Hong Kong Competes to Catch Up With Singapore

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TREC is similar to Hong Kong's Lan Kwai Fong and Singapore's Clarke Quay entertainment districts. Photo: Khalil Adis Consultancy.

The government of Hong Kong recently rolled out a Budget deemed by some as daring and focused, as it will channel significant amounts of funds into technology and innovation that will impact the future generations. This may provide serious competition to Singapore in the near future.

This year Hong Kong enjoyed a bumper surplus equivalent to S$23.4 billion (HK $138 billion). Paul Chan, the Financial Secretary, said on February 28 that HK $50 billion will be invested into technology and innovation. A significant portion of that amount will be spent on an initiative that will bolster global companies, the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park.

Aside from having significant funds for technology, innovation and to attract the best and brightest in the field, Hong Kong will also Strat strengthening the Science Park and Cyberport, to encourage research and development, which is advantageous for local entrepreneurs as well as start-ups.

This infusion of funding into technology and innovation may be a result of Hong Kong’s rank of sixth place in the World Economic Forum’s index for global competitiveness, released in September 2017. Hong Kong’s came in three places behind Singapore, which ranked third. In the category of innovation, Hong Kong ranked 26th, well below Singapore, which ranked ninth on the list.

Associate director of research at Fletcher’s Institute for Business, Ravi Shankar Chaturvedi, claims that Singapore’s institutional environment—its capacity for following rules—is it’s strongest point, a trait that Hong Kong has lost momentum in. Mr. Chaturvedi also said that when it comes to momentum in innovation, China, Singapore and Hong Kong all have similar ranks, with China taking a slight lead.

Mr. Chaturvedi also says that Singapore’s robust institutions and innovation, as well as its growth momentum in both characteristics, has caused it to become the “most digitally-competitive” county in South East Asia.

This may be why Hong Kong has decided to emulate Singapore, in order to get ahead in the race. But considering Singapore’s advantage in robotics and finch, it is uncertain just how much Hong Kong will be able to catch up, though it now poses as a serious contender.