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Hong Kong to increase number of start-ups

The Hong Kong X-Technology Entrepreneurship Platform (HKXTEP) released today (18th) Hong Kong's first "Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Talent Index 2023" report, which shows that the number of start-ups in Hong Kong will increase from 3,985 in 2022 to 7,000 in 2032, and 59,800 talents have already been imported from January to June this year, and deduces that there will be 65,000 people in the field of entrepreneurship in 2032, a gap of 35,000 people between this number and the 100,000 people in Hong Kong's innovation and technology blueprint for 2032, reflecting a short-term shortage of local entrepreneurs. There is a gap of 35,000 people between this number and the 100,000 expected in the blueprint for Hong Kong's innovation and technology development in 2032, reflecting the short-term shortage of creative talents. The report proposes to improve the scheme of importing talents and strengthen the cultivation of local talents, so as to increase the pool of local creative talents in Hong Kong.

The report "Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Talent Index 2023" is compiled by collecting data from more than 30 innovation and technology-related organizations and inviting nearly 100 experts in related industries to compile a report on Hong Kong's innovation and technology ecology over the past five years and its development over the past year with reference to the International Technological and Innovation Centre Index (ITICI), the Global Talent Index (GTI), and the Silicon Valley Index (SVI), among other indexes. Mr. Paul Chan, the Financial Secretary, also mentioned in his speech that Hong Kong needs to "retain" and "accommodate" talents.

The report deduces that the number of entrepreneurs will reach 65,000 in 2032, and there is a gap of 35,000 between this number and the 100,000 expected to be reached in 2032 under the blueprint for innovation and technology development in Hong Kong, reflecting the shortage of entrepreneurs in the near future.

The report points out that according to the Government's manpower projections for 2027, the average annual growth rate of manpower demand for the IT and information services sector from 2017 to 2027 will be 2.2%, while that for the innovation and technology industry will be 4.3%. While the average growth rate of Hong Kong's economy-wide manpower demand is only 0.3%, the growth in manpower demand for the IT and information services sector and the innovation and technology industry is significantly higher than the overall manpower demand of the local economy.

The report also pointed out that the salary package and career development prospect of innovation jobs are still not competitive enough, and innovation talents may not stay in their own industries, while the eligibility criteria of the "High-end Talent Pass Scheme" do not require prior employment to develop in Hong Kong, and the Government has not stored the employment information, so it is doubtful whether this group of "talents" has been converted into local labor force and played a role. In addition, although Hong Kong has attracted more Mainland students in recent years, less than 30% of them have stayed in Hong Kong to work after graduation, and Hong Kong's performance in attracting international students is slightly worse.

The report concludes that, compared with overseas countries, Hong Kong's talent policy is relatively long in terms of the time required for obtaining permanent resident status, which will pose a certain degree of resistance to attracting talents. It is suggested that top talents from around the world, such as scientists and founders of leading enterprises in the field of innovation and technology, should be granted some of the rights and benefits of permanent resident in advance, such as stamp duty exemption for home purchases, in order to attract them to stay in Hong Kong for a long period of time; and it is also suggested that top scientists around the world, such as winners of overseas scientific awards, such as Nobel Prizes, should be invited to Hong Kong through international conferences. It is also suggested that top scientists from all over the world, such as winners of Nobel Prizes and other overseas science awards, should be invited to Hong Kong through international conferences, so as to attract professionals to come to and stay in Hong Kong, thereby enhancing Hong Kong's influence in innovation and technology.

The report recommends that complementary policies such as tax relief, housing subsidies, start-up funds and scientific research funding support should be improved to provide good living conditions and working environment for talents staying in Hong Kong. At the same time, the internship and work restrictions on non-local students should be further relaxed, so that they do not need to seek permission from their institutions and the Immigration Department to participate in internship programs related to the disciplines they are studying.

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