New chairman at Hong Kong Science and Technology Park looks to build up management and spruce up facilities

Sunny Chai to spend big from HK$50 billion government injection, intended to help Pak Shek Kok site spearhead city’s IT ambitions

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 15 August, 2018, 6:59pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 August, 2018, 11:35pm

The new chairman of Hong Kong’s IT hub has prioritised building “a solidified management team” for a number of huge projects on its plate, while spending 30 per cent of HK$10 billion (US$1.3 billion) in government cash refurbishing its shabby facilities.

Sunny Chai Ngai-chiu said on Wednesday that building the team was the No 1 priority following a shake-up in which eight professionals from big data, biotechnology, academia and venture capital joined the board of the government-owned Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation.

Chai replaced Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fun at the head of the corporation on July 1.

He said the park at Pak Shek Kok would carefully position itself in the “Greater Bay Area”, after a Hong Kong government grant of HK$50 billion to spearhead the city’s IT ambitions. The Greater Bay Area is the central government’s plan to integrate Hong Kong, Macau and nine cities in Guangdong province into an innovation and technology hub.

“Personnel stability is my No 1 priority, which is like sailing in a race that needs a team of sailors with different roles and every role is important no matter how small it is,” Chai said.

Chai is no stranger to the park, having been a board member for four years. He said he would give managers as much space to work as possible.

“As I take up a different role now, I hope the transition will be smooth, as the style of the two chairpersons is different,” Chai said. “I am not into micromanagement, but I am here to help if the management needs me.”

It is understood that Law was forced out by Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor after Lam averted a diplomatic row with Sweden over Law’s supposed interference in academic research last year. Law denied the interference.

Chai said the corporation would spend HK$3 billion improving transport to and from the park and renovating some of its buildings, which were built 14 years ago.

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A tenant at one of the older buildings showed the Post leaking windows, causing repeated water stains. He said rain water flooded the office on his first day at the site about two years ago. He quoted management as saying the leakage could not be fixed.

Chai said another HK$7 billion would be spent supporting start-ups and partners at the park. Over five years, he said, the park wanted to grow the number of incubators to 500, from the current 268.

The spending is on top of HK$20 billion investment in the new Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park at Hong Kong’s border with mainland China, and HK$10 billion funding for world-class research institutes or tech enterprises doing research in biotechnology, artificial intelligence and robotics technologies at the park.