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SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY PARK


NEW HORIZONS: HOW HONG KONG IS STIMULATING INNOVATION


In the past decade, Hong Kong has been making a concerted effort to establish itself as an innovative economy. WIPR talks to Allen Yeung, vice president of business development and technology support at Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation.


What is the Science and Technology Parks Corporation?


We were established in 2001, so last year was a great opportunity to review our progress over the last 10 years. T e Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (STPC) is a statutory body. T e idea behind setting up the corporation was to create a new economic pillar in Hong Kong which didn’t rely entirely on fi nance and trade. We were set up to develop Hong Kong into a technology and innovation hub in Asia—that’s our mission.


We were given a science park to manage. In the last 10 years we have developed phases one and two. We have about 2 million square feet of offi ce space right here at the science park. We’re about to start constructing phase three (December 2011), which will give us another 1 million square feet of offi ce and laboratory space. T is is dedicated for research and development. We have recruited 350 companies to the park as of today, and have approximately 8500 people working at the park.


What is the profi le of the companies at the park?


We have about 100 companies in start-up mode, 100 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and the rest are larger-sized companies, both local and international. A requirement for coming to the park is that at least 50 percent of the staff here


must be engaged in R&D. Our biggest tenant is Philips, with 1000 employees based in the park, including four or fi ve business groups. Its digital living business group is headquartered here.


What is the STPC’s role in relation to these companies?


T e corporation’s role is to build a top class facility, and to provide soſt infrastructure to develop Hong Kong into a digital innovation hub.


We have built common-use laboratories for tenants to use, which are equipped, managed and staff ed by our employees. T is benefi ts smaller companies that do not have to invest large amounts of money in the equipment. T ey only pay for use. We charge them so we can break even on the operation side, and we don’t count depreciation. T is is to reduce the hurdle for people to get started on the development of their products, and to help them navigate the ‘valley of death’ that new start-ups face.


We also run a lot of information exchanges. People come to the park to talk about what they’re working on. For example, Google is coming to talk about Android 4.0, which is great for platform developers here. We also invite a lot of world leaders and business leaders to come and give their views. Companies such as Siemens and Schneider Electric have been and shared their views of the future. We run seminars on IP, including by US visitors who have come to give talks on the new US IP laws. We


48 World Intellectual Property Review January/February 2012


also run company-matching schemes, with a focus on matching companies with each other in-house.


What obligation do companies at the park have to you?


T ey are all independent companies, and we do not own a share, even for incubations—they come in and we waive the rent for the fi rst year and then charge half rent for the following years. In certain areas we even give matching funding. For example, if they go and fi le for patents, we can pay 50 percent of the fi ling fees worldwide. Hong Kong has a re-registration type of system, so a lot of them will fi le patents in the UK or China and then come back and re-register. We have one start-up company that focuses on nano- heat technology; it fi led 35 patents. T at’s a lot of patents, it spent about HK$6 million ($774,000) on patent fees, and we matched 50 percent of that.


What is the balance of industries represented at the park?


We have fi ve technology areas to focus on: electronics, including semi-conductors; IT and communications; nano-technology; biotech and green technology. Traditionally, we have more electronic and ICT companies, which represent about 60 percent of our population. However, in terms of patents, we have seen more in green tech, biotech and nano-technology. I think that’s because on IT soſt ware you may have copyright, but not so


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