HKSTP helps HK businesses walk the talk in digitization

Albert Wong, CEO of Hong Kong Science and Technology ParkDigital transformation is the hottest business topic in the past couple of years. Hong Kong business leaders are talking about the urgency to transform, to adopt technologies and to digitize their businesses. But how many are simply paying lip service? That is the question, according to Albert Wong, CEO of Hong Kong Science and Technology Park (HKSTP).


Wong who joined HKSTP about 18 months ago—after decades of commercial experience with 15 years as senior executive at GE to drive digital transformation—agreed it is not easy for established enterprises to drive innovation. He recalled the complexities and struggles of steering a large fleet into a different direction, particularly a digital one.


 “Transformation is a very long process for large enterprises. I remember at GE, when I was part of the senior management team, we started talking about digitization in 2010,” he said. But it was not until 2015 September that the company established GE Digital, a new software-based business to drive digital industrial transformation.


Beyond lip service

Wong noted one major factor for an enterprise to succeed in its digitization initiative is the dedication from top management. Many executives understand that digitization is a message that shareholders like to hear. 


“A lot of them would say ‘if we invest in AI, our stock prices would go up,’” he said. “But the challenge is whether this is simply lip service or are executives committed to change.”


One reason for the less than full devotion towards digitization is the challenge to demonstrate noticeable differences. “Are the digital initiatives simply moving the needle?” is the question often asked, he said.


“For many top level executives, their daily job is to ensure the business is generating profit, a lot of profit,” he said. “If the digital initiative is simply supporting a side business and won’t be incorporated into the mainstream business, it could easily be forgotten.”

Bridging the old and the new

Aiming to help local enterprises take the leap in digitization and make noticeable differences, Wong said HKSTP, known for its success as a technology incubator, is also playing a significant role to bridge the old with the new in Hong Kong.


“We are absolutely active in this area,” he said. “We have put in a lot of effort to introduce the latest technologies developed within the park to traditional businesses.”


One of these initiatives is Technologies from Science Park. The initiative aims to encourage enterprises to take advantage of technologies developed by more than 600 startups within the park for business digitization.


“Enterprises are welcome to visit the park. We will line up demonstrations of relevant technologies and help them to find ways to digitize their businesses,” he said. “They can choose to adopt the technology, partner with our incubatees or simply be inspired during these meetings.”


Wong added that many established enterprises like Airport Authority Hong Kong, MTR Corporation and Hang Lung Properties are frequent visitors. These meetings are arranged monthly and last year the park arranged visits for more than 100 companies.