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HKAES International Bay Area Summit 2023 officially kicks off Experts around the world deliberate on the sustainable development of Greater Bay Area

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HONG KONG SAR 21 February 2023 – Organized by the Hong Kong Academy of Engineering Science and supported by the Innovation and Technology Fund of the Hong Kong SAR, the HKAES International Bay Area Summit (“the Summit”) was unveiled yesterday (20 February). Officiated at the opening ceremony were The Hon Chun-ying Leung, Vice-Chairman of The National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and Former Chief Executive of the Hong Kong SAR; The Hon John KC Lee, GBM, SBS, PDSM, PMSM, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong SAR; Prof. Xiaohong Li, President of Chinese Academy of Engineering; Prof. Guangjun Zhang, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China; and Ms Xinning Lu, Deputy Director of The Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong SAR. The two-day Summit has convened tens of speakers from across the world to deliver themed presentations and panel discussions around innovation, technology, entrepreneurship, and ecosystems that explore challenges, opportunities and sustainable development of the Greater Bay Area.

The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (Greater Bay Area, GBA) comprises the two Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macao, and the nine municipalities of Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Huizhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen and Zhaoqing in Guangdong Province with a total area of around 56 000 km2, population of over 86.7 million and GDP of USD 1,958 billion. The development of the GBA is a key national development strategy. It is important for Hong Kong companies to capitalize on cross-border opportunities by leveraging on the unique positioning and reap the benefits of the immense market of the GBA.

The Hon Chun-ying Leung, Vice-Chairman of The National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and Former Chief Executive of the Hong Kong SAR said, “The nine Guangdong cities are huge and diverse, each offering Hong Kong its own special prospects. For Hong Kong to effectively work with the GBA, we need to prioritize geographical advantages. Hong Kong cannot cover all nine cities fully and equally in one go. In the initial cooperation stages between the nine cities, we need to establish a Hong Kong bridgehead. We need to establish a forward base and then a cluster for Hong Kong to acclimatize. This will allow us sharpen our skills, to build networks and grow a critical mass from which we can in due course more fully engage all the Guangdong-GBA cities. In the Guangdong area, Hong Kong brings to the table the capabilities as a financial trade, innovation and technology and professional service centre. Hong Kong additionally brings its international connection with the rest of the world. Hong Kong is the super connector.”

In his opening remarks at the Summit, The Hon John KC Lee, GBM, SBS, PDSM, PMSM, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong SAR shared, “With the support of the National 14th Five-Year Plan, Hong Kong is determined to develop into an international innovation and technology (I&T) centre. The Northern Metropolis is linked with Shenzhen and will take up an area about one-third the size of Hong Kong. It will not only provide much-needed land for the advancement of innovation and technology, but also create a platform that pools together local talents and experts from other GBA cities and overseas. To meet the strong construction output, we will uplift our overall productivity and sustainability by adopting high productivity construction methods such as Modular Integrated Construction, or MiC. For that, we have established a steering committee to strengthen the MiC supply chain, and to foster collaboration with the strong manufacturing bases in the GBA. My thanks to the Hong Kong Academy of Engineering Sciences for organising this dynamic and rewarding Summit. I am certain that you will all enjoy the invaluable opportunity to share insights on bay area development from around the world.”

Prof. Guangjun Zhang, Vice Minister of Ministry of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China (Video) said, “The Hong Kong SAR Government has invested more than HKD150 billion to support the development of innovation over the past five years, and published the ‘Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Development Blueprint’ in December 2022 which outlined four broad major directions and eight major strategies that establish a clear development path and formulate systematic strategic planning for Hong Kong’s innovation and technology (I&T) development over the next five to 10 years. The Blueprint is a testament to the Government’s determination and actions on the development of innovation and technology. As we stand in a new onset in history, the Technology Division will work closely with the Hong Kong SAR Government, as we have always been, with building a top-quality Great Bay Area as our major goal and supporting the establishment of Hong Kong as a global innovation and technology hub as our key theme, and promote the collaboration of innovation and technology effort in the two regions. Thank you.”

Ms Xinning Lu, Deputy Director of The Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in Hong Kong SAR said,” At the start of the new year, the Hong Kong Academy of Engineering Sciences seizes the opportunity to focus on hot topics of innovation from the Greater Bay Area, bringing together elites from all walks of life to share their insights. This is a timely and historic moment, the GBA serves as a model for high-quality development in the new era and plays a critical role in realizing China’s modernization and achieving the two centennial goals. The Greater Bay Area takes on the important mission of leading high-quality development in China’s new era, and strive for continuous, high-quality progress and breakthroughs in national development.”

Ir Dr Otto Poon, BBS, Immediate Past President of the Hong Kong Academy of Engineering Sciences and Chairman of ATAL Engineering Group mentioned in his welcome speech, “GBA offers a unique opportunity for people from all parts of the world to work together in an undisturbed environment where culture, education, professional practice and economy converge. It is a space where three borders, cultures, languages, legal systems, standards and currencies meet, an exemplar of how differences are overcome, and institutions and businesses co-exist in harmony. GBA is open to everyone from various professionals and jurisdictions. We meet challenges and opportunities in a global scale. Standing at the crossroad of globalization and deglobalisation, this is an opportunity where global citizens of the 21st century like us cannot miss.”

The Summit has showcased a powerful line-up of speakers. Experts, government officials, scholars and market leaders from Hong Kong, mainland China and other regions gather to share their views on the development and operation of Bay Area economies.

On day 1 of the Summit, Dr Victor Fung, Group Chairman of Fung Group shared his views on how local and global businesses can leverage on Hong Kong to enter the vast and growing consumer market in the GBA, while taking advantage of the thriving digital production base in Peal River Delta to get a share in the global market. Prof. Zexiang Li, Professor of The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, also Founder of XbotPark and Shenzhen InnoX Academy reviewed the establishment and achievement of the startup ecosystem in the GBA and examined key elements of its success under the theme “From Labs to Startups: Building of a Startup Ecosystem in the Greater Bay Area”.

The afternoon plenary session gathered presidents and professors from tertiary institutions across Hong Kong and the mainland to discuss the role of higher education in the GBA. Elites from innovation industry also deliberated on the opportunities and challenges from start-ups in different arenas, and evolution and applications of smart technology.

At the Academicians Forum that followed, Ir Prof. Ching Chuen Chan, SBS, Senior Advisor of Hong Kong Academy of Engineering Sciences, also Honorary Professor, Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering of The University of Hong Kong opined that with its global innovation resources, Hong Kong could synergize with GBA cities to strengthen the collaboration amongst industry, academia and research, thereby realizing its blueprint for innovation and technology development, as well as building a global hub for innovations. Ir Prof. Anderson Shum, President of The Hong Kong Young Academy of Sciencesdeliberated on the growth, contribution and inter-connection of young scientists in an innovation and technology hub.

Day 2 of the HKAES International Bay Area Summit will be opened tomorrow (21 February) by Ir Prof. The Hon Dong Sun, JP, Secretary for Innovation, Technology and Industry of the Hong Kong SAR. Activities of the day will include keynote lectures by heavyweight entrepreneurs including Mr George Hara, Group Chairman and CEO of DEFTA Partners, and Mr Fan Yang, Co-founder, VP, President of SenseCore Business Group of SenseTime.

Themed around “The Role of Research and Innovations” and “Ecosystem for the Innovation & Technology Industry”, plenary sessions in the morning will continue to explore industries and trends relating to innovation and the GBA. The Forum on Bay Area Economy Outlook 2023 will gather experts to deliberate on topics around “Challenges of the 5th Pillar: Innovation, Technology & Industrialization”, “Guangdong-Hong-Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA): A New Economic Pathway”, “How the Greater Bay Area can help China overcome the ‘middle technology trap'” and “Hong Kong – A Springboard for Growth in the Greater Bay Areas”

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