Tech park going all out to woo talent

Updated: 2018-04-17 06:30

By Wang Yuke and Willa Wu in Hong Kong(HK Edition)

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Hong Kong Science Park - the SAR's premier tech park - is to push forward a streamlined recruiting scheme to allow local companies easier access to overseas talents and invigorate the city's entrepreneurial ecosystem.

And, the park is likely to duplicate the success of Beijing and Hong Kong-based deep learning startup SenseTime Group, which was founded at the park in 2014, says Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fun, chairperson of Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTPC), which runs the facility at Pak Shek Kok in the New Territories.

SenseTime has established itself as a leader among Chinese mainland artificial intelligence technology companies over the years, experiencing a fast-track development in applications for facial recognition, video analysis and autonomous driving.

However, AI talents are scarce in Hong Kong and this explains the rationale behind the creation of a new mechanism to lure such talents, Law told China Daily in an interview.

The new model will speed up the talent-importing process for companies at Science Park as long as they can prove that overseas talents or professionals are needed to realize their business plans, she said.

HKSTPC will review the qualifications of applicants and set various criteria for selection. One criterion is a sound academic record, with potential employees having an academic background at the world's top 100 universities, Law pointed out. "That's part of how we define talents."

After all, she said, it's much easier for the community to accept talents from the world's best educational institutions.

Law said the new process will change the whole mechanism of talent recruitment in Hong Kong. At present, the procedure is cumbersome and lengthy, which is a common complaint among local entrepreneurs.

Normally, a company would need to take out a job advertisement in the print media, and it would only be allowed to seek talents beyond Hong Kong after it has failed to hire anyone locally after three months. Even so, the possibility of an applicant being turned down by the Immigration Department is very high, Law said.

In essence, under the new model, the responsibility of assessing and screening business plans and verifying the backgrounds of potential job candidates will be shifted from the Immigration Department to HKSTPC. It's a simplified and fast alternative to the existing process, she said.

Law hoped the plan could be approved by the government. "If the government gives the green light, it will create a precedent that other local businesses can follow," she said, adding that Science Park is doing its part in preparing SenseTime for the expansion, including renting workplaces.

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Tech park going all out to woo talent

(HK Edition 04/17/2018 page9)