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Speech by Mr Victor Lam, JP, Government Chief Information Officer, at the Award Ceremony of the Huawei ICT Competition Hong Kong SAR 2021-2022 (with photos)

Jerry (Jerry Ji, Managing Director, Hong Kong & Macao Enterprise Business Group, Huawei Hong Kong Representative Office), Eric (Eric Chan, Chief Public Mission Officer of Cyberport), Mr Liu (Mr Liu Zhiming, General Manager of the Beijing-Hong Kong Exchange of Personnel Centre Ltd.), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

Good afternoon! It is my honour to join you all at the Award Ceremony of the Huawei ICT Competition – Hong Kong SAR 2021-2022. I must first thank Huawei for organising the competition as well as this ceremony amidst the prolonged pandemic. Huawei well deserves our sincere appreciation for its excellent job in making the competition a highlight event for our younger generation. The competition has presented our young people with an opportunity to unleash their potential, realise their innovative ideas and fulfil their entrepreneurship aspiration.

As a government with vision, we attach high priority to nurturing innovation and technology (I&T) talent. Over the past four years, the Hong Kong SAR Government had invested nearly HK$130 billion (US$17 billion) in technology infrastructure, research and development, as well as in nurturing talent. It is delightful to see the growing vibrancy of Hong Kong’s I&T ecosystem. According to a study released in November , we raised 12 unicorns in Hong Kong from 2017 to 2020. Hong Kong’s determination to excel in the technology arena and the significant effort made in recent years have not gone unnoticed by the Central Government. Hong Kong has entered into a number of Memoranda of Co-operation with the Ministry of Science & Technology and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Our research projects have received national funding and joint research laboratories have been set up in the Hong Kong Science Park on top of the 16 State Key Laboratories in Hong Kong. The Central Government has given its strong support for Hong Kong to develop into an international I&T hub in the National 14th Five-Year Plan promulgated in March this year. The 2021 Policy Address announced the Northern Metropolis Development Strategy, which is strategically planned to provide the spatial capacity and policy direction for Hong Kong to continue to flourish both socially and economically, especially in integrating into the national development. The Northern Metropolis with its focus on I&T, together with the Harbour Metropolis, will be the twin engines for Hong Kong’s economic growth in future.

Talent is the key to I&T development. In the post COVID-19 digital era, I&T also plays a vital role in economic recovery as well as supporting people’s daily lives. The demand for I&T talent across sectors of the community is ever-increasing. Our younger generation needs to build up a solid foundation as early as possible. To this end, we launched the three-year “IT Innovation Lab in Secondary Schools” Programme to provide a funding support of up to $1 million for each publicly funded secondary school to organise IT related extra-curricular activities and procure necessary IT equipment and professional services to support the activities. The Programme has been open for application since last December. In view of the overwhelming response, we have further allocated an additional $200 million to extend the programme to some 500 publicly-funded primary schools under a new three-year “Knowing More About IT” Programme. Starting from the current school year (2021/22), a maximum grant of $400,000 will be provided to each publicly-funded primary school for organising IT related extra-curricular activities. So far we have received applications from around 300 secondary schools and 80 primary schools respectively. Both programmes are implemented to stimulate our young people’s interest in IT and enhance their IT knowledge. In the tertiary education area, the Hong Kong SAR Government has regularised the STEM Internship Scheme to provide university students enrolling STEM subjects with an internship. The scheme has enabled the interns to get in touch with state-of-the-art applications and technologies beyond the school syllabus, and to experience the practical working environment and strengths of the I&T industry, which would be beneficial to their career development after graduation.

Last but not least, the cultivation of I&T talent does require the joint efforts of all stakeholders. I would like to encourage all participating students and teachers to continue to actively participate in I&T activities, inspire your innovative thinking, and develop more innovative ideas for cross-fertilisation. By leveraging innovative technology, I am sure we can build a smarter city and enhance the sustainable development of Hong Kong together.

Thank you.