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Opening Remarks by Ir Tony Wong, JP, Government Chief Information Officer, at the “Elite Innovators Forum of the Digital Economy Summit 2024” (with photos)

李部長(華為公共事業系統部部長李俊風先生), Anna (Ms Anna LIN, Chief Executive of GS1 Hong Kong), distinguished speakers and guests, ladies and gentlemen,

Good afternoon and a warm welcome again to the “Elite Innovators Forum” of the Digital Economy Summit 2024! It is indeed my great pleasure to join our audience of elite innovators who are at the forefront of driving digital transformation. Today’s Forum provides an excellent environment where we can share knowledge, experiences and insights. It is through such collaboration that new ideas are sparked, boundaries are pushed and meaningful change is driven.

Nowadays, with innovation and technology (I&T) emerging as a key engine driving global economy and society towards high‑quality development, the continuous and rapid advancement of cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), big data analytics, blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT), have created an unprecedentedly heightened demand for top-notch I&T talent. Hong Kong, like many other countries, fully recognises the pressing need to nurture a pool of skilled I&T talent capable of effectively leveraging these emerging technologies. With numerous major I&T projects and infrastructures in the pipeline in coming years, coupled with our vision to develop Hong Kong into an International I&T Centre, the Hong Kong SAR Government is committed to continuously stepping up our efforts in enlarging our I&T talent pool.

Over the years, we have been taking a multi-pronged approach to nurture, attract and retain I&T talent. We have provided funding and training support through various talent admission schemes for local universities, enterprises and institutions in recruiting internationally renowned I&T scholars and graduates to come to Hong Kong for teaching and research activities. We also launched the STEM Internship Scheme to encourage STEM students, including those studying in local and non-local universities such as the Greater Bay Area to gain I&T-related work experience during their studies and to foster their interest in pursuing a career in I&T locally after graduation. To further cultivate our local primary and secondary students’ interest in IT and enhance their innovative thinking, we have launched the “IT Innovation Lab in Schools” Programme to promote IT learning and extracurricular activities for primary and secondary school students, with overwhelming responses from schools and industry stakeholders.

We strongly believe that it is important to create an atmosphere and environment for our I&T talent to apply, experiment and showcase their skills and creativity for further professional advancement. We have been organising the “Hong Kong Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Awards” since 2006. We have also taken up an active role to assist our award winners to participate in regional and international competitions so that they can gain wider exposure and benchmark their innovations against international standards.

Being fully aware of the infinite potential brought about by data and the cooperation opportunities between Hong Kong and Shanghai in data applications, we jointly organised the “Hong Kong/Shanghai Co-operation Open Data Challenge” last year and we will continue the cooperation this year. I am pleased to announce that this year’s edition is about to kick-start at this Forum later. I look forward to witnessing more innovative open data applications for the better development of new economy in the two cities. I would also like to take this opportunity to commend the commitment of GS1 Hong Kong in organising the IOT Data Hackathon to bring together young innovators and data enthusiasts to harness the power of IoT data for tackling the challenges in the real business world. As the Award Presentation Ceremony is also about to commence soon, I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to all the winners for your remarkable achievements and dedication to excellence.

The Hong Kong SAR Government will continue to collaborate with the local, regional and global I&T community to enhance the overall quality of our local I&T talent pool with the ultimate goal of driving high-quality economic development and societal progress. Thank you, and I wish you all a rewarding afternoon!

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