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Establishing the Innovation and Technology Bureau to create more opportunities for our young people

Today, I went to Pui Ching Middle School to take part in the IT Chat Room event organised by the Hong Kong Information Technology Joint Council. At this event, 700 students present at the venue and more than 3,000 students using live Internet broadcast exchanged views with five young technology entrepreneurs.

Technology can do many things – it can change the world, enable young people to realise their entrepreneurial ambitions and help people with different needs. When I arrived at the venue, Dr Ray Cheung of City University of Hong Kong showed me a mechanical hand that he and his students had developed. This device will be very helpful for people with amputated hands. On seeing me try the mechanical hand, the students became very excited.

The students showed keen interest in joining the innovation and technology sector. They urged the Government to step up its support for that sector, and hoped that the proposed Innovation and Technology Bureau could better consolidate government resources so as to help them fulfil their technology dreams. In response, I said that the development of innovation and technology required co-operation among the Government, industry, academia and research sectors. On the part of the Government, the establishment of the Innovation and Technology Bureau is an important step. By consolidating resources and implementing policies, we can facilitate collaboration between the research sector, academia and the industry.

The development of innovation and technology as an industry can provide more career choices for young people after graduation other than joining the financial and real estate sectors. Many technology entrepreneurs have told me that the lack of talented people is creating a bottleneck in the development of their companies. Consequently, young people who are creative and of the right calibre need not worry about getting a job in this sector.

As for the application of technology, I shared with the students the success story of Octopus. This technological product has made our lives easier. It has changed our payment habits, and is now even used to verify the identity of residents entering a building. It has not only improved our quality of life but also given rise to a huge industry chain.

As the students expressed concern about their future, I encouraged them to look beyond Hong Kong to Greater China, Asia and the rest of the world if they really wanted to make a career in new and high technology. Many young people in Hong Kong have an aptitude for innovation and technology. As long as they take an international outlook, they can surely do what they are good at by considering alternative regions of the world and different technological fields if necessary.

The students were active in offering their views and showed great enthusiasm and optimism about the development of innovation and technology in Hong Kong. I sincerely hope that the Legislative Council will finish its deliberations on the proposal for the establishment of the Innovation and Technology Bureau at an early date so as to create more opportunities for our young people and breathe new life into Hong Kong.


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May 28, 2014