Eight professionals ranging from a top immunologist to a big data expert will help steer the development of Hong Kong’s Science Park as the government officially announced a reshuffle of its board, confirming on Thursday that a pioneer in the use of artificial intelligence will be the new chairman.
Incoming chairman Sunny Chai Ngai-chiu will replace Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fun, whose term as head of the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTPC), which operates the park and three industrial estates, expires on June 30.
In a statement, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor praised Law for “capably” steering the work of the park as the city’s “flagship innovation and technology institution”.
“Under her leadership, a number of new initiatives and important infrastructural projects, including the Science Park expansion programme, the Data Technology Hub and the Advanced Manufacturing Centre, have been making good progress,” Lam said.
“I am deeply grateful to Mrs Law for her tremendous contribution to the work of the HKSTPC and the development of Hong Kong’s innovation and technology ecosystem.”
In the same statement, a government spokesman described Chai as “a seasoned industrialist with rich experience in public service”. Chai was appointed a board member of the park in 2014.
The eight new board members include big data entrepreneur Herbert Chia, immunologist Mak Tak-wah, information engineering professor Sean Tang Xiaoou and Denis Tse Tik-yang, founder and managing principal of venture capital company Asia-IO Advisors.
Chia, a former vice-president of Alibaba, is an authority in the field of big data.
Mak is an immunologist and cancer researcher at the University of Toronto, and a foreign associate of the US National Academy of Sciences. Tang is an associate dean for research at the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s faculty of engineering.
A government spokesman said that with the new members, the Science Park’s board of directors “is a repository of strong expertise from a wide variety of technology and professional areas”.
The spokesman added: “With the immense experience and knowledge of board directors, we believe that they can steer the corporation to fulfil its public mission effectively and further enhance Hong Kong’s position as a hub for innovation and technology.”
In his budget in February, Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po promised to spend an extra HK$50 billion (US$6.37 billion) supporting innovation and technology, including HK$10 billion for the Science Park to devise a scheme that funds research and development projects in biotechnology, artificial intelligence and robotics.
The other four new members of the board are accountant Dennis Ho, lawmaker Jimmy Ng, Donald Choi Wun-hing, chief executive of property developer Chinachem Group, and Gavin Poon Ka-ming, a member of the government’s Committee on Innovation, Technology and Re-industrialisation.
Three incumbent members were reappointed. They are former University of Hong Kong head Tsui Lap-chee, Joseph Ngai, managing partner of McKinsey Greater China, and jeweller Theodore Ma Heng.