In addition, we need to shift our funding focus from basic scientific research to engineering and application projects--more commercially viable products are likely to come from these.
To drive innovation, the TCB can encourage more IP rights and patent-related activities. Besides buying and selling, IP rights owners can leverage IP rights to develop partnership and form joint ventures. These activities can expand the community of developers owning IP rights and expedite the product commercialization process.
What top issues should the TCB and mainland authorities work together?
Stephen Lau: Cloud. While China already has its own cloud cities, Hong Kong must build its own cloud and work with China in expanding cloud-related opportunities. For instance, an overseas vendor that wants to establish its presence in China but isn't familiar with mainland laws can have its data processing and storage in Hong Kong.
To expand local tech firms' opportunities in China, the bureau should explore how it can collaborate with cities in Guangdong and the Pearl River Delta.
GL: Mutual recognition of IT certifications. To work on mainland government projects, tech pros are required to obtain various IT certifications in the country, but Hong Kong tech pros have global certifications such as those by the PMI (Project Management Institute) rather than those from the mainland. In view of this, the TCB needs to work with mainland authorities on mutual recognition of certifications--our tech pros will then have more opportunities in China.
The bureau can also work with China to take mainland IT standards to the global stage. For a standard to become recognized globally, it has to be comprehensive with a large adopter base. China has already developed many comprehensive technology standards. If Hong Kong adopts these standards and adds value to them with intellectual property protections--this is what we are good at--we can mutually benefit each other.
KW: To encourage tech-related business activities between Hong Kong and China, government officials from both places need to remove some of the barriers resulting from regulatory differences.
Both China and Hong Kong should also create programs to attract and foster business activities. Discussion and implementation related to this wasn't possible before because there was no senior Hong Kong government official familiar with technology.Now with the TCB and a bureau chief supposedly with a tech background, things can move a lot faster.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.