Nearly three in four (73%) Hong Kong executives believe that the city falls behind other developed cities in terms of fostering a technology and innovation culture, new research indicates.
A survey conducted by YouGov on behalf of CLP Holdings, JOS, Siemens and the Smart City Consortium found that nearly all business executive respondents believe fostering such a culture is critical for Hong Kong to remain successful.
Respondents also consider education and talent to be vital for Hong Kong's continued success, but only around a quarter believe that Hong Kong is leading in these areas.
The desire to improve Hong Kong’s technology and innovation culture is reflected in the respondents' views of the key qualities of a smart city, with digitalised, well-connected public services and the use of advanced technology among the top characteristics identified.
“This indicates a need for a future population equipped with the right skills and innovative drive to meet the needs of an increasingly complex, fast-changing environment,” commented Julian Vella (pictured, right), ASPAC regional head for KPMG China's global infrastructure advisory.
“In order to develop Hong Kong as a real smart city, it is necessary to create an innovative and technology-focused environment supported by the education system, which should also encourage more students to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs.”
The survey found that 83% of business executives believe encouraging creativity in the education system will be crucial to accelerating the development of research and education.
Survey respondents strongly support the Hong Kong/China/Macau Greater Bay Area initiative, with 80% agreeing that it will be important for Hong Kong's future prosperity. Nearly as many (74%) have the same view for China's Belt and Road initiative.
Meanwhile more than 80% of surveyed executives indicated that they expect to contribute to Hong Kong's smart city development. Likewise, 67% of Hong Kong executives agree that collaboration between the private and public sectors will be needed to improve the city's healthcare system.
“For a city to be smart, it needs to be conscious of the needs and wishes of its population, the economic interconnectedness of its businesses with surrounding regions, and the potential impact of technological developments,” Vella said.
“Above all, smart cities are about people. By placing its citizens at the core of decision-making, focusing on education and harnessing the city’s talent, Hong Kong can enable its population to innovate, drive growth and improve their quality of life.”
Moving forward, Vella sees a more concerted effort is needed to drive the city's smart city development, including developing a clearer vision of its smart city future, fostering greater citizen involvement, nurturing a culture that encourages new thinking and ideas, providing a better living environment to attract and retain talent, and further strengthening the city's connectivity with China and South East Asia.
"Risk taking mentality is essential if you want to grow and compete. You can't move forward unless you are prepared for failure," he said.