Momentum for smart city development in Hong Kong

Dr. Winnie Tang, Honorary Professor, Department of Computer Science, University of Hong Kong

Hong Kong is moving from thinking to planning and will soon be acting on smart city initiatives.

Photo: The Chief Executive Mrs Carrie Lam (3rd right) and Mr. Chen Dong (3rd left), Deputy Director of The Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in Hong Kong with Mr. Nicholas Yang (2nd left), Secretary for Innovation and Technology jointly participating in the SCC luncheon, were greeted by Dr. Winnie Tang (far left), Dr. Elizabeth Quat (2nd right), Founder and Honorary President of SCC, and Mr. Eric Yeung (1st right), President of SCC.


Think

Around two years ago, the Smart City Consortium (SCC) was established to promote smart city development in Hong Kong. Its first gathering, held in Lan Kwai Fong, saw over 300 participants crowd into the venue. On the 7th of February, SCC held a luncheon which was attended by nearly 400 members and guests from different sectors. Representatives from education, infrastructure, finance, communications, transportation and environmental protection, as well as consulates from a number of countries packed the event, giving people the sense that Hong Kong is truly ready to be a smart city.

Plan

At the event, the Chief Executive reviewed Hong Kong’s progress in developing early stage policy functions needed to support smart city development, such as the set up of Policy Innovation and Coordination Unit. Once the Legislative Council passes the policy, the Unit will review laws that stifle innovation and technology. Meanwhile the planning of Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park in the Lok Ma Chau Loop has just been completed. It will become the largest innovation and technology center in the region. All of these gave us great confidence in the smart city development.

Start with the people

Government policy is important for the development of smart city. However, I always believe in the power of bottom up co-creation by citizens. The power of brainstorming can be enormous and the ideas from the government and citizens can complement each other.

Since its establishment two years ago, the non-governmental organization SCC has been working hard to promote smart city ideas in Hong Kong. SCC has signed 25 memorandums of understanding with 12 countries and regions, we hope to broaden our horizons through exchanges with different smart city organizations in different countries, while exploring more opportunities for Hong Kong at the same time.

Dr. Winnie Tang, Smart City leader

Dr Tang is ready for the smart city future with the growing and dynamic Smart City Consortium leading the way.

Cooperate – with the world

LinkedSmart, a new platform for business matching established by end of January this year, is an important cooperative platform among SCC, Smart City Development Alliance (SCDA) in mainland China and Guangdong-Hong Kong- Macao-Bay Area Economic and Trade Association (GHKM BA). This platform aims at connecting entrepreneurs and investors from all over the world. Riding on the advantages of Hong Kong being an international financial centers, the platform promotes the development of startups through incubators, financing, listing and smart city projects. By doing so, Hong Kong will gradually develop its entrepreneurial ecosystem, i.e., perfecting the use of talents, development of policies, matching demand with available funds.

We also announced the establishment of the Global Smart City Consortium, a worldwide innovation platform to encourage countries in assisting the introduction of their smart city-related industries, technologies and standards. At the same time, through the transfer of technological knowledge and innovative co-operation in relevant fields, smart city technology will be promoted through internationalization and commercialization, developing into another economy in future.

Onwards to victory

We are very grateful that SCC has developed with only 20 experts few years ago to the scale today. However, we are not complacent. We know that if Hong Kong does not move forward, we will be surpassed by others in less than 20 years. No doubt, in promoting smart city and starting a new business, the road is full of uncertainties. While stumbling along, I think of the saying from Winston Churchill, the English Prime Minister. Because of a movie, his famous sayings during World War II was widely quoted recently. One of them: “Victory in spite of all terror- Victory, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory, there is no survival.”

The New Year of the Dog is coming, I hope we will gather more momentum in our work and keep on pushing forward.

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Winnie Tang

Dr Winnie Tang is Honorary Professor, Department of Computer Science, The University of Hong Kong and Advisor of Our Hong Kong Foundation.