PRESS COVERAGE
  • The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region should take a three-pronged approach to find its place in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, and its participation in this national development blueprint should be guided by adhering to the “one country, two systems” policy. This was a key message at the recent Greater Bay Area Conference. The conference, GBA: The Way Forward, organized by China Daily and the Silk Road Economic Development Research Center, was held on Nov 18. Over 400 people including government officials, business leaders and members of academia exchanged their views on how to enhance collaboration among all sectors in the Hong Kong and Macao SARs and Guangdong province. “It is time that we prepare the way forward for Hong Kong in this exciting region. I see three parts to this preparation, which are research, messaging and community engagement,” Leung Chun-ying, vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, said in his address. Leung said through research, the city can give the most comprehensive and factual understanding of the latest developments and policy publications in all sectors and in all cities in the Bay Area. The second stage, messaging, is to broadcast the results of the research findings comprehensively, effectively and objectively. The final step is community engagement, such as in schools, professional bodies, trade industries and investment communities aiming to change mindsets and attitudes. Leung added that Hong Kong can facilitate collaboration between mainland scientists and Hong Kong investors to bring new capital to laboratories and startups on the mainland. The city also can facilitate direct contacts between businesses and government. Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor pointed out some important principles in guiding Hong Kong’s participation in the Bay Area blueprint. “First, adherence to the ‘one country, two systems’ policy,” she said in her speech. “The Bay Area should leverage this unique arrangement of ‘one country, two systems’, three customs jurisdictions, three legal systems, etc. It should also emphasize mutual cooperation and win-win arrangements to minimize unhelpful competition while synergy should be created.” Innovation and technology should be put at the top of our agenda, the chief executive added. This calls for out-of-the-box thinking in Hong Kong’s cooperation with the mainland cities, particularly Shenzhen, Lam said. Hong Kong should play a more proactive role in identifying new opportunities for joint actions. And finally, greater emphasis should be placed on supporting young people and nurturing talent. Zhou Shuchun, a member of the Standing Committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and China Daily publisher and editor-in-chief, said via a video link from Beijing: “The central government’s new dual-circulation development program is expected to mark a major shift in the country’s economic strategy, and the 11-city cluster in the Bay Area will, doubtless, play a key role in it.” Annie Wu Suk-ching, honorary chairwoman of Beijing Air Catering, said Hong Kong can utilize its professional expatriates and expertise in finance, international litigation and mergers and acquisitions to bring overseas businesses to Hong Kong first before they start doing business in the Bay Area. The city can also bring technologies from overseas institutions into the Bay Area by using Hong Kong as a stepping-stone. “This was always a useful and important role for Hong Kong in the past, as it is in the present and also will be in the future,” Wu said. The conference included three panel discussions to discuss healthcare sector development in the Bay Area, the role of technology infrastructure as the new engine of economic growth and the role of Hong Kong in the Bay Area blueprint. Business and government leaders taking part in the discussions said Hong Kong should use its strengths as it takes up a larger role. “Hong Kong’s role as an international financial center will not change. But what we do in the Bay Area should change,” said CK Chan, chairman of WeLab Bank and senior advisor of WeLab, WeLab Ltd. Although the neighboring city of Shenzhen has developed its own financial market, Hong Kong still plays a vital part in the market, Chan said. But Chan noted that Hong Kong should do more to facilitate the connectivity of financial markets between Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland so that Bay Area residents have greater access to financial services in the SAR. He emphasized the importance of developing fintech as the future of financial development in Hong Kong. “In the future, the competitiveness of the financial industry will not just be defined by the number of initial public offerings. It will also be defined by how technology can really help you do financing and help you do investing and fundraising,” Chan said. Witman Hung, principal liaison officer for Hong Kong at the Shenzhen Qianhai Authority, compared Hong Kong with Shenzhen, a role model of reform and opening-up in the country, saying it is time for Hong Kong “to reform and open up” as well. “We have been so complacent about our system. We think it’s perhaps the best in the world. Maybe it is. But still there’s room for improvement,” he said. As the country now makes great efforts to promote the “dual-circulation” development pattern, Hong Kong should take full advantage of its edges to fit itself into the national strategy, Hung said. The “dual-circulation” model makes the domestic market as the mainstay while allowing domestic and foreign markets to boost each other. Hung added that one thing that Hong Kong can do is attract more talent through the city’s strong academic competence and internationalized environment. Allan Zeman, chairman of Lan Kwai Fong Group, said he believes the most important thing for Hong Kong is to think positively. “From past to present, we build brands in Hong Kong and we take them to the whole country. And these brands of Hong Kong are something accepted worldwide,” he said. “Now when we talk about the Bay Area, we’re talking about an incredible market with 72 million people and a GDP of US$1.68 trillion, which is mind-boggling. Our brands from Hong Kong will continue (to grow) and (we should) look beyond the city’s 7.5 million people. Look at one big global Eastern market.” Zeman said the recent signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership by 15 Asia-Pacific countries would shift the global business landscape. “The power of the West is going to come to the East. In the past, Hong Kong was always looking to and learning from the West. But now we can see the East is where the future is. The system here works, and it’s really something Hong Kong can benefit from,” he said. “If you want to make money and you want to really be successful, I urge you to come back to Hong Kong, and this will be the place where you’ll thrive.” Other panelists called for greater collaboration between Bay Area cities to promote integrated development of the southern region. Steve Chuang, deputy chairman of the Federation of Hong Kong Industries, said the manufacturing sector in Hong Kong has adopted a “4R” strategy — response, reset, revive and reinvent — in the past two years to deal with various problems arising from the trade tensions and the coronavirus pandemic. He said the Bay Area will become a home market for Hong Kong companies, as they are now selling to the mainland some products that they used to export to overseas countries. Wang Peng, assistant to the president at Wuyi University in Jiangmen, pins high hopes on the prospect of Hong Kong-Jiangmen cooperation. “Many Hong Kong people’s ancestral homes are in Jiangmen, and these kinds of connections have tied Jiangmen and Hong Kong closely,” Wang said.
    2020-11-23
  • The epic fight against the coronavirus pandemic and the public’s growing healthcare needs in the face of perennial issues like an aging population demand high-level intergovernmental collaboration and coordination across the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. The call came from industry leaders and experts at a panel discussion themed “Reshaping Healthcare Sector amid COVID-19”, held as part of the Greater Bay Area Conference — GBA: The Way Forward co-organized by China Daily and the Silk Road Economic Development Research Center in Hong Kong on Nov 18. They visualized the role that ever-changing technology can play in making the next big story unfold in the healthcare business. “For most Asian and Chinese-speaking areas, the healthcare delivery system is typically and continues to be a high or ultra-high volume system, which means fairly high vulnerability to cross-infection in the face of an epidemic like COVID-19. This is the pre-existing condition for healthcare services in the Bay Area,” said Ko Wing-man, former secretary for food and health of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government. The implication, therefore, will be reflected in the continued adoption of various people flow control and infection control measures in different healthcare sectors, even when the pandemic is to cease, in whatever sense, he said. “The healthcare system must adjust and define the set of baseline infection control measures and be prepared to maintain them for a much longer period of time,” Ko noted. “The continued adoption of stringent infection control and social-distancing measures is certainly a strong driver for the development and adoption of innovation and technology-based, innovative models of care delivery. Such initiatives are indeed well underway.” Meanwhile, cross-boundary teleconsultation services, together with a structured delivery of medical supplies, are also underway. “The provision of teleconsultation and high levels of the so-called tiered medical care services would require further innovations, such as the establishment of teleconsultation centers in different Bay Area cities with video conferencing and diagnostics support,” Ko said. However, at present, there are still unresolved barriers or difficulties. In the context of medical, legal liability and professional patents, “it would be timely for governments of the Bay Area cities, including Hong Kong, to come together and establish the legal and professional framework to facilitate the development of I&T and an artificial intelligence-based new model of delivery of healthcare services”, Ko added. Clifford Pang Lun-kee, president of Clifford Group and Clifford Hospital, said the development of healthcare services in the Bay Area reinforces the theme of closer collaboration across the region. “Both the Guangdong municipal government and the HKSAR government need to formulate policies for the development of healthcare services in the Bay Area to bolster such a vision,” he urged. He believes that Hong Kong’s biggest competitive edges in the healthcare sector lie in its “international practices, advanced technology and high-end medical service experiences”. For the Chinese mainland, whose medical industry has undergone more than two decades of development, it is well on its way to “tiered diagnosis and treatment, complete discipline construction, advanced technology, international service standards, as well as better healthcare and disease-prevention services as required by the public”, Pang said. In recent years, the nation has bankrolled sterling efforts in information and intelligence technologies that could essentially blaze a new trail in the healthcare sector and meet the growing healthcare needs of the public. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the disruptive technologies have waved magic wands at the forefront of the fight against the virus, with many internet platform-based medical enterprises offering teleconsultations through their WeChat official accounts, mobile applications and online platforms. Anthony Wu Ting-yuk, a member of the Standing Committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, highlighted the sheer power of technology. He said the very first thing that came to his mind at the panel discussion was technology. But he was also concerned that Hong Kong may lag behind in such a field. Unlike the mainland where telemedicine has played a significant role in serving patients and medicines are delivered all the way to doorsteps because of powerful logistics support, Hong Kong is still deemed a tiny, densely-populated city with no need for all sorts of things. Wu firmly believes that Hong Kong experts should put their heads together to think about how they could take advantage of the technology of telemedicine and how logistics could better support telemedicine. Wilson Tang, chief executive of BOC Group Life Assurance Co Ltd, told the conference that perennial issues such as aging population will be a big push for the healthcare and medical insurance businesses. He recalled that in the 1980s, a larger part of Hong Kong’s working population had ever-increasing productivity. However, demographics show that what the city faces today is a growing population which will retire soon. Based on that projection, in the next 20 years, people aged above 65 will account for 30 percent of Hong Kong’s population, and the working population will be much smaller than those nearing retirement because of the city’s low birth rate. The mainland is also facing the same problem, he said. Among the thousands of people who made a beeline to ground zero of the coronavirus outbreak to join the battle against the virus in Wuhan, Hong Kong businessman Tse Chun-ming hit the road all the way to Wuhan from Hong Kong on Jan 22 — the day when he learned that the Hubei provincial capital would be shut down. Tse, in his 60s and chairman of Hong Kong Asia Medical Holdings, founded the Wuhan Asia General Hospital in 2018 and the Wuhan Asia Heart Hospital in 1999. At the forum, his son Steven Tse Siu-kei, general manager of Wuhan Asia General Hospital, shared memories of the arduous battle against the pandemic, saying he is grateful to the HKSAR government and numerous organizations for their support during the crisis. Meanwhile, China’s efforts to expedite technology infrastructure construction have shown remarkable results and empowered digitalization to become a new driving force of economic growth, experts and business executives said. The digital economy’s contribution to GDP growth in the United States and South Korea has exceeded 91.8 percent and 100.8 percent, respectively, according to a report from the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology. The percentage is about 60 percent in China, Germany, Britain, France, and India. Ba Shusong, managing director and chief China economist at Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd, said that digital related industries have become an essential component of the global economy. The boom in e-commerce, online education, and online medical services amid the COVID-19 outbreak also reflected digitalization’s important role in boosting domestic consumption, he noted. He said that China’s online retail sales reached 8 trillion yuan (US$1.2 trillion) in the first nine months of 2020, increasing 9.7 percent year-on-year. Ashley Galina Dudarenok, founder of China-focused social media agency Alarice, and China insights and training company ChoZan, described living on the Chinese mainland as “living in the world beyond tomorrow”, thanks to the wide application of new technologies. She mentioned the use of virtual anchors and virtual livestreamers during the nationwide Double 11 Shopping Festival. The Bay Area is leading the way in technology infrastructure. Gordon Guo, deputy head of the internet and enterprise solution division at China Mobile Hong Kong, said that the company’s 5G service had covered 94 percent of the urban area in Hong Kong and more than 80 percent of the population. AI also plays an important part in new infrastructure and the Fourth Industrial Revolution, said Max Yuan, founder, chairman and CEO of Xiao-i, a leading artificial intelligence technology company in China. He stressed that it is not only about one industry, or only to create new industries, but that AI can serve as an enabler to transform and upgrade conventional industries. Allen Yeung, former government chief information officer, founder and CEO of Intelli Global Corp Ltd, a big-data analytics services company, noted that under urbanization, cities are overloaded with people, creating issues such as infectious diseases and pollution. Hence, to develop a smart city under the new infrastructure push will provide a better and smarter way for the government to manage the city, Yeung said. But an appropriate framework and standards are missing for different cities to summarize and replicate their experiences and practices, he said. Tony Tsang, CEO of DYXnet Group, a carrier-neutral network service provider, thinks the Bay Area has similar resources to Silicon Valley, where a lot of the cities are very effective, and have a clear division of labor, from manufacturing and technology to software development. He believes that with Hong Kong’s international vision and renowned experience in financial services, the city can contribute to the strategic financial planning in new infrastructure development.
    2020-11-23
  • Hong Kong should use its strengths to play a bigger role in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and fit itself into the country’s “dual- circulation” development pattern, business and government leaders told a forum in Hong Kong on Wednesday. They made the remarks at a panel discussion titled “Will Hong Kong Change Its Role in the Greater Bay Area?”, part of the Greater Bay Area Conference held in Hong Kong on Wednesday. The conference, with the theme “GBA: The Way Forward”, was co-organized by China Daily and the Silk Road Economic Development Research Center. “Hong Kong’s role as an international financial center will not change. But what we do in the Bay Area should change,” said KC Chan, chairman of WeLab Bank and senior advisor of WeLab Ltd. Although the neighboring city of Shenzhen has developed its own financial market, Hong Kong still plays a vital part in the market, Chan said. The development of Shenzhen’s financial market is largely a way for companies in the country to get funding from domestic investors, while the role of Hong Kong lies in helping these companies get capital from overseas, he said. “So Hong Kong’s role in that regard will not change even though there’s a growing domestic financial market in Shenzhen,” he added. But Chan also noted that Hong Kong should do more to facilitate the connectivity of financial markets between Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland so that Bay Area residents have greater access to financial services in the special administrative region. He also emphasized the importance of developing fintech as the future of financial development in Hong Kong. “In the future, the competitiveness of the financial industry will not just be defined by the number of initial public offerings. It will also be defined by how technology can really help you do financing and help you do investing and fundraising,” Chan said. Witman Hung, principal liaison officer for Hong Kong at the Shenzhen Qianhai Authority, compared Hong Kong with Shenzhen, a role model of reform and opening-up in the country, saying it’s time for Hong Kong “to reform and open up” as well. “We have been so complacent about our system. We think it’s perhaps the best in the world. Maybe it is. But still there’s room for improvement,” he said. As the country now makes great efforts to promote the “dual-circulation” development pattern, Hong Kong should take full advantage of its edges to fit itself into the national strategy, Hung said. The “dual-circulation” model makes the domestic market as the mainstay while allowing domestic and foreign markets to boost each other. It was presented by the Chinese top leadership earlier this year to build up its economic resilience and that of the world. One thing that the city excels in is design, branding and advertising, Hung said. “When we do domestic circulation, we need to upgrade the value of our brands. All our internal circulation is based on Taobao. It’s not going to support the GDP, so we need to move up the value chain for our mainland products,” he said. Hong Kong, which has been helping international brands with design, branding and advertising, has talent in this area, he said. Hung added that another thing that Hong Kong can do is attract more talent through the city’s strong academic competence and internationalized environment. Allan Zeman, chairman of Lan Kwai Fong Group, said he believes that the most important thing for Hong Kong to do is to think positively instead of negatively. “From past to present, we build brands in Hong Kong and we take them to the whole country. And these brands of Hong Kong are something accepted worldwide,” he said. “Now when we talk about the Bay Area, we’re talking about an incredible market with 72 million people and a GDP of $1.68 trillion, which is mind-boggling. Our brands from Hong Kong will continue (to grow) and (we should) look beyond the city’s 7.5 million people. Look at one big global Eastern market.” Zeman also said the recent signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership by 15 Asia-Pacific countries marked the establishment of the world’s largest trading bloc and would shift the global business landscape. “The power of the West is going to come to the East. In the past, Hong Kong was always looking to and learning from the West. But now we can see the East is where the future is. The system here works, and it’s really something Hong Kong can benefit from,” he said. “If you want to make money and you want to really be successful, I urge you to come back to Hong Kong, and this will be the place where you’ll thrive.” Other panelists called for greater collaboration between Bay Area cities to promote integrated development of the southern region. Steve Chuang, deputy chairman of the Federation of Hong Kong Industries, said that the manufacturing sector in Hong Kong has adopted a “4R” strategy — response, reset, revive and reinvent — in the past two years to deal with various problems arising from the trade tensions and the coronavirus pandemic. He said the Bay Area will become a home market for Hong Kong companies, as they are now selling to the mainland some products that they used to export to overseas countries. Wang Peng, assistant to the president at Wuyi University in Jiangmen, pins high hopes on the prospect of Hong Kong-Jiangmen cooperation. Located on the western periphery of the Bay Area and separated from the Pearl River estuary by its neighboring cities, Zhongshan and Zhuhai, Jiangmen — one of the nine Bay Area cities on the mainland — is known as the hometown of countless emigrants who live in over 100 countries and regions throughout the world. “Many Hong Kong people’s ancestral homes are in Jiangmen, and these kind of connections have tied Jiangmen and Hong Kong closely,” Wang said. “We can see increasing investment from overseas to Jiangmen in the past several years,” Wang said. “With comparatively low land and labor prices, I believe Jiangmen will be a good place for Hong Kong investors to test some new investment models first.”
    2020-11-19
  • Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor joined national and local leaders on Wednesday at a forum to explore ways for the city to heighten its role in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. Greater Bay Area Conference: The Way Forward, organized by China Daily and the Silk Road Economic Development Research Center, attracted over 400 people including government officials, business leaders and members of academia to share and exchange their views on how to enhance collaboration among all sectors in the Hong Kong and Macao SARs and Guangdong province. Lam pointed out some important principles in guiding Hong Kong’s participation in the Bay Area blueprint. “First, adherence to the ‘one country, two systems’ policy,” she said in her speech. “The Bay Area should leverage this unique arrangement of ‘one country, two systems’, three customs jurisdictions, three legal systems, etc. It should also emphasize mutual cooperation and win-win arrangements to minimize unhelpful competition while synergy should be created.” Innovation and technology should be put at the top of our agenda, the chief executive added. This calls for out-of-the-box thinking in Hong Kong’s cooperation with the mainland cities, particularly Shenzhen, Lam said. Hong Kong should play a more proactive role in identifying new opportunities for joint actions. And finally, greater emphasis should be placed on supporting young people and nurturing talent. “It is time that we prepare the way forward for Hong Kong in this exciting region. I see three parts to this preparation, which are research, messaging and community engagement,” Leung Chun-ying, vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, said in his address. Leung said through research, the city can give the most comprehensive and factual understanding of the latest developments and policy publications in all sectors and in all cities in the Bay Area. The second stage, messaging, is to broadcast the results of the research findings comprehensively, effectively and objectively. The final step is community engagement, such as in schools, professional bodies, trade industries and investment communities aiming to change mindsets and attitudes, he said. Leung added that Hong Kong can facilitate collaboration between mainland scientists and Hong Kong investors to bring new capital to laboratories and startups on the mainland. The city also can facilitate direct contacts between businesses and government, such as linking Hong Kong businesses and mainland municipal governments, broadening such connections and intensifying relationships. Zhou Shuchun, a member of the Standing Committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and China Daily publisher and editor-in-chief, said via a video link from Beijing, “The central government’s new dual-circulation development program is expected to mark a major shift in the country’s economic strategy, and the 11-city cluster in the Bay Area will, doubtless, play a key role in it.” Annie Wu Suk-ching, honorary chairman of Beijing Air Catering, said Hong Kong can utilize its professional expatriates and expertise in finance, international litigation and mergers and acquisitions to bring overseas businesses to Hong Kong first before they start doing business in the Bay Area. The city can also bring technologies from overseas institutions into the Bay Area by using Hong Kong as a steppingstone. “This was always a useful and important role for Hong Kong in the past, as it is in the present and also will be in the future,” Wu said. The conference included three panel discussions to discuss healthcare sector development in the Bay Area, the role of technology infrastructure as the new engine of economic growth and the role of Hong Kong in the Bay Area blueprint.
    2020-11-19
  • China’s efforts to expedite technology infrastructure construction have shown remarkable results and empowered digitalization to become a new driving force of economic growth, experts and business executives said. The digital economy’s contribution to GDP growth in the United States and South Korea has exceeded 91.8 percent and 100.8 percent respectively, according to a report from the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology. The percentage is about 60 percent in China, Germany, Britain, France, and India. Ba Shusong, managing director and chief China economist at Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd, said at the Greater Bay Area Conference in Hong Kong on Wednesday that digital related industries have become an essential component of the global economy. The boom in e-commerce, online education, and online medical services amid the COVID-19 outbreak also reflected digitalization’s important role in boosting domestic consumption, he noted. He said that China’s online retail sales reached 8 trillion yuan (US$1.2 trillion) in the first nine months of 2020, increasing 9.7 percent year-on-year. His advice to seize the opportunities is to build information and data centers as data will become the “oil” in the digital-economy era, and to further promote the application of innovative digital technologies in business scenarios. Ashley Galina Dudarenok, founder of China-focused social media agency Alarice, and China insights and training company ChoZan, described living on the Chinese mainland as “living in the world beyond tomorrow”, thanks to the wide application of new technologies. She mentioned the use of virtual anchors and virtual livestreamers during the nationwide Double 11 Shopping Festival. She called on companies in Hong Kong and Macao to make good use of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area’s connectivity as a window into the future. Taking e-commerce as an example, she emphasized it is about building an ecosystem, rather than just selling things online. “If a company wants to sell (something), they can plug into this ecosystem which can provide software, hardware, data analytics, financing, smart manufacturing, smart logistics etc.,” she explained. “In the Bay Area, we will be able not only to be part of this ecosystem but also to export potentially into the rest of the world.” The Bay Area is leading the way in technology infrastructure. Gordon Guo, deputy head of the internet and enterprise solution division at China Mobile Hong Kong, said that the company’s 5G service had covered 94 percent of the urban area in Hong Kong and more than 80 percent of the population. He said the Bay Area has a comprehensive range of industries, including finance, manufacturing and tourism, so it is “a very good scenario and environment (in which) to apply the new-generation communication technologies.” AI also plays an important part in new infrastructure and the Fourth Industrial Revolution, said Max Yuan, founder, chairman and CEO of Xiao-i, a leading artificial intelligence technology company in China. He stressed that it is not only about one industry, or only to create new industries, but that AI can serve as an enabler to transform and upgrade conventional industries. “New infrastructure is not just about online businesses or smart cities. It is about how all industries can embrace new technology and create more value through transformation and upgrades.” One challenge, Yuan said, is about how to apply a new concept or technology to people’s daily lives and to vest it with real business value, instead of empty talks with investors. There are many application scenarios for AI technology, from unqualified parts sorting in a factory and temperature control in a farm, to the interaction between government and residents in public services, Yuan said, “It is not something that we can only see in the future. We can realize them now.” Hence, Yuan said it is a critical moment for the Bay Area, China and the world to transform industries and integrate AI into scenarios like “air and water”. “If we move forward, we can create a huge impact during the process of transformation and upgrades.” Allen Yeung, former government chief information officer, founder and CEO of Intelli Global Corp Ltd, a big-data analytics services company, noted that under urbanization, cities are overloaded with people, creating issues such as infectious diseases and pollution. Hence, to develop a smart city under the new infrastructure push will provide a better and smarter way for the government to manage the city, Yeung said. But an appropriate framework and standards are missing for different cities to summarize and replicate their experiences and practices, he said. “We need different frameworks in terms of how we adapt innovation,” Yeung stressed. Innovation tends to push the boundaries of rules and regulations, he said. “So we cannot just sit and do nothing without changing such rules and regulations.” Tony Tsang, CEO of DYXnet Group, a carrier-neutral network service provider, thinks the Bay Area has similar resources to Silicon Valley, where a lot of the cities are very effective, and have a clear division of labor, from manufacturing and technology to software development. He believes that with Hong Kong’s international vision and renowned experience in financial services, the city can contribute to the strategic financial planning in new infrastructure development.
    2020-11-19
  • The epic fight against the coronavirus pandemic and the public’s growing healthcare needs in the face of perennial issues like an aging population demand high-level intergovernmental collaboration and coordination across the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. The call came from industry leaders and experts at a panel discussion themed “Reshaping Healthcare Sector amid COVID-19”, held as part of the Greater Bay Area Conference — GBA: The Way Forward co-organized by China Daily and the Silk Road Economic Development Research Center in Hong Kong on Wednesday. They visualized the role that ever-changing technology can play in making the next big story unfold in the healthcare business. “For most Asian and Chinese-speaking areas, the healthcare delivery system is typically and continues to be a high or ultra-high volume system, which means fairly high vulnerability to cross-infection in the face of an epidemic like COVID-19. This is the pre-existing condition for healthcare services in the Bay Area,” said Ko Wing-man, former secretary for food and health of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government. The implication, therefore, will be reflected in the continued adoption of various people flow control and infection control measures in different healthcare sectors, even when the pandemic is to cease, in whatever sense, he said. “The healthcare system must adjust and define the set of baseline infection control measures and be prepared to maintain them for a much longer period of time,” Ko noted. “The continued adoption of stringent infection control and social distancing measures is certainly a strong driver for the development and adoption of innovation and technology-based, innovative models of care delivery. Such initiatives are indeed well underway.” At the primary-care level, there’re already operators providing such services on the Chinese mainland or in the United Kingdom, either directly to client members or captured populations assigned by national or district healthcare authorities, he said. “Whether it could gain popularity against a background of conveniently available primary-care providers locally in the community remains a question”. Advantages and challenges Meanwhile, cross-boundary teleconsultation services, together with a structured delivery of medical supplies, are also underway. “The provision of teleconsultation and high levels of the so-called tiered medical care services would require further innovations, such as the establishment of teleconsultation centers in different Bay Area cities with video conferencing and diagnostics support,” Ko said. However, at present, there’re still unresolved barriers or difficulties. In the context of medical, legal liability and professional patents, “it would be timely for governments of the Bay Area cities, including Hong Kong, to come together and establish the legal and professional framework to facilitate the development of I&T and an artificial intelligence-based new model of delivery of healthcare services”, Ko added. Clifford Pang Lun-kee, president of Clifford Group and Clifford Hospital, said the development of healthcare services in the Bay Area reinforces the theme of closer collaboration across the region. “Both the Guangdong municipal government and the HKSAR government need to formulate policies for the development of healthcare services in the Bay Area to bolster such vision,” he urged. He believes that Hong Kong’s biggest competitive edges in the healthcare sector lie in its “international practices, advanced technology and high-end medical service experiences”. For the Chinese mainland, whose medical industry has undergone more than two decades of development, it is well on its way to “tiered diagnosis and treatment, complete discipline construction, advanced technology, international service standards, as well as better healthcare and disease prevention services as required by the public”, Pang said. In recent years, the nation has bankrolled sterling efforts in information and intelligence technologies that could essentially blaze a new trail in the healthcare sector and meet the growing healthcare needs of the public. Technology key to development Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the disruptive technologies have waved magic wands at the forefront of the fight against the virus, with many internet platform-based medical enterprises offering teleconsultations through their WeChat official accounts, mobile applications and online platforms. “These online services have reduced the massive influx of patients into the hospitals, minimized the risk of healthcare-associated infections in hospitals and saved excessive use of medical resources,” Pang noted. Anthony Wu Ting-yuk, a member of the Standing Committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, highlighted the sheer power of technology. He said the very first thing that came to his mind at the panel discussion was technology. But he was also concerned that Hong Kong may lag behind in such a field. Unlike the mainland where telemedicine has played a significant role in serving patients and medicines are delivered all the way to doorsteps because of powerful logistic support, Hong Kong is still deemed a tiny, densely-populated city with no need for all sorts of things. Wu firmly believes that Hong Kong experts should put their heads together to think about how they could take advantage of the technology of telemedicine and how logistics could better support telemedicine. Wilson Tang, chief executive of BOC Group Life Assurance Co Ltd, told the conference that perennial issues such as aging population will be a big push for the healthcare and medical insurance businesses. He recalled that in the 1980s, a larger part of Hong Kong’s working population had ever-increasing productivity. However, demographics show that what the city is facing today is a growing population who will retire soon. Based on that projection, in the next 20 years, people aged above 65 will account for 30 percent of Hong Kong’s population, and the working population will be much smaller than those nearing retirement because of the city’s low birth rate. The mainland is also facing the same problem, he said. Among the thousands of people who made a beeline to ground zero of the coronavirus outbreak to join the battle against the virus in Wuhan, Hong Kong businessman Tse Chun-ming hit the road all the way to Wuhan from Hong Kong on Jan 22 — the day when he learned that the Hubei provincial capital would be shut down. Tse, in his 60s and chairman of Hong Kong Asia Medical Holdings, founded the Wuhan Asia General Hospital in 2018 and the Wuhan Asia Heart Hospital in 1999. At the forum, his son Steven Tse Siu-kei, general manager of Wuhan Asia General Hospital, shared memories of the arduous battle against the pandemic, saying he’s grateful to the HKSAR government and numerous organizations for their support during the crisis. “During the 78 days, we received more than 8,000 patients, including 821 COVID-19 patients who were taken to our hospital. Furthermore, we co-managed a module hospital which admitted more than 1,000 patients and with a zero death rate and zero infection among our medical staff,” he said in a pre-recorded video from Wuhan.
    2020-11-19
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