Innovation for Hong Kong's Upward Social Mobility

20 Sweden Finland Singapore Hong Kong Israel Mainland China 2014 43 12,663 6,093 2,581 279 6,055 22,473 12,967 5,510 2,605 343 6,391 27,656 2016 45 12,315 5,543 2,880 341 6,724 34,377 Table 3.1 The Number of PCT International Applications that have Entered the National/Regional Level Published by the WIPO 3.1.2 Incoherent policies and insufficient coordination: In terms of technology and innovation industries, Hong Kong has long lacked consistent leadership and coordination in terms of policies and funding. This can be traced back to before the handover in 1997. The Applied Research Fund (ARF) was established in 1993 as a government-owned venture capital. The initial asset value held was HK$750 million (approximately US$96 million)49. The ARF aims to foster R&D activities with local commercial potentials. However, due to the poor performance under the management of officials, its business was transferred to a private venture capital company in 1998. Although the government had tried to shut it down due to continuous high losses, its demise hardly attracted the attention of stakeholders. As of June 2004, the ARF had been listed as an important part of Hong Kong’s innovation system in the consultation document of the Innovation and Technology Commission, but continued losses had forced the ARF to stop investing since March 200550. Cases of poor innovation resource management are not rare. According to a report issued by Our Hong Kong Foundation at the end of 2018, the government’s R&D funding mechanism is too fragmented, and the approval process is usually lengthy and inflexible51. The government has five agencies that are mainly responsible for approving and allocating funding, 43 WIPO, Patent Cooperation Treaty Yearly Review 2018, 44 WIPO, Patent Cooperation Treaty Yearly Review 2018, 45 WIPO, Patent Cooperation Treaty Yearly Review 2020, 46 WIPO, Patent Cooperation Treaty Yearly Review 2020, 47 WIPO, Patent Cooperation Treaty Yearly Review 2020, 48 WIPO, World Intellectual Property Indicators 2020, 49 Hong Kong LEGCO. (n.d.). Legislative Council Panel on Commerce and Industry The Applied Research Fund. The Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. 50 Hong Kong journal. (n.d.). Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. 51 OHKF. (2019, December 10). OHKF innovation and technology research report initiates to unleash Hong Kong’s potential as an international research and development powerhouse. OUR HONG KONG FOUNDATION. 3 Challenges for the Development of Hong Kong’s Technology and Innovation Industries