China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) is taking multiple measures to promote the development of science and technologies, with the planning of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) becoming a new driving force.
Hong Kong's educational circles and R&D institutions are actively grasping the opportunity to enhance cooperation with their mainland counterparts, attracting talents to lay a solid foundation for the SAR to become an international sci-tech innovation center.
Encouraging entrepreneurship in HK
The SAR has made the development of science and technology a priority and proposed various measures to facilitate it, including increasing R&D resources, assembling talents, and providing venture capital.
In less than two years, the SAR has invested about 100 billion Hong Kong dollars (about 12.8 billion U.S. dollars) in the implementation of these measures.
In 2017, it established a fund of two billion HK dollars (about 256 million U.S. dollars) to work with private venture capital funds in investing start-ups in Hong Kong.
Official data showed that there were 2,625 startups in Hong Kong in 2018, up 18 percent from the previous year. And these companies hired 9,548 employees, a year-on-year increase of 51 percent.
In March, the SAR government rolled out two new programs that will provide entrepreneurial support and starting capital to young people who want to start their own businesses in the GBA.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam said that the country's efforts to promote the development of the GBA will create great opportunities for youngsters in Hong Kong.
In the long run, she expected to build a "GBA Hong Kong youth innovation and entrepreneurship base alliance" with the support from both the Hong Kong SAR and Guangdong Province as a one-stop platform to help NGOs and a base for innovation and entrepreneurship to facilitate communication and cooperation among Hong Kong youngsters.
Closer cooperation between HK, mainland universities
There is a strong momentum of academic cooperation between the mainland and Hong Kong since the beginning of this year.
Multiple universities in Hong Kong have announced research projects in cooperation with the mainland. And a number of joint laboratories set up by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and universities in Hong Kong have been inaugurated since January.
Shenzhen's Futian district, after signing an agreement with the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) in April, will provide the latter with a research area of over 6,000 square meters to expand the HKUST Shenzhen Research Institute.
The HKUST will also set up a branch campus in Guangzhou city.
Earlier this year, the Chinese University of Hong Kong announced its plan to set up a medical school and affiliated hospital in Shenzhen.
"Colleges and universities in Hong Kong have close relations with both home and foreign institutions, which makes it easier for them to invite foreign experts to exchange ideas. If we can grasp this advantage, we will have great development in the future," said Alex Wei, vice president of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
Relevant regulations have also been accelerating the common development of scientific research between the mainland and Hong Kong, such as extending mainland scientific research funds to Hong Kong.
Hong Kong realized the importance of talents in the development of science and technology. It is not only working to attract talents from all over the world, but also trying to retain local elites in the SAR.
Currently, there are a lot of primary and middle-schools in Hong Kong that attach great importance to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education to encourage innovation among students.
At the end of 2018, the Hong Kong STEM Education League was established to enhance the leading role of science popularization education.
The league will also exploit its connections with the mainland to create more opportunities for Hong Kong students to participate in various innovation, science and technology events and hold more exchange activities between the two sides.
The SAR also plans to build talent apartments to attract and keep more innovative talents in Hong Kong.