Gov’t supporting I&T development

June 17, 2020

Secretary for Innovation & Technology Alfred Sit said the Government is supporting the innovation and technology industry, which has been affected by social events, the COVID-19 epidemic and the trade dispute between China and the US.


Replying to lawmakers’ questions in the Legislative Council today, Mr Sit said some companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises or startups, have to put their business expansion on hold due to uncertainties arising from social events and the external economic and trade environment.


The epidemic has also affected the outbound exchanges of academia and technology companies.


To support the industry, the Government has set aside $380 million under the Anti-epidemic Fund to provide a six-month rental waiver for tenants and startups in the Science Park, industrial estates and Cyberport. It is estimated that this will benefit about 1,800 enterprises, Mr Sit said.


The Government has also launched the Distance Business Programme to provide funding to enterprises to adopt information technology (IT) solutions for developing distance business.


The programme secretariat has received 3,834 applications to enrol on the IT Service Providers Reference List, as well as over 13,000 funding applications from enterprises so far.


At the same time, the Government has been proactively adopting local research and development outcomes to help combat the epidemic.


The Innovation & Technology Commission launched a special call for projects under the Public Sector Trial Scheme of the Innovation & Technology Fund to support product development and application of technologies for the prevention and control of the epidemic, as well as to foster the commercialisation of R&D results.


So far, 25 applications have been approved under the special call, involving a funding amount of about $42.8 million for trials in more than 40 public sector organisations.


Mr Sit added that the Government, industry, academia and research institutes are all determined to turn the crises into opportunities and respond to changes proactively and flexibly.

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