Virtual reality booth showing Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge among expo attractions aiming to boost interest in innovation and tech

Exhibition organised by think tank founded by former city leader echoes government’s push to lure young people to industry

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 September, 2018, 5:00pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 September, 2018, 4:11pm

A virtual reality booth at a Hong Kong exhibition meant to encourage young people to take up officials’ call to enter the technology sector will offer a 360-degree panoramic preview of a multibillion-dollar bridge linking the city with Zhuhai and Macau.

Visitors to the InnoTech Expo can also see a model of the Great Wall in Beijing to understand what techniques ancient artisans used to build the 21,196km series of fortifications in northern China. Early construction of the world-famous wall ran from 771 to 221BC. The model is built at a ratio of 1 to 250,000.

Exhibition organisers Our Hong Kong Foundation, a think tank founded by former Hong Kong leader Tung Chee-hwa, said they wanted to help visitors appreciate the country’s significant scientific advancements.

Foundation executive director Eva Cheng Li Kam-fun voiced optimism that young people could be inspired by the 10-day event, which kicks off on September 23 at the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai.

“There is so much more that they can achieve and participate in amid this new wave of technology and scientific innovations,” she said.

Cheng expected more than 114,000 visitors, exceeding last year’s figures.

The expo, expected to cost more than HK$20 million, will feature three major themes: engineering, agriculture and medicine. More than 160 exhibits are slated, up 20 per cent from last year, she added.

There will be a zone showcasing the city’s award-winning inventions and scientific research, including a portable electric vehicle charger kit system and robotic fingers for musical accompaniment.

Hong Kong is racing to develop its innovation and technology sector to drive economic growth. The city this year allocated HK$50 billion (US$6.37 billion) to boost the industry.

President Xi Jinping has also pledged to make Hong Kong an international innovation hub. Tung is now a vice-chairman of China’s top advisory body, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

Meanwhile, expo advisory group head Professor Tsui Lap-chee believed Hong Kong’s technological development had entered a “golden era”.

New bids to boost IT sector will help but task uphill, experts say

The founding president of the Hong Kong Academy of Sciences said he hoped more young people could study science, mathematics and engineering at university to sustain the city’s supply of talent.

Tsui called on the government to double its funding for university research to HK$2 billion and suggested the institutions increase their number of research positions for doctorate holders. He also urged universities to allow some academics who focus exclusively on research without holding any teaching responsibilities to help cultivate scientific talent.