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.

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“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.

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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.

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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.



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