The response of Hong Kong Baptist University to the 2023-24 Budget Speech

Wednesday 22 February 2023


Regarding the Budget Speech’s proposal to allocate $500 million to the Chinese Medicine Development Fund, Professor Alexander Wai, President and Vice-Chancellor of HKBU believes that it can further strengthen the nurturing of talent and clinical research in Chinese medicine, as well as the strategic development of the sector. It will help foster the application of technology in Chinese medicine, and its popularisation and standardisation in Hong Kong, thus establish the importance of Chinese medicine in a modern healthcare system. With the Government’s staunch efforts to promote Chinese medicine development, Hong Kong’s first Chinese Medicine Hospital, to be operated by HKBU, will be completed and commence service in 2025 when Chinese medicine will assume a more prominent role in enhancing people’s health.

The Government proposed in the Budget Speech to conduct a feasibility study on the development of an AI Supercomputing Centre, earmark $3 billion to enhance basic research in frontier technology fields such as AI and quantum technology, and set aside $6 billion to provide subsidies for universities and research institutes to set up thematic research centres to enhance support for the transformation of R&D outcomes as well as R&D activities related to life and health technology. Professor Wai is encouraged by the Government’s strong support and commitment to innovation and technology development, and he believes that the proposals can help local universities, researchers and the innovation and technology sector in furthering their strengths in these scientific areas. With HKBU’s emphasis on disciplines such as art-tech, AI, Chinese medicine, drug development and biomedicine, the related measures will be able to enhance the R&D capabilities of universities and other scientific research bodies, and the translation of research outputs.

The Budget Speech proposed to attract leading I&T talents, research teams and enterprises from the Mainland and overseas to Hong Kong to promote cross-sectoral research cooperation, and introduce a “patent box” tax incentive to provide tax concessions for profits sourced in Hong Kong from qualifying patents generated through R&D activities. Professor Wai pointed out that these measures can help local I&T professionals and enterprises to explore exchange and collaboration opportunities, provide incentives for those who are dedicated to I&T in creating and investing in new knowledge, and put scientific research output into application to benefit the community.

The Budget Speech proposed allocating $20 million for hosting the GBA Culture and Arts Festival, and injecting an additional $500 million into the CreateSmart Initiative to encourage more cross sectoral and cross genre collaboration on creative and cultural programmes. Professor Wai said that HKBU is well known as a cradle of creativity, and has nurtured pools of talent in fields such as film, music, visual arts, creative media and literary creation over the years, offering continuous momentum for the creative industries. In recent years, HKBU has also leveraged its unique strengths in arts and science, taken a transdisciplinary approach to integrate the two disciplines, created innovative arts and cultural experiences, and spearheaded the development of art-tech. Furthermore, the University introduced a transdisciplinary programme on art-tech to nurture future art talent in support of the Government’s direction of promoting cross-disciplinary arts and cultural creation.