HKSTP helps HK businesses walk the talk in digitization

“Most startups do not have the connections or opportunities to approach these organizations; we provide this platform,” he said.


In addition to working with individual enterprises, the park also develops Industry Connect, a program to work with local industry bodies, like Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce (HKGCC), to arrange visits for their members. “We can arrange the tour based on specific themes and technologies,” he said.


Matching partners

The initiative goes beyond showcasing the technologies. According to Wong, many visits led to partnerships.


Since its launch in 2015, the Technology from Science Park program has established 18 partnerships. One recent partnership is DHL Supply Chain applying advanced robotics from RV Automation for warehouse operations. Other examples include Airport Authority Hong Kong developing POC with Pho Imaging to use high-speed imaging for airfield ground lighting maintenance; Maxims Caterers adopting automated machine vision from Ackuis Technology to monitor its food production line and Ocean Park partnering with MotherApp to develop a visitors traffic management system.


Sandbox environment

Another success factor, according to Wong, is executives’ awareness of corporate cultural change required in digitization. He noted digitization is not simply adopting technology, it is also a cultural change.


“I’ve experienced a few of these cultural changes during my time at GE.  One of them is the introduction of Six Sigma. It may appear to be a process improvement, but it is really a cultural change of how GE operates,” he said. “Digital transformation is not merely lip service, it is a cultural change. All cultural change requires commitment and time.”


To help enterprises transit in this cultural change process, Wong said HKSTP has established different co-incubation programs or sandbox digitization.


“Large enterprises usually take a longer time to implement any digital initiatives, so we provide an environment for them to develop trials and test run these applications,” he said.


One example is the upcoming Robotic Catalyzing Center (RCC), which will provide facilities and technologies for enterprises to test run their POCs. “It is a step further to maker space and allow trials before the system goes live,” he said.


Vision in industrial 4.0

Although the spirit of digitization among local conglomerates and enterprises does not appear as vibrant as among startups, Wong remains positive.


“Many enterprises are quite low profile about their digitization initiatives,” he said. “Many executives from major conglomerates and corporations have approached me to learn about our startup community and how we can support their development. I cannot name them, but there is a lot of interest.”


One industry with much potential for digitization is manufacturing. With more than 90% of Hong Kong’s GDP derived from the service industry, Wong noted that manufacturing is almost non-existent. But with management expertise and experience in this industry, Hong Kong “absolutely has the potential to revitalize this industry with advanced manufacturing,” he said.


The use of automation in manufacturing has become a reality. He quoted the example of a Taiwanese electronic manufacturer, which transformed its plant from having 50 workers down to only three IT engineers in about 10 years. With advanced manufacturing, factory workers are not required. The plant can operate in the dark and round the clock.


“I’m not exactly sure what industrial 4.0 is, to me it appears to be hype,” he said. “But dark factory is real and many manufacturers are exploring this concept.”


As part of its expansion, HKSTP is developing a one-million square feet multi-story advanced manufacturing site. “This site aims to support different manufacturers for developing dark factories in Hong Kong,” he said.