Hong Kong should develop and promote “smart city” technology in the coming few years and utilize the human resources in the Greater Bay Area to serve the ASEAN markets, experts said in a forum on Monday.

Hong Kong has an advantage in developing information technology products related to smart-city technology as it is a metropolitan city with technological support from Shenzhen, chairman of Hong Kong Business Angel Network, Samson Tam Wai-ho, said.

He was speaking in a panel discussion on the Hong Kong-ASEAN Summit 2019, which was organized by Metro Finance and sponsored by DBS Bank (Hong Kong).

Alex Cheung Kin-sang, Managing Director, Head of Institutional Banking Group, DBS Bank (Hong Kong) Photo: Asia Times

The Hong Kong government has put a lot of effort in the development of Lok Ma Chau Loop Innovation and Technology Park, located at the border between Hong Kong and Shenzhen, George Lam, chairman of Hong Kong Cyberport Management Co Ltd, said in the same panel. The proposed new high-tech site with a size of 87 hectares will help promote the technological development in Hong Kong.

Fintech and smart city technology should be Hong Kong’s focus but the city is now suffering from a shortage of IT professionals, said Alex Cheung Kin-sang, managing director, head of Institutional Banking Group, DBS Bank (Hong Kong) Ltd. To resolve the bottlenecks, Hong Kong should attract more Chinese talents who studied abroad and have global visions, Cheung said.

The Hong Kong government plans to build Kowloon East into a smart city district. Photo: iStock

In February 2016, the Hong Kong government commissioned a consultancy study to investigate the feasibility of developing Kowloon East (made up of Kai Tak, Kowloon Bay, Kwun Tong and Ngau Tau Kok) into a smart city district.

The government planned to set up different high-tech systems in the district for ‘smart crowd’ management, illegal parking monitoring and waste reduction purposes.

Brenda Au Kit-ying, head of Energizing Kowloon East Office, which promotes smart-city development in the district, said earlier this year that driverless electric buses will be tested in the district next year. A system that can provide real-time parking vacancy information will also be launched, Au said.

HKT, a local telecommunication operator, held the 5G Tech Carnival at the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal between June 13 and 16 with core themes, including ‘smart city’ and ‘smart living’.

On Monday, Hong Kong-ASEAN Summit 2019, a one-day conference, was held in Hong Kong with a main themes of “Greater Bay Area: Development Strategy in a New Era.”

David Wong Yau-kar, Honorary President, The Chinese Manufacturers’ Association of Hong Kong. Photo: Asia Times

Hong Kong’s “one country, two systems”, rule of law and transparent policies, are key elements of the development of the Greater Bay Area, David Wong Yau-kar, honorary president of the Chinese Manufacturers’ Association of Hong Kong, said in an opening speech.

Hong Kong’s special role to connect the Greater Bay Area with foreign countries will not be replaced by other Chinese cities, Wong said, adding that Hong Kong is now an offshore center for the renminbi  internationalization. The Greater Bay Area will become a new market for Hong Kong as it provides land, technological support and human resources to the Asian financial hub, Wong said.

ReadEducators in Greater Bay Area to strengthen cooperation

DBS’ Cheung said in the past Hong Kong applied its management in the Chinese manufacturing sector to serve the US and European markets. However, Hong Kong should change its focus to serve ASEAN countries and jointly develop high-technology with the Greater Bay Area, he said.

China wants to reduce its reliance on US markets and technology by developing the Greater Bay Area, said Chris Leung Siu-kei, executive director and Chief China Economist at DBS Bank (Hong Kong). Hong Kong has a role in such development as long as the city can still procure high-tech products from the US freely under the US-Hong Kong Policy Act, Leung said.

It is likely that Beijing will put more effort to build up relations with ASEAN countries amid its Belt and Road Initiative, in which Hong Kong can participate, Leung said.

Read: Shenzhen to be ‘top economic powerhouse’

Chris Leung Siu-kei, executive director and Chief China Economist at DBS Bank (Hong Kong). Photo: Asia Times