Innovation for Hong Kong's Upward Social Mobility

21 52 Innovation Policy and the Limits of Laissez-faire: Hong Kong’s Policy in Comparative Perspective. Front Cover. Dr Douglas B. Fuller. Palgrave Macmillan, 2010 53 Shih C., Chen SH. (2010) On Reform of Hong Kong’s Public Research Funding System. In: Fuller D.B. (eds) Innovation Policy and the Limits of Laissez-faire. Palgrave Macmillan, London. including the Innovation and Technology Commission (ITC), the Research Grants Council (RGC) of the University Grants Committee (UGC), and the Food and Health Bureau, etc. However, there is insufficient coordination among these agencies, which often leads to resource overlaps and policy mismatches. In addition, the average processing time required by the ITC to approve projects from its five research centers may take 158 to 222 days, which substantially limits the R&D efficiency of organizations and private companies. 3.1.3 Laissez-faire economic policies: Basically, the reasons for the lack of willingness to implement the above-mentioned policies and fund management can be attributed to a fundamental reason, that is, the government has adopted laissez-faire economic policies in the past to foster Hong Kong’s economic development. Taking into account the colonial history of Hong Kong as a trading center 52, coupled with the government’s long-standing aversion to active intervention in market mechanisms, this laissezfaire and positive non-intervention policy has resulted in a poorly-developed innovation system. After the handover, the government played a passive role in fostering Hong Kong to become an international market participant. Therefore, the diversity and scope of Hong Kong’s innovation system has been dwarfed by that of many other small economies53. Singapore, for example, has been actively fostering technology development well before 1990. Since then, Singapore has continuously improved its long-term strategic positioning to enhance the R&D image of Singapore companies. Hence, improving the level and mechanism of innovation governance is the key to the successful implementation of R&D policies. 3 Challenges for the Development of Hong Kong’s Technology and Innovation Industries