Hong Kong 2003
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Promotion of Innovation and Technology

Innovation and Technology Commission

To promote the development of innovation and technology, the Innovation and Technology Commission (ITC) under the Communications and Technology Branch is tasked with the mission of spearheading Hong Kong's drive to become a world-class, knowledge-based economy. The commission formulates and implements policies and measures to promote innovation and technology; supports applied research, technology transfer and application; promotes technological entrepreneurship; facilitates the provision of technology infrastructure and development of human resources; and promotes internationally accepted standards and conformity assessment services to underpin technological development and international trade. The commission works closely with its partners in the Government, industry, business, tertiary education institutions and industrial support organisations.

To make Hong Kong a regional centre for innovation and technology, the Government has been implementing various initiatives to drive forward innovation and technology. It offers a range of infrastructure and funding support for applied research and development activities.

Council of Advisors on Innovation and Technology

The Council of Advisors on Innovation and Technology (CAIT) is a high-level standing advisory body reporting directly to the Chief Executive. Its role is to advise and make recommendations to the Chief Executive on matters relating to innovation and technology so as to optimise their contributions to Hong Kong's economic development.

The CAIT comprises a total of 17 members; 15 of them are non-official members mainly from the business and academic sectors, either locally or externally. All are experts in their respective fields covering finance, economics, electronic engineering as well as telecommunications technology and services. Two Special Advisors, renowned in their fields, have also been appointed to provide expert advice to the council.

Innovation and Technology Fund

The $5 billion Innovation and Technology Fund supports projects that will help upgrade the technology level and promote innovation in the manufacturing and service industries. By year-end, the fund had provided financial support of some $1,432 million to 506 projects undertaken by industrial support bodies, trade and industry associations, higher education institutions, professional bodies and locally incorporated companies.

Promoting Technological Entrepreneurship

Major efforts have been made to promote technological entrepreneurship. A $750 million Applied Research Fund was established in March 1998, replacing two previous schemes to provide equity finance for technology ventures in the private sector. In November 1998, private venture capital firms were appointed as managers for the fund. Besides selecting technological ventures for investment, the venture capital firms provide management and networking advice to the investee companies. By year-end, $382 million in financial support had been provided to 23 companies through these fund managers.

Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute Company Limited

The publicly funded Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute Company Limited (ASTRI) has been in operation since September 2001. It performs relevant and high quality research and development for transfer to industry for commercialisation with a view to upgrading the technology level of industry and stimulating the growth of technology-based industry in Hong Kong. The ASTRI's current research programmes focus on photonic technologies, integrated circuit design, wireless communications, Internet software and biotechnology.

Hong Kong Jockey Club Institute of Chinese Medicine Limited

The Hong Kong Jockey Club Institute of Chinese Medicine Limited (HKJCICM), incorporated in May 2001 as a subsidiary company of the ASTRI, will take forward the vision to position Hong Kong as a world centre for the development of health food and pharmaceuticals based on Chinese medicine. Its mission is to spearhead the development of Chinese medicine as a high value-added industry for Hong Kong through promotion and coordination of related activities and strategic support for scientific and evidence-based development programmes. The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust has pledged to donate $500 million to support the HKJCICM's research and development programmes. The institute has set its programme directions to steer Chinese medicine development embracing standardisation, technology and product development, safety appraisal and evidence-based clinical studies.

Hong Kong Design Centre

The establishment of the Hong Kong Design Centre (HKDC) was proposed by four leading design professional bodies in Hong Kong with a view to promoting the design industry and its competitiveness in the region as a service industry. With a grant and support from the Government, and a donation from the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, the HKDC commenced operation in September 2002. It is a multi-disciplinary design centre which aims to promote design as a value-added activity, raise design standards and foster design-related education, and raise the profile of Hong Kong as an innovative and creative hub.

Publicity and Promotional Events

The ITC organised the Hong Kong Student Science Project Competition, coordinated the State Science and Technology Awards and took the lead in coordinating Hong Kong's participation in the China Hi-Tech Fair 2003 held in Shenzhen. All these publicity and promotional events helped foster an innovation and technology culture in the community.

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