Hong Kong plans to seek tech talent to build IT city • The Register

Hong Kong has decided to become a tech hub again and has unveiled plans to scour the world for talent to make it happen.

The SAR plan was outlined in a speech yesterday by John Lee, who was elected chief executive of Hong Kong in May.

Lee was the only candidate but had Beijing’s blessing. This has carried enormous weight in Hong Kong politics since China moved to limit autonomy and ban opposition parties in the late 2010s. These measures were seen as violating the agreement Beijing made before handing over the territory from Britain in 1997: to allow a high degree of autonomy for 50 years.

China’s government is unrepentant on the matter and takes the position that the “one country, two systems” plan it has drawn up to allow Hong Kong to enjoy limited independence remains in place.

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Lee’s speech addressed this matter. The CEO stated, “The more the ‘One Country’ principle is upheld, the more the ‘Two Systems’ will be unleashed.” Well. OK then.

The chief executive intends to use Hong Kong’s “distinctive advantages of enjoying strong support from the motherland and close ties with the world” to attract strategic companies in “life and health technology, artificial intelligence and data science, and finance.” technology, as well as advanced manufacturing and new energy technologies.”

Lee added that the Hong Kong government will “proactively scour the world for talent” with a visa targeting those who have graduated from the world’s top 100 universities or are already earning salaries in excess of $315,000 .

A program that requires Hong Kong companies to match jobs assigned to imported workers with jobs for locals will be lifted, which will make it easier to hire workers from abroad. Work visas for Mainland Chinese with desirable skills will be streamlined.

Workers coming to Hong Kong from abroad to work will also be exempt from stamp duty on real estate purchases.

Many of these jobs and lots will be in a “Northern Metropolis” that Lee plans to build, dubbed “a new international I&T city.” The metropolitan area borders the Sham Chun River, which serves as the border between Hong Kong and mainland China. The city of Shenzhen occupies the northern bank.

Lee envisions Metropolis integrating into Shenzhen’s electronics manufacturing center for the mutual benefit of both cities.

The Metropolis will also include many new housing projects – to address a shortage in Hong Kong.

As another housing-related initiative, Lee announced a minimum size of 26 square meters for subsidized housing. This is a very modest apartment by global standards, but a step up from Hong Kong’s standards.

We mention this as an indicator of the lifestyle Hong Kong offers to its citizens and the skilled tech workers Lee hopes to attract. The SAR is notoriously overcrowded and house sizes small, with larger digs attracting staggering prices (often for dwellings at staggering heights).

So there you have it, readers: Hong Kong wants you. Life in the shadow of China and a very busy city await those of you brave enough to seize the opportunity. ®

bootnote Hong Kong’s chief executive faces competition for mainland talent – China’s IT ministry this week unveiled its plans to expand the local IT workforce. Boot camps, online learning, mentoring, and recognizing the achievements of top talent have all been suggested as tactics for state and city governments to use.

https://www.theregister.com/2022/10/20/hongkong_tech_talent_trawl/ Hong Kong plans to seek tech talent to build IT city • The Register

Rick Schindler

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