Amazon Web Services (AWS), the US-based cloud computing giant, has entered into a new strategic collaboration with Hong Kong Science Park in a move seen as a vote of confidence in the city’s role as a regional tech hub. On Monday, AWS announced a strategic partnership with operator Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corp (HKSTP) to nurture local tech professionals and help start-ups in fields such as biotechnology, artificial intelligence (AI) and software-as-a-service. The two sides agreed to launch a series of programmes, including open data initiatives and training to enable local tech firms and talent to access data sets on the AWS platforms, along with projects designed to help tech start-ups cut costs and speed up their business growth. Tech firms in InnoHK , a programme based at Hong Kong Science Park and run by the government to spur innovation, will receive the support. Hong Kong’s economy to improve if Covid remains under control: finance chief The new collaboration comes as the Hong Kong government is doubling down on efforts to make the city a magnet for global tech entrepreneurs and professionals, even though the city’s strict Covid-19 travel restrictions are impeding that ambition. A survey published last month by the FinTech Association of Hong Kong concluded that the city was considered an attractive location to build an AI or big data business because of its role as a financial hub and well-developed tech ecosystem. AWS first began working with HKSTP in 2014 to help local start-ups in the cloud business sector. “AWS is committed to supporting the digital transformation of enterprises of all scales in Hong Kong,” said Robert Wang, AWS managing director for Hong Kong and Taiwan. “We are pleased to deepen our relationship with HKSTP and jointly address the various challenges the city faces in terms of talent, innovation, and technology commercialisation.” HKSTP chief executive Albert Wong said: “This partnership combines the scale and technology expertise of AWS … as well as HKSTP’s R&D, incubation and commercialisation capabilities accumulated over the past 20 years, to accelerate the development of Hong Kong’s I&T ecosystem while firmly establishing the city’s status as a global innovation hub.” How has AWS fared in China’s cloud services market? Founded in 2001, the government-run HKSTP has been ramping up efforts to spur innovation and attract tech talent as the city competes with other hi-tech hubs in the world such as Singapore and Silicon Valley. Last year, it revamped the incubation programme and rolled out new facilities to help companies accelerate their digital transformation. HKSTP has so far attracted more than 1,000 tech companies and 500 start-ups to move onto its campus, according to the group’s chairman Sunny Chai Ngai-chiu. Hong Kong has its own distinctive advantages in attracting foreign companies, such as the low tax rate and business-friendly policies, and the collaboration with AWS can provide a more supportive and vibrant environment, according to Crystal Fok, head of STP platform at HKSTP.