperation [between bureaus and departments], and strong support for innovation."

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So said the commerce bureau would now focus on four policy areas - Hong Kong's role in China's "One Belt, One Road" strategy; enhancement of Hong Kong's economic cooperation with the mainland and overseas; incorporating the city's development within Beijing's 13th five-year plan; and the development of creative industry.

The new IT bureau, meanwhile, will soon take up the responsibility of liaising with the Hong Kong Science Park, Cyberport and the Productivity Council to boost the development of the IT sector in Hong Kong.

The city is also now in talks with Asean countries to sign a free trade agreement while a new trade office will be set up in Jakarta, Indonesia, early next year, So added.