Since the Hong Kong SAR government's establishment of the OGCIO--and its ditching of the ITSD (Information Technology Services Department)--in 2004, many local ICT pros and startups have slammed the government's lukewarm attitude towards the industry's development.
While innovation and technology is among the pillar industries designated by the government, there isn't any sign of its development. According to various industry players CWHK talked to previously, the OGCIO is just an office rather than a policy maker unit, thus lacking the power to move the industry forward.
On top of this, employers have a hard time hiring the right tech talent because those brilliant young people are drawn to finance and other professions instead of technology--where they don't see a bright future.
As a result, the ICT industry has demanded a technology bureau for years. While Hong Kong's new ruling team was sworn into office on July 1--though not quite in its final form--many industry players expect the Technology and Communications Bureau (TCB) to go live sooner or later.
Of late, local CIOs and industry gurus (listed below) shared with CWHK their expectations of the TCB and suggestions on how the bureau could give the ICT sector a boost.
- Cally Chan, managing director, Hong Kong, HP (CC)
- Stephan Lau, president, Hong Kong Computer Society
- Sunny Lee, executive director, IT, Hong Kong Jockey Club (SL)
- Gabriel Leung, general manager, Hong Kong and Macau, EMC (GL)
- Michael Leung, senior VP and CIO, China Construction Bank (Asia) (ML)
- Prof Kam-Fai Wong, associate dean, Faculty of Engineering at Chinese University of Hong Kong (KW)
Why is the TCB important to Hong Kong?
CC: Hong Kong's economy has undergone substantial transformation in recent years. With too much focus on the development of financial and trading industries since the 1980s, Hong Kong has lost sight of what it could achieve. ICT has colossal potential in taking Hong Kong to new heights, but we need a government that understands the potential of technologies and identifies opportunities in a timely matter.--
Despite the Digital 21 strategy, the government is slow in implementing ICT changes. While there are different industry organizations, they seldom come up with initiatives that drive Hong Kong's ICT development. The TCB should be a critical enabler that facilitates and expedites Hong Kong's transformation.
ML: Hong Kong won't survive without a tech bureau that has a clear mission and a strong vision--Singapore and Malaysia have left us in the dust in terms of ICT development. To make the TCB relevant, the bureau chief must have a tech background and understand the industry's most pressing needs. The bureau must help Hong Kong and its ICT sector to catch up-- the past two GCIOs wasted us lots of time while the Digital 21 strategy helps Hong Kong achieve nothing.
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