HONG KONG, June 22 (Xinhua) -- Hong Kong had laid a firm foundation for developing biotechnology and nanotechnology in the years to come, Hong Kong official said here Monday.
Speaking at Sino-Italian TechX, an exchange forum between Italy and China on biotechnology and nanotechnology, Hong Kong Assistant Commissioner for Innovation and Technology Nicholas Chan said innovation and technology was among the six economic areas where Hong Kong enjoyed clear advantages for development as identified by Task Force on Economic Challenges.
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government would continue its investments in both fostering stronger research and nurturing a thriving industry, Chan said.
"Hong Kong has built excellent upstream research in biotech and nanotechnology. Our universities count among the very best in Asia- Pacific region in teaching and research achievements. Our world-class achievements include the successful fabrication of the world's smallest single-walled 0.4nm carbon nanotubes. In the International Hap Map Project, Hong Kong shares the responsibility with a Mainland team for mapping 2 percent of the human genome," Chan said.
In addition to investing through academic channels, Chan said the HKSAR government also promoted applied Research and Development through funding schemes and a network of infrastructure support. The Innovation and Technology Fund was established in 1999 with an allocation of 5 billion HK dollars (645.79 million U.S. dollars), to support applied Research and Development projects that would enhance Hong Kong's international competitiveness.
"To date, the fund has supported about 1,400 projects with a total investment of about 4 billion HK dollars (516.63 million U.S. dollars), biotech and nanotech account for more than 12 percent of the funding. In the biotech area, projects that have been supported include those in bioinformatics, molecular diagnostics, drug and therapeutic discover and development, modernization of traditional Chinese medicine, and biopharmaceutical manufacturing," Chan said.
"In the nanotech area, projects that have been supported include those in nanomaterials, nanoelectronics, green nanotech, nanotech for textile and apparel applications, and nanotech for medical and healthcare applications," Chan said.
Turning to infrastructure support, Chan said the Science Park had a dedicated Bio-informatics Center and two biotechnology laboratory buildings to provide shared facilities for biotechnology companies to facilitate their work. At present, there are more than 20 biotechnology-related tenants in the Science Park.
Chan said it was estimated that Hong Kong had about 300 biotechnology-related companies, comprising mainly healthcare-related companies with businesses in pharmaceuticals, medicinal or healthcare products of traditional Chinese medicine, medical devices and diagnostics. Among them, about 70 companies are listed in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and Growth Enterprise Market.