HONG KONG, Nov 18, 2020 – (ACN Newswire) – With the COVID-19 pandemic showing no sign of abating, how can Hong Kong, a city famous for its ability to respond rapidly, harness technology to create new opportunities? Organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) and the Hong Kong Electronics & Technologies Association (HKETA), the Symposium on Innovation & Technology 2020 invited experts from various sectors to offer insights into the latest developments, covering topics such as future technology trends, artificial intelligence (AI), 5G and cloud applications, the “new normal” for businesses and the latest developments in pharmaceutical technology. Speakers shared their experience in using technology to solve problems, and introduced new ideas that could lead to future opportunities.
The symposium, running under the theme “A New Connected World Beyond the New Normal”, is one of more than 20 webinar sessions being organised as part of Autumn Sourcing Week | ONLINE, a virtual trade fair that has attracted 2,600 exhibitors from 33 countries and regions, featuring the latest products from 11 industries.
Alfred Sit, Secretary for Innovation and Technology of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), said in the opening speech at the symposium that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused substantial disruption to almost every aspect of our daily lives, adding that innovation and technology (I&T) has played an important role in helping to contain the spread of the disease and make it easier for everyone to observe the necessary social distancing measures. Mr Sit mentioned that over the past 10 months or so, the HKSAR Government has widely adopted I&T applications to support anti-epidemic work on many fronts, including the “StayHomeSafe” app, electronic wristbands, the “LeaveHomeSafe” app and more. He also highlighted how the launch of commercial 5G services by mobile network operators in April this year is paving the way for the beginning of the 5G era in Hong Kong.
Summarising the results of KPMG’s CIO Survey 2020, Marcos Chow, Partner & Head of Technology Enablement at KPMG China, outlined the new reality for global business. He said that enterprises are being driven to digital transformation due to the pandemic, leading to the widespread acceptance of home-based work, which in turn can expand the scope of talent recruitment and reduce geographical constraints. At the same time, the risk of a talent shortage has become the most pressing problem for global companies, with skills in the areas of network security, organisational management and corporate structure being in short supply.
Hong Kong e-commerce firm eyes global expansion
When it comes to technology, HKTVmall, a Hong Kong-based online supermarket and shopping mall platform, is poised to move from being a technology user to becoming a technology provider. Looking back at the company’s experience over the last seven years, Ricky Wong, Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Hong Kong Television Network Limited, said the company recorded losses for five years until it emerged as the sole service provider in the business. The key for HKTVmall was to make good use of existing technology before developing its own technology and systems. “This is where value comes from,” he said. The platform has collected consumer data from local customers over the years and laid the foundation for its digital ecosystem, developing different business opportunities according to consumers’ needs and preferences. These include services such as an e-wallet, a shopping app targeted at seniors, a food takeaway platform, and products such as financial products and electronic insurance.
Mr Wong said the platform plans to consolidate its broad experience and provide a one-stop turnkey solution for businesses around the world interested in developing online supermarkets or shopping platforms. He added that the company would open up its data bank to the public in the future, with information such as sales transactions, user traffic and logistics records becoming accessible to peers, academics and banks to promote the development of the local electronic ecosystem.
Innovative technology brings about opportunities, but governments and industry must work together to drive positive development. In October, Google Hong Kong released “Smarter Digital City 3.0”, which detailed Hong Kong people’s readiness to accept AI. Timothy Tam, Head of Public Policy and Government Affairs (Hong Kong) at Google, said that Hong Kong enterprises are generally optimistic about the development of AI, but have concerns about issues such as investment return, knowledge and human resources. He expects that policymakers will have to invest resources to incentivise businesses to develop AI solutions. Charles Mok, Honorary President of the Hong Kong Information Technology Federation (HKITF), reminded companies to be mindful of customer privacy and network security, and to use and retain relevant information in a proper way.
Professor hopes for more production of reusable disinfection equipment
Alongside business opportunities, the symposium addressed public concerns regarding treatment and prevention during the COVID-19 pandemic. Yuen Kwok-yung, Chair of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Hong Kong, joined the event to share his views on the current situation in relation to the pandemic. He said that the effectiveness of antibodies being developed worldwide is still uncertain, noting that the cost of developing a neutralising monoclonal antibody has been high, while the cost of convalescent plasma antibody titres is lower.
In terms of virus prevention, Prof Yuen hoped that manufacturers would use sterilised materials to produce reusable personal protection equipment to handle various infectious diseases. He pointed out that although the source of the new coronavirus could not be confirmed at present, viruses were found in poultry markets in 2003 (SARS), 2013 (H7N9 avian influenza) and 2019 (new coronavirus), so the design of poultry markets needs to be improved. Attention should also be paid to the design of domestic sewerage systems to avoid virus transmission incidents such as those in Amoy Gardens in 2003, Hong Mei House in Cheung Hong Estate and Heng Tai House in Fu Heng Estate in 2020.
The HKTDC is running Autumn Sourcing Week | ONLINE from 16 to 27 November, featuring the latest products from different industries including electronics, houseware, lighting, outdoor lighting, eco tech, gifts and premiums, toys, baby products, stationery, optical and watches and clocks. The virtual fair serves as a one-stop online sourcing platform to keep small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) connected with global buyers and help create business opportunities across various sectors.
The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is a statutory body established in 1966 to promote, assist and develop Hong Kong’s trade. With 50 offices globally, including 13 in Mainland China, the HKTDC promotes Hong Kong as a two-way global investment and business hub. The HKTDC organises international exhibitions, conferences and business missions to create business opportunities for companies, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in the mainland and international markets. The HKTDC also provides up-to-date market insights and product information via trade publications, research reports and digital news channels. For more information, please visit: www.hktdc.com/aboutus. Follow us on Twitter @hktdc and LinkedIn.
Janet Chan, Tel: +852 2584 4369, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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