March 27, 2024
Hong Kong Invests $383M in Cyberport AI

Hong Kong Invests $383M in Cyberport AI

The Hong Kong government has committed to allocating $3 billion Hong Kong dollars ($383 million) to enhance its Cyberport business park, marking a significant move in its three-year artificial intelligence (AI) subsidy initiative. This announcement was made by Paul Chan, Hong Kong’s financial secretary, as part of the 2024 budget presentation on February 28.

The main goal of the subsidy program is to assist local universities, research institutes, and businesses in utilizing the computational power of the new AI Supercomputing Centre. Chan underscored the pivotal role of AI in propelling technological and industrial transformation, thereby boosting Hong Kong’s digital economy. The subsidy aims to foster cybersecurity and fortify data protection measures at the center, while also positioning Hong Kong as an attractive hub for global AI experts, enterprises, and research projects.

The anticipated commencement of operations for the AI Supercomputing Centre is slated for this year, with projections indicating a computing power of 3,000 petaflops by early 2026. This level of computational capacity is expected to facilitate the processing of nearly 10 billion images per hour.

The Hong Kong government envisions the implementation of both the subsidy scheme and the operationalization of the AI Supercomputing Centre in 2024. The subsidy amounts will differ based on applicant categories, adhering to a user-pays principle without total subsidies being granted.

In addition to the AI initiative, Chan disclosed the allocation of a HK$100 million ($12.7 million) startup fund to support self-financing post-secondary institutions in establishing an Alliance of Universities in Applied Sciences. Furthermore, a substantial HK$6 billion ($766 million) will be allocated to subsidize the establishment of new life and health technology research institutes across eight local universities. These institutes are slated to collaborate with organizations from mainland China and overseas.

“The purpose of this alliance is to collectively promote vocational and professional education and training and enhance its reputation among parents, students and society in general”

This funding initiative, sourced from the HK$10 billion ($1.2 billion) budget designated in 2023, aims to propel the development of life and health technology. The overarching goal is to facilitate research and development, stimulate the transformation of research outcomes, and attract top-tier innovation and technology talent and research teams to Hong Kong.

Sources within the Hong Kong government indicate that eligibility for the scheme is likely to be restricted to institutions affiliated with the eight subsidized local universities. The government envisions subsidizing three institutions in the long run. Hong Kong has been actively integrating AI into health technology, exemplified by the hospital authority’s plans to combat the rise of two superbugs in November 2023 with the assistance of AI.

Image by TravelScape on Freepik

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