Innovation and Technology Bureau

Innovation and Technology Bureau
Regional Emblem of Hong Kong.svg
Emblem of the Hong Kong SAR
Bureau overview
Formed 20 November 2015
Headquarters 26/F, Central Government Offices, 2 Tim Mei Avenue, Tamar, Hong Kong
Minister responsible
Deputy Minister responsible
Bureau executive
  • Annie Choi, Permanent Secretary for Innovation and Technology
Parent Bureau Financial Secretary [1]
Child agencies
Innovation and Technology Bureau
Traditional Chinese 創新及科技局

Innovation and Technology Bureau (ITB) is one of the policy bureaus under the Government Secretariat of the Government of Hong Kong and is responsible for policy matters on the development of innovation and technology and information technology which are the key drivers in this endeavour. The Bureau is led by the Secretary for Innovation and Technology, currently Alfred Sit Wing-hang.[2]

The Bureau includes an Innovation and Technology Branch and oversees the operation of the Innovation and Technology Commission, the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer and the Efficiency Office.

History and development [ edit ]

In the "Chief Executive’s 1998 Policy Address", Tung Chee-wah set up a HK$5 billion Innovation and Technology Fund to provide financial support for projects which will contribute to the improved use of innovation and technology in our industrial and commercial sectors.[3] In 2000, the government established the Innovation and Technology Commission and the Applied Science and Technology Research Institute was also established to strengthen government support for innovation and technological development.[4] The Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation was created in 2001 and the 22-hectare Hong Kong Science Park in Sha Tin provides laboratories and shared facilities to help technology companies design and develop new products.[4]

Timeline of the Establishment Process of the ITB [ edit ]

Year Month Event
2012 March Chief Executive candidate Leung Chun-ying proposed creating an IT bureau in a government restructuring exercise but the idea was voted down in the Legislative Council in June 2012.[5]
October The Pro-Beijing camp legislators issued a joint signature campaign which urged the government to establish the Technology and Communication Bureau.[6]
2014 16 January CY Leung announced again the launch of the Innovation and Technology Bureau through the "Chief Executive’s 2014 Policy Address".[7]
29 October The Legislative Council voted 35-19 in favour of a government resolution to set up the bureau.[8]
2015 February The plan was killed off by a pan-democratic filibuster that delayed the vote by the Legislative Council's Finance Committee on a request to fund the creation of the bureau. The resolution passed in October 2014 lapsed.
March Former Polytechnic University vice-president Nicholas Yang Wei-hsiung was appointed CY Leung's IT adviser and an executive councillor.[9]
3 June The Legislative Council voted 33-6, with 3 abstentions, to pass the resolution to set up the Innovation and Technology Bureau again.[10]
July The Finance Committee failed to vote on a funding request, despite extra meetings, because of pan-democratic lawmakers' filibustering. The plan was put on hold until the Legislative Council returned from its summer recess.[11]
October Fresh filibuster attempts were made as the Finance Committee once again discussed the funding request.[12]
6 November The Finance Committee passed the funding request for establishing the Innovation and Technology Bureau.[13]

Related policies [ edit ]

Innovation and Technology Fund for Better Living [ edit ]

In order to promote application of innovation and technology in society and improve people’s daily living, the Government proposed to set up a $500 million Innovation and Technology Fund for Better Living.[14] The ITB will consider setting different themes, such as health, transportation, education, safety and environmental protection, so as to facilitate the participation of different sectors.[14]

The eligible applicants include non-government organisations, non-profit making organisations, professional bodies, chambers of commerce and public organisations. The projects must focus on improving people’s daily living and should not be used for profit making or any purpose other than proposals.[citation needed]

The organisations have to sign an agreement with the government and the phased grant will be given according to the progress and achievements of the project as stated in the agreement.[citation needed] A Secretariat is set up to support the daily operation of the fund. An Assessment Committee is established to assess and approve the application from the business community, academia, relevant bureaux or departments, etc.[14]

There is a monitoring and supervision system which monitors the approved projects according to the project phases stated in the agreement. The subvented organisations must maintain a separate and proper set of accounts and records for the projects and submit the progress and financial reports on a regular basis for the Secretariat's review.[14]

Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park [ edit ]

The Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park is owned by the Hong Kong Science and Technology Park ("HKSTP") in which initiation, operation and management is run by the HKSTP while inter-governmental arrangements were made by the "Joint Task Force on the Development of the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park" ("Joint Task Force").[15]

The Joint Task Force instigated an agreement between Hong Kong and Shenzhen to carry out an extensive study regarding the Lok Ma Chau Loop development ("Loop") in March 2008.[15] The HK-SZ IT Park is located at the Loop, occupying 87 hectares which were originally administered by Shenzhen. The study commenced in June 2009 and was completed in 2014.[15] Two stages of public engagement and consultation were conducted between 2010 and 2012.[15]

An agreements was signed between the two regions agreeing that the Loop would operate under the principles of "applying the laws and land administration system of the HKSAR"; "non-profit making"; and "friendly negotiation".[15]

Objectives [ edit ]

  • Benefit from national policy in IT development
  • The HK-SZ IT Park to serve as a "key base for co-operation in scientific research"[15]
  • Encourage scientific collaboration among Mainland and international institutes
  • Promote "re-industrialisation"[15]
  • Support and assists start-ups, small and medium enterprises
  • Create a "vibrant I&T ecosystem for various stakeholders in the government, industry, academic and research sectors"[15]

Mode of operation [ edit ]

  • Bi-annual meetings dedicated to the discussion of the development of the HK-SZ IT Park, additional meeting would be held if it is deemed necessary.
  • Relevant reports regarding the HK-SZ IT Park progress would be submitted to facilitate annual review[15]

Technology Voucher Programme [ edit ]

The Technology Voucher Programme ("TVP") was announced in the 2016- 2017 Budget and was launched under the Innovation and Technology Fund[16] to help the business development of small and medium enterprise ("SME"). The TVP backs "technological services and solutions"-related initiatives and projects to enhance the applicant’s business productivity.[17]

The initial TVP would be implemented for 3 years with $500 million, providing up to a $200,000 fund for each applicant on a 2:1 matching basis.[16] Funded projects are expected to be accomplished in a year while the fund would not cover the business operating costs.[16]

IT Venture Fund [ edit ]

The Bureau submitted proposal of Innovation and Technology Venture Fund to the Finance Committee at Legislative Council in 2016. According to the Document (FCR(2016–17)67),[18] the Fund is to encourage more private organisation, venture capital funds and angel investors to invest in I&T.

The Council finally approved HK$2 Billion to the Fund. The Innovation and Technology Venture Fund Corporation (ITVFC) was then set up. The Corporation will select venture capital funds and co-invest as Co-investment Partners in IT start-ups. The CP has the obligation to identify potential investee companies which qualify as Eligible Local IT Start-ups to the ITVFC for co-investment.

Further details as follows:[19]

  • Encourage more Venture Capital to invest in Hong Kong startups
  • Increase deal flow
  • Having an investment focus in IT start-ups
  • Having an investment coverage including Hong Kong
  • Having a minimum remaining committed capital of HK$120 million as at the date of application
  • Having a remaining fund life of at least five years to co-invest with the Corporation.
Selection Criteria
  • Background and experience of the investment team (15%)
  • Investment track record in IT (25%)
  • Strategic value and support that can be provided to the investee companies (30%)
  • Local resources, business network and contribution to the Hong Kong ecosystem (30%)
Operation of the Fund
  • ITVFC will act as passive investor, the VC Partner will make the decisions and do all due diligence
  • A master agreement will set out the rights and obligation of both parties for co-investment
  • Duration of Partnership ranging from 5 years to 12 years. if no investment is made within the first 5 years, the Agreement will lapse automatically
  • Not more than 40% of target investment or HK$40 million while aggregate amount will not exceed HK$50 million and aggregate co-investment amount will not exceed HK$400 million
  • ITVFC and the VC partners will invest and exit on the same term

*The application of first batch of the Fund started in 2017 and the deadline will be 15/1/2018. Therefore, the effectiveness of the Fund is yet to be evaluated.

Controversies [ edit ]

Dispute of Establishment of Bureau in Legislative Council [ edit ]

The Bureau had been advocated by former Chief Executive CY Leung in his campaign in 2012. His predecessor Donald Tsang submitted the bill to reform existing bureaus to establish Innovation and Technology Bureau. However, pan-democratic councilor found it offensive as the Chief Executive-elected intervene current administration and legislation. Therefore, they opposed against the bill. It has become political dispute in establishment of the Bureau. And the Bill was not passed.

After CY Leung’s inauguration, the bill of establishing the Bureau had been submitted twice to the Legislative Council. The Bill was originally passed in the Council. However, the pan-democratic councilors filibustered in the Finance Committee against the budget of establishing the Bureau because they were unhappy with the administration about rearranging the agenda of the meeting to prioritise the budget of the Bureau. The Bill was ineffective as the Finance Council could not pass the Budget on the designated time.

The Government submitted the Bill in 2015 again. Pan-democratic councilors filibustered in the Bill and the Budget in the beginning of the debate. However, it passed with the support of the majority of pro-establishment councilors. The Bureau was finally established after three submission of Bill.

Conflicting Role Against Steering Committee on Innovation and Technology [ edit ]

In October 2017, Chief Executive Carrie Lam promised to "personally lead a high-level, inter-departmental Steering Committee on Innovation and Technology to examine and steer measures under the eight areas of innovation and technology development as well as Smart City projects" (HKSAR, 2017, p. 28)[20] in her first Policy Address. The objective of the Steering Committee is to foster Hong Kong’s innovation and technology development expeditiously and efficiently.

According to the Enterprise Innovation (2017), the Steering Committee will bring more inter-departmental collaboration to speed up the development process of innovation and technology in Hong Kong. The Committee also creates a top-down approach to formulate policy instead of bottom-up approach which is believed that lacking support from the senior level executives hindering inter-departmental collaboration.

Compared to the hierarchy of Innovation and Technology Bureau, some people were worried[21] that the Steering Committee seems to have a higher level of status to override the function of the Bureau.

References [ edit ]

  1. ^ "Organisation Chart of the Government of the HKSAR". Hong Kong Government. 5 August 2016. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  2. ^ "Government announces appointment of Secretary for Innovation and Technology (with photo)". Innovation and Technology Bureau, Hong Kong. 20 November 2015.
  3. ^ Policy Address 1998 retrieved from
  4. ^ a b Cheung T. (7 November 2015). Questions and answers about Hong Kong’s new innovation and technology bureau. South China Morning Post. retrieved from
  5. ^ Ng K.C. (8 November 2015). Time to defrag Hong Kong's IT policies: Industry experts welcome approval of Innovation and Technology Bureau, offer ideas and direction. South China Morning Post.
  6. ^ "近半議員撐重推科技局 (Chinese only)". Oriental Daily. 11 October 2012
  7. ^ Policy Address 2014
  8. ^ The Legislative Council. (2014). Meeting Schedule, Voting Results and Records of Proceedings.
  9. ^ Lau S. (8 March 2015). Academic Nicholas Yang waits for his appointment as Hong Kong's new technology minister. South China Morning Post.
  10. ^ The Legislative Council. (2015). Meeting Schedule, Voting Results and Records of Proceedings.
  11. ^ Lau S. (19 July 2015). Funding for CY Leung's new innovation and technology bureau put on hold again. South China Morning Post.
  12. ^ Lau S. and Ng J. (17 October 2015). Expect filibustering as Hong Kong Innovation and Tech Bureau debate returns for a fourth time. South China Morning Post.
  13. ^ Funding for Innovation and Technology Bureau approved. (6 November 2015). Chinadaily.
  14. ^ a b c d HKSAR Government. (13 June 2016). 創新及科技局局長出席立法會資訊科技及廣播事務委員會會議簡介「創科生活基金」(只有中文)(Chinese only). Innovation and Technology Bureau.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park in the Lok Ma Chau Loop (2017). Hong Kong. Retrieved 2 December 2017, from
  16. ^ a b c Background brief on the Pilot Technology Voucher Programme and related Government procurement policy (2017). HKSAR. Retrieved 2 December 2017, from
  17. ^ Technology Voucher Programme (TVP). (2017). Retrieved 2 December 2017, from
  18. ^ Innovation and Technology Commission (2016) Item for Finance Committee: Innovation and Technology Fund Head 111- Innovation and Technology New Subhead "Innovation and Technology Venture Fund Corporation" retrieved from
  19. ^ Innovation and Technology Commission (2016) Innovation and Technology Venture Fund Frequently Asked Questions retrieved from[EN].pdf
  20. ^ Policy Address 2017 retrieved from
  21. ^ HKET (2017) retrieved from回應林鄭親掌創科督導委員會 楊偉雄否認被架空但認唔夠班
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