Hong Kong Supports Businesses With I&T Solutions Funding
The Financial Secretary on 11 November 2020 announced the launch of a $1.5 billion Distance Business Programme under the Anti-epidemic Fund to support affected companies and encourage the adoption of IT solutions during this pandemic.
Relieving Economical Decline
In the previous months, Hong Kong’s economy declined due to the impact of COVID-19 with the increase in the locally transmitted cases. The city suffered from shrinkage of 8.9% in the January-to-March period, the worst quarterly downturn since 1974 compared to the previous year. The pandemic has restricted a wide range of operations, leading to an economic fallout—the sharp declines in terms of export, investment, and private consumption.
The economy is expected to bounce back as the city began lifting workplace restrictions and social gatherings. Moreover, the economic recovery observed in the Chinese mainland has also contributed to the improvement of the city.
Supporting Businesses Through I&T Initiatives
Since the Government has budgeted more than $300 billion with the sustenance of the Anti-epidemic Fund, officials considered helping companies recover their businesses by launching a $1.5 billion Distance Business Programme in adopting I&T solutions. The Financial Secretary reported that there are more than 38,000 applicants for the programme in less than six months.
In addition, the funding will also be assigned to the Public Sector Trial Scheme, which consists of the public sector research and development trials targeting COVID-19 prevention and control. The financial secretary hopes to utilize Innovation & Technology (I&T) solutions for more business opportunities for the city’s technology companies. The Government has dedicated over $100 billion to an inclusive range of I&T initiatives. It varies from infrastructure prerequisite and development for funding and talent advancement.
“And the role of I&T will become much more important, given the newly announced National 14th Five Year Plan. It puts technology at the heart of our country’s sustainable social and economic development, with innovation a key driver in quality growth. Self-reliance in science and technology will become a strategic pillar underpinning our national development.”
By strengthening the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area into an international I&T centre, this will enhance Hong Kong’s technological advancements to further develop collaboration with other cities in the bay area, particularly Shenzhen. Hong Kong will play a critical role in realizing the bay area cluster-city development goals in becoming the leading international I&T hub.
As the two research technology clusters at the Hong Kong Science Park have been attracting high-profile researchers and technology players globally, it will elevate Hong Kong’s global I&T standing. The adoption and collaboration with technological advancements were announced as an element to enhance the industry’s competitiveness.