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Financial Secretary


Channelling Capital to Expedite the Development of the Innovation and Technology Ecosystem

Technological transformation and innovative applications create not only new markets, but also new room for growth. Artificial intelligence (AI) now reaching an exciting stage of development. Text, images, sounds and other information can be converted highly efficiently, and “decision intelligence” trained through algorithms is advancing at a breathtaking pace. They present vast opportunities to be discovered. That said, even the most powerful technology needs the right application scenarios. Through providing solutions to real-life pain points and offering new experiences to people, the value of technology can be fully unleashed.

One objective of the Hong Kong Investment Corporation Limited (HKIC) at its first stage of work is to assist in building a vibrant innovation and technology (I&T) ecosystem, and promote effective collaboration between tech enterprises and the industry, thereby providing a more favourable environment for value creation. The HKIC seeks to channel capital and leverage market resources to draw a bigger pool of promising technology enterprises and talent, with a view to propelling more in-depth collaboration among strategic industries.

After in-depth study and careful strategic consideration, the HKIC will sign a strategic partnership agreement with a tech unicorn (i.e. a start-up with a market valuation of over US$1 billion) founded in Hong Kong this Wednesday. The unicorn is primarily engaged in the development of AI large language models (LLMs) and smart manufacturing for the industrial sector. The agreement will cover, among other things, expansion of research and development investment as well as training of talent, and promoting the use of AI LLMs in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, so as to promote the digital transformation and intelligentisation in the region.

AI application in the industrial field has been relatively scattered. It is also difficult to replicate technologies among different industries. This has become a pain point. Yet, the efficient learning and standardised LLM systems have allowed technologies to be adjusted swiftly to adapt and match the different needs of various industries. These “digital-intelligent workers” not only could take over tedious and repetitive processes, but also manage high-precision processes in mass production which cannot be matched by human labour.

As the number of HKIC’s partners increases gradually, Hong Kong-based tech enterprises with expanding local investments will also grow in numbers. It is clear that Hong Kong’s I&T ecosystem will become more vibrant, and its clustering effect more prominent. We believe more good news from HKIC is on the way.

In recent years, we have invested heavily in the development of I&T, and made good progress. For tech unicorns, those operating in the Hong Kong Science Park are engaged in life and health technologies, AI, robotics, intelligent driving, smart logistics, etc. Those nurtured and supported by Cyberport are in the fields of digital economy and fintech. The total market valuation of these unicorns is in tens of billions of US dollars.

We look forward to having more locally-nurtured I&T enterprises to become unicorns. We will also actively attract more start-ups to set up operations in Hong Kong, and encourage more young people to start their own businesses. According to InvestHK’s 2023 Startup Survey, the number of start-ups in Hong Kong exceeded 4,250 last year, representing a year-on-year increase of about 7%, of which about 20% of the founders were from Europe, the US, etc. The convergence of people with diverse backgrounds and visions will add impetus to Hong Kong’s start-up ecosystem and promote a more virtuous development cycle.

By harnessing different approaches and policy tools, we hope to catalyse new industries, new models and new momentum for the economy. By developing new quality productive forces according to local conditions, we are on the way to achieve high-quality economic development in Hong Kong.

June 9, 2024

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