By Ng Kang-chung
Hong Kong’s leader has called for more robust exchanges between local universities and research institutes and their counterparts in Chongqing as he continued a three-day visit to the megacity in mainland China’s southwest.
Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu made the call on Thursday following a visit to Jinfeng Laboratory in the Western (Chongqing) Science City – a national-level hi-tech zone – where he met medical experts and was briefed on the use of non-invasive ultrasound-based therapy to treat tumours.
Jinfeng is positioned as a “new driving force for national-level laboratories” that focuses on medical research on smart pathology, brain science and brain diseases.
“The Hong Kong government encourages more exchanges and cooperation between the universities and research institutes of Hong Kong and Chongqing over basic research, construction of laboratories and related scientific research facilities, and sharing of technological resources and achievements,” he wrote in a Facebook post.
Scientists give John Lee (left) a tour of the lab. Photo: Handout
He also called for institutions and innovative enterprises in both places to build an international cooperation platform to facilitate the transfer and application of technological achievements.
Lee’s trip caught media attention as Chinese rocket scientist Yuan Jiajun, a member of the Communist Party’s 24-member central Politburo, was appointed as Chongqing’s party secretary last December. He is among a handful of technocrats shooting up the party hierarchy.
The Communist Party chief of Chongqing is a key regional role that often sees incumbents further promoted to senior national leadership positions.
Chongqing is one of four municipalities directly under the central government. The megacity is favourably located as the intersection of the Belt and Road Initiative, China’s plan to grow global trade, and the Yangtze River Economic Belt.
By the end of 2021, 312 of the world’s top 500 companies had a presence in Chongqing. And more overseas companies relating to the electronic industries are setting up a manufacturing base there, including Hewlett-Packard, Foxconn and Inventec, and Acer from Taiwan.
Hong Kong was the largest source of non-local direct investment in Chongqing, while other investors came from Singapore and South Korea, according to the latest research by the Trade Development Council.
As he embarked on his trip on Wednesday, Lee said a cooperation mechanism between Chongqing and Hong Kong would be established, the first to be set up with mainland China since he assumed office.
It would also be the third one established after those with Shanghai in 2003 and Beijing in 2004.
Lee also reiterated that he hoped both places would deepen cooperation and achieve complementary and mutual benefits so as to enable the development of both places to reach new heights.
Accompanying Lee are Chief Secretary Eric Chan Kwok-ki, commerce and economic development minister Algernon Yau Ying-wah, innovation, technology and industry chief Professor Sun Dong, and Undersecretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Clement Woo Kin-man.
Lee is expected to return to Hong Kong on Friday.