EmTech’s first global conference organized in Hong Kong, in partnership with MIT Technology Review and Koelnmesse Pte Ltd was a blasting success. The conference was graced by the presence of some of the world’s greatest minds leading research on emerging technologies.
The topics of discussion varied from AI, robotics and smart cities to internet-based technology innovations, specifically fintech and healthtech. Over 400 delegates from 15 countries attended the EmTech Hong Kong 2016 conference. They were riveted by the sheer creativity, breadth and depth of the discussions this time around.
John C Tsang, Financial Secretary of The Government of the Hong Kong SAR, in his opening speech talked about how Hong Kong has embraced the changing technology trends. He also added that,
We have been putting in tremendous efforts over the years towards achieving the goal of nurturing a knowledge-based economy, fostering an innovative and technology-friendly culture in our community, as well as creating a healthy eco-system for technological entrepreneurship and start-ups.
Mr. Tsang further announced a host of reforms in his Budget, including a $560 million expansion of the Science Park and a $260 million into the Innovation and Technology Venture Fund. It will then enable them to partner with private VC firms to invest in local tech startups.
Mr. Tsang commencement speech was followed by Wong Ming-yam, the chairman of Applied Science and Technology Research Institute(ASTRI) expresses his concerns saying that Hong Kong is lagging in R&D spending as compared to its peers in Asia. He further adds that,
Hong Kong is a vibrant city by all standards, but we still have a lot of catching up to do. In 2014, the city’s R&D expenditure accounted for only 0.74% of GDP, while the figure was 2.05% in China, 2% in Singapore, 3.58% in Japan, and 4.29% in South Korea
We need to invest more in R&D and attract more global technology talent.
The ASTRI experts discussed the potential applications of research projects across different industries and what importance it holds for the future of Hong Kong. In a featured panel on ‘Blockchain’, the speakers discussed the shortcoming of the financial sector and how technology can be applied to uplift and embrace change in it. Tim Swanson, head of market research for R3CEV added that there are clear problems that need to be solved. There is pressure on the banks, as they’ve dedicated their resources to produce working products in the process.
This riveting discussion was followed by another hustling-bustling day of insightful programmes, leading the audience to lend a ear to the speaker and b. bolted to their seats. These discussions led by top industrialists included topics varying from manufacturing automation and big data to AI and robotics.
The event ended with the grand inaugration of the MIT Hong Kong Innovation Node, an incredible initiative that deepens MIT’s links with Hong Kong, Shenzhen and China’s Pearl River Delta. The Node was launched by the grace of MIT Provost Martin A. Schmidt, followed by Fiona Murray, co-director of the MIT Innovation Initiative; and Charlie Sodini, faculty director of the MIT Hong Kong Innovation Node.
Thus, if you look back — after two days of eye-opening conversations, 400 delegate visits, investments into the Science Park and the inauguration of an Innovation Center, the first edition of EmTech in Hong Kong was a raging success. We hope for even more insightful and riveting discussions at the next edition of the conference. Till then, Sayōnara!