How to Build a Regional Scientific and Technological Innovation System

Author: Zhang Yuge, Director of Center for Hong Kong and Macao

Editor's note: Integrating resources is a very important reason for the success of DJI. An open regional scientific and technological innovation system should be established to promote Shenzhen-Hong Kong cooperation. In what ways can Hong Kong and Shenzhen cooperate?

Two years ago, DJI was in the spotlight. Hong Kong has absolute advantages in terms of R&D and new technological innovation. Adequately integrating resources is a very important reason for the success of DJI. Innovation is no longer a closed internal circulation system. An open regional scientific and technological innovation system has become the mainstream.

Resource integration of innovation factors both in Hong Kong and Shenzhen is the top priority. Hong Kong and Shenzhen need to further integrate their universities, scientific research institutions and industries, and jointly create sustainable motive force to support innovation, by taking scientific and technological innovation cooperation as the breakthrough point to build an open regional scientific and technological innovation system among Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao.

Currently, cooperation can be done in the following major fields:

Firstly, to establish state-level scientific research institutions in Hong Kong and Shenzhen. The number and level of scientific research institutions determine the competitiveness of the regional scientific and technological innovation system. San Francisco Bay Area is home to five major national level research institutions: NASA’s Ames Research Center, National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (NCAUR), Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). All these top-class research institutions constitute the core competitiveness for the Silicon Valley. In this sense, Hong Kong and Shenzhen need to work together to establish some state-level scientific research institutions headquartered in Hong Kong and Shenzhen.

Secondly, to promote the unified allocation of scientific and technological innovation resources in Hong Kong and Shenzhen. The substantial characteristics of an open regional scientific and technological innovation system are multi-subject participation, multiple innovation resources flow, and high integration. For example, we should overcome the insufficiency of Hong Kong in terms of industrial structure and narrow market space, and guide enterprises and R&D institutions in Shenzhen to cooperate with those in Hong Kong, so as to provide a variety of industrial space and larger application market for the world-class universities in Hong Kong.

Thirdly, to serve enterprises in different periods of innovation. Hong Kong’s advanced international commercial network and well established legal system facilitate enterprises with strength to promote development or go global. Shenzhen’s cost advantage and strong industrial matching ability are beneficial to enterprises in their initial phase of entrepreneurship and innovation. On the one hand, Shenzhen needs to build a paradise for young people of both Hong Kong and Shenzhen to start a business, develop and implement preferential policies of tax deduction and exemption, and provide enterprise talents with favorable life supporting services. On the other hand, Hong Kong should focus on attracting Shenzhen’s competent enterprises of biotechnology, IT, intelligent manufacturing, high-end equipment, new energy resources, marine resource exploitation and marine ecology protection to establish R&D centers or laboratories for high value added manufacturing, and stretch the “production-R&D-design-sales” industrial chain to Hong Kong, in response to Hong Kong’s strategy of “reindustrialization”. Over the past ten years, Shenzhen’s Huawei, ZTE, BGI, Tencent and other enterprises have entered Hong Kong. In future, we should encourage more such enterprises to settle in Hong Kong.