Questing for entrepreneurship and innovation for enhancing global competitiveness in Hong Kong : academic reflections

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In view of uncertain times, Hong Kong, aspiring to continue as an international world city in Asia, has confronted increasing economic, social, and political challenges since it became the special administrative region of China in 1997. In the 2014–2015 budget, the financial secretary of the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (the Hong Kong government, hereafter) made a remark that Hong Kong has reached a critical juncture and thus people in the city-state should work together to prepare for the future, to strengthen further the solid foundation relied upon, “four traditional economic pillars”—financial services, trade and logistics, tourism, and professional and other service industries. Yet these industries are facing ever-mounting challenges from regional competitors such as Shenzhen, Shanghai, and Singapore in recent years. Its strive for becoming a knowledge economy has become even more acute after the 1997 handover and the Asian financial crisis in 1997–1998, when sustainability of Hong Kong’s finance-centered economy was questioned. Being too heavily dependent on finance and trade, the role of the government in promoting research and development (R and D) has been criticized for being insufficient to compete with other nearby countries. The Hong Kong government used to assume technological development to be a linear process and that innovation will spread from upstream scientific research by universities to downstream commercialization process by enterprises. Hence, it simply acted as an infrastructure builder and funding provider without playing any important role during the process (Baark and Sharif 2006). However, since the past decade, there has been more government investment in R and D activities, especially in promoting increased regional innovation cooperation with mainland China. Most recently, the Hong Kong government has reiterated its ambition to restructure its economy in response to the growing challenges after the global financial crisis. One major strategy being adopted by the Hong Kong government is to encourage more university-industry cooperation by turning research findings into commercial products. Against the brief context outlined above, this chapter sets out to examine how the Hong Kong government has tried to encourage its public universities to engage with industry and business to promote innovation and R and D, knowledge-transfer, and research capacity of universities in the city-state. The present chapter also discusses how academics assess the growing trend of university-industry-business cooperation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch, development and innovation in Asia Pacific higher education
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9781137457080
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2015
Externally publishedYes


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