Chinese president Xi Jinping has called for enhanced cooperation on innovation between mainland China and Hong Kong to help make Hong Kong to become an international innovation hub.
Xi’s statement, widely reported by Chinese state media outlets including Xinhua News Agency, was in response to a letter of 24 leading scientists from Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the Chinese Academy of Engineering.
The scientists wrote to Xi last June to "express their urgent wish to make a contribution to their country." Xi said in today’s statement that Hong Kong has a strong scientific and technological foundation with many high-quality talents. Hong Kong is an important force for China to implement innovation-driven development strategies and build innovative countries, Xi said.
China’s Ministry of Technology and Ministry of Finance also jointly released a new directive yesterday to allow universities and research institutions in Hong Kong and Macau to apply for funds earmarked for pushing technology innovation in mainland China.
A spokesperson at the Hong Kong government stated "We welcome and appreciate the support of the central government to allow universities and research institutes in Hong Kong to apply for the central government’s financial support in Hong Kong. This is a major breakthrough in the scientific cooperation between the mainland and Hong Kong, and is the hope of the local Hong Kong science community."
In the letter last June, the groups of scientists complained about the difficulty of accessing national scientific research funds in Hong Kong, and the lack of favorable policies on tariffs for equipment transfers.
A total of 16 key state scientific labs in Hong Kong and two in Macau have received direct support from national programs, according to Xinhua.
Also, all scientific research institutions established in the mainland by Hong Kong entities have already been enjoying preferential tax policies to promote sci-tech innovation, says the report.