How smart planning helps Hong Kong attract talent EJINSIGHT


Cities around the world compete for talent, as does Hong Kong. Chief executive John Lee said Hong Kong needs to find high-quality talent, especially in the IT and medical sectors, as well as other high-end industries, by being more proactive in seeking talent overseas and on the mainland, and he pointed out the government valued local talents. However, if the income and prospects are not competitive enough, especially with exorbitant accommodation costs, how can we attract high quality local and foreign talent to work in these industries?

For top DSE graduates, studying medicine to become a doctor is the dominant choice in Hong Kong, as the starting salary is a few times that of an average college graduate. A much better prospect of being a doctor is also a norm.

However, in mainland China, the preferred majors of top scorers in the National College Entrance Examination (NCEE or Gaokao) are very different. According to a website specializing in university rankings in China, in the past 10 years, from 2007 to 2016, a total of 837 students obtained the highest grades, studying medicine is not among their top 10 choices.

The business administration major is the most favored by top students in Gaokao, with 236 students or 28% choosing the subject. 200 high flyers chose the second place economy. There were 47 top students majoring in electronic information, ranking third. Law, being one of the popular majors in Hong Kong, ranked sixth among Chinese top scorers, with Mathematics and Biological Sciences in seventh place and Computer Science and Technology in ninth place. Medicine is ranked thirteenth with only 12 top contenders in 10 years.

Although the Hong Kong government has invested more than HK$100 billion in recent years, Hong Kong’s innovation and technology industry only accounts for 1% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020, while financial services, trade and logistics accounted for 20% respectively.

To attract the best local students to study subjects related to computer science, medicine (being a researcher instead of a practitioner) or high-end industries, the government must drive a step change in order to strengthen the ecosystem. and make Hong Kong a livable city. full of quality job opportunities.

A quick way to do this is to encourage tech giants from China and overseas to move their headquarters to Hong Kong. This would help create a favorable business environment for technology companies and startups, while providing new employment opportunities for local and foreign talent.

The US city of Austin provides a useful model. It cemented its position as a tech hub after successfully luring software giant Oracle to move its headquarters from California. The city is now home to secondary offices for many of the biggest tech companies, including Apple, Google, Amazon, Meta and SpaceX. Shanghai and Boston have also introduced large companies and research institutes to create an environment conducive to the development of startups and local industries.

But at the moment, Hong Kong is not ready because being a vibrant tech hub requires not only manpower but also other supports, such as enough land for development.

The Northern Metropolis can serve as a turning point thanks to the integration with Shenzhen. With the mainland’s large investments in IT, an abundant digital workforce in the Greater Bay Area (GBA), and Shenzhen’s strength in the digital economy which has contributed over 30% of China’s GDP the city last year, we are able to perfect the industrial chain and regularize the implementation of scientific research. Integration can also unleash GBA’s potential, while Hong Kong’s financial and professional services can have much more room for development.

To ensure optimization of the strategic importance of the North Metropolis, intelligent planning is essential.

On the one hand, the territory must support diversified industrial development. For the IT sector, there will be the San Tin technology park, with nearby Nanshan and Shenzhen IT zones. This triangle of technology hubs will facilitate the growth of an interregional ecosystem. Moreover, the logistics industry, now scattered over the New Territories, can be consolidated and modernized thanks to better urban planning.

On the other hand, the government expects the area to offer more than 900,000 residential units, accommodating about 2.5 million people, or a third of the current population. This stabilizes or even lowers real estate prices. By applying the Transit Oriented Development (TOD) model of integrating mixed land use as well as transportation, residents will be able to move more easily to and around the area. At the same time, we can also find a better balance between sustainability and development.

To manage such a complex and mega project, we need a powerful tool to ensure greater coordination efficiency both externally and internally, more efficient management of information flows and greater transparency to predict and reduce project risks. As initiated by the Legislative Council’s Smart Living Promotion Group, the use of advanced technologies such as geospatial information system (GIS) can help integrate, consolidate and analyze spatial data for empowering decision-making. enlightened. Moreover, building a single data platform called Common Geospatial Information System Platform (CGISP) for all project stakeholders will be the best possible solution. Large-scale infrastructure projects in Hong Kong and overseas, such as the recently opened Crossrail or the Elizabeth Line in the UK, are practical examples of how CGISP can facilitate planning, construction, monitoring and maintenance.

Through strategic development and the adoption of cutting-edge technologies, Hong Kong is paving the way for a world-class smart city, characterized by a talent pool and a robust economy. We are going to face many new challenges and that is why CGISP is such a good tool because it promotes information sharing and communications, thus enabling collaboration. Similarly, the creation of the Policy Research Center for Innovation and Technology (PReCIT) by Hong Kong Polytechnic University could serve as a leading think tank for policies related to innovation and technology. technology. The university-level interdisciplinary research center aims to bring together experts like the August event with the theme “Planning, territory and housing for innovation and technology talents” which covered a wide range of important topics, including how to transform Hong Kong into an international talent hub, how to balance economy and environmental protection, and more. All of these are crucial to our development as a smart city. By facilitating collaboration and the exchange of viewpoints from various disciplines that guide its research effort, PReCIT can answer key societal questions. Together we can build a more livable city in Hong Kong.

— Contact us at [email protected]

Dr. Winnie Tang, Professor Christopher Chao

Dr. Winnie Tang is founder and honorary president of the Smart City Consortium. Professor Christopher Chao is Vice President (Research and Innovation) and Director of the Policy Research Center for Innovation and Technology at Hong Kong Polytechnic University.


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