Opening speech by SITI at BIOHK2022 Opening Ceremony

 Following is the opening speech by the Secretary for Innovation, Technology and Industry, Professor Sun Dong, at the BIOHK2022 Opening Ceremony today (December 14):
Vice-Chairman C Y Leung (Vice-Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, Mr C Y Leung), Starry (Legislative Council Member and Chairperson of Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, Ms Starry Lee), Albert (Chairman of the Hong Kong Biotechnology Organization and Co-president of BIOHK2022 Professor Albert Yu), Kennedy (Legislative Council Member, Mr Kennedy Wong), Dr Yu (Chairman of BayHelix Group and Co-president of BIOHK2022 Dr Yu Guo-liang), Mr Chen Ping (Founder of Ausvic Capital and Co-president of BIOHK2022 Mr Chen Ping), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
     Good morning. It gives me immense joy to be here today with so many friends and guests from local and afar to witness the return of the BIOHK2022 after the unfortunate postponement in the midst of the COVID pandemic headwind. First of all, I would like to express my gratitude to the Hong Kong Biotechnology Organization, the BayHelix Group and Ausvic Capital for co-organising this signature convention with a comprehensive and enlightening programme that covers a multitude of important topics on biotechnology.
     Despite of the overwhelming disruptions posed by the pandemic in the past three years, Hong Kong has never swayed from the course in driving the innovation and technology (I&T) development, and we are at full speed to develop Hong Kong into an I&T centre. With the tremendous business opportunities, broad spectrum application potential of biotechnology and the outstanding research capabilities, as well as a deep talent pool in life and health disciplines in our universities, biotechnology has always been a key pillar in Hong Kong’s I&T development.
     Hong Kong is blessed with the strong support from our motherland. The National 14th Five-Year Plan has placed great emphasis on the enhancement of technological strengths in frontier fields such as life and health disciplines and made clear to support Hong Kong to develop into an international I&T centre. Over the past years, the Hong Kong SAR (Special Administrative Region) Government has made good efforts to promote the R&D (research and development) of the life and health disciplines. InnoHK, being our flagship I&T initiative, was launched for leveraging concerted efforts of leading local and global institutions to transform the city into a global innovation powerhouse and global research collaboration hub. Among the total of 28 InnoHK research laboratories, 16 of them are life and health-related involving six local universities and a dozen overseas and Mainland research institutions, which are focusing on vaccine and drug development, immunology, molecular diagnostics and microbiome, etc.
     This term of Government is determined to chart Hong Kong in moving full steam towards our vision of developing Hong Kong into an international I&T centre, and has laid down clear directions for the future I&T development in Hong Kong. Among others, we will endeavour to perfect the I&T ecosystem and better co-ordinate the development of the upstream, midstream and downstream sectors. While we will continue to solidify our leading research capabilities, we will strive to incentivise the universities to proactively promote the midstream technology transfer and to commercialise their outstanding R&D outcomes. To achieve this goal, we are going to roll out a $10 billion new funding scheme next year, namely the Research, Academic and Industry Sectors One-plus Scheme to encourage more collaboration among industry, academic and research sectors to drive the “1 to N” transformation of outstanding R&D results and the tech industry development.
     Talent is another key factor essential to the development of biotechnology. By collaborating with the Office for Attracting Strategic Enterprises to be set up later this year, it is our goal to attract high quality enterprises and talents, primarily focusing on tech industries of strategic value and importance to Hong Kong, like biotechnology, to set up or expand their businesses in Hong Kong, as well as to woo world-class minds to bring with them their cutting edge technology business or R&D outcomes to Hong Kong.
     We are also pushing ahead the development of our major I&T infrastructure projects. The establishment of the InnoLife Healthtech Hub will create another prominent platform focusing on R&D in life and health disciplines, which helps foster global science and research exchange and drive further collaboration with other Mainland cities in the GBA (Greater Bay Area). Besides, the new listing regime launched in 2018 had also created a conducive fundraising environment to facilitate the listing of pre-revenue/pre-profit biotechnology companies in Hong Kong, making us Asia Pacific’s top and the world’s second largest fundraising hub for biotechnology companies. As the gateway to the enormous Mainland market, Hong Kong is full of opportunities for overseas investment and top talent from around the globe.
     Ladies and gentlemen, with the country’s solid support and increasingly vibrant local I&T ecosystem, coupled with the concerted efforts by all stakeholders, I am most confident that Hong Kong will scale new heights in the biotechnology field. At this juncture when normalcy gradually returns, the BIOHK2022 presents a timely event to bring together all of us to catch up with the latest breakthroughs in biotechnology, reignite old bonds, seek fresh connections, explore new business scopes and reflect upon the prowess of biotechnology in addressing many ongoing challenges facing mankind. I look forward to seeing more new innovation in biotechnology in the near future. Finally, may I wish the event a great success and all of you a fruitful and inspiring exchange in the convention. Thank you very much.

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