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Legco Viewpoint
Blueprint to Build a Smarter City

The SAR Government recently released its Smart City Blueprint for Hong Kong. The blueprint maps out development plans for the next five years  with the aim of enhancing the effectiveness of city management and improving Hong Kong's sustainability by making use of innovation and technology (I&T). 

This move has demonstrated the Government's determination to build Hong Kong into a more liveable smart city. The next step is to roll out concrete policy measures, including pushing forward tax reforms and enlisting a wide range of talent to help implement the policies. 

According to the development plans, the Government will launch various projects in six major areas – mobility, living, environment, people, government and economy. These projects include a Faster Payment System, an electronic identity system and a pilot Multi-functional Smart Lampposts Scheme. 

Meanwhile, the Government has set a goal to double the gross domestic expenditure on research and development (R&D) as a percentage of GDP from 0.73% to 1.5% in the next five years. Tax deductions for R&D expenditure will also be introduced to encourage start-ups and SMEs to participate in the development of innovation and technology.

To ensure these efforts are fully carried out, it is imperative for the Government to formulate concrete plans. In terms of tax reforms, it should review the tax system more proactively and refer to efforts made by other economies to encourage investment. 

Take Singapore as an example. Under the city-state's Productivity and Innovation Credit Scheme, local businesses can enjoy up to 400% tax deductions or allowances for qualifying expenditure. Hong Kong can learn from these tax concessions as ways to attract foreign investment to help develop our local I&T sector.  

The development of a smart city, on the other hand, requires participation and support from the business sector. For instance, carrying out technology projects set out in the blueprint will require expertise in R&D, manufacturing and operation from enterprises and research institutes.

The business sector can nurture domestic and foreign I&T talent to actively take part in the development of the blueprint, with a view to engaging people and enhancing the efficiency of city life.   

Building a smart city has become a prevailing trend among advanced cities. In view of this, Hong Kong must not lag behind. We must do our utmost to catch up. The Government must put the plans in the blueprint in place and encourage more participation  from the business sector, so that a smart Hong Kong is within our grasp.

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