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Your future is right here in the GBA

By Oasis Hu in Hong Kong | HK EDITION | Updated: 2024-06-14 15:59
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Freddy Boey Yin Chiang, president of CityUHK. [Photo provided to CHINA DAILY]

City University of Hong Kong and its newly established CityUHK (Dongguan) will stand shoulder to shoulder in promoting the development of higher education in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, CityUHK President Freddy Boey Yin Chiang said in an interview with China Daily.

On April 16, the Ministry of Education approved the setting up of CityUHK (Dongguan).

Initially, CityUHK (Dongguan) will offer four undergraduate programs in computer science and technology, intelligent manufacturing engineering, materials science and engineering, as well as energy and power engineering, along with 10 master's programs, including electronic information engineering, materials engineering, nanotechnology and data science.

CityUHK (Dongguan)'s first academic year will start in September.

The Dongguan Municipal People's Government, CityUHK and Dongguan University of Technology signed an agreement in early 2020 to establish CityUHK (Dongguan). Construction work on the campus' first phase was completed earlier this year. The second phase is due to be completed by 2026.

Creating CityUHK (Dongguan) relies on smooth cooperation between the Chinese mainland and the special administrative region, with both sides working together to ensure successful outcomes, says Boey. The local government has played a crucial role by providing significant assistance and support.

CityUHK (Dongguan) is nestled in Songshan Lake Science City, surrounded by numerous large scientific facilities, leading technology companies, and other high-end innovative resources.

Boey says he was captivated by the location's beauty during his first visit, noting that it boasts a serene environment with stunning mountains and lakes. The campus' excellent facilities enhance its appeal.

In Boey's view, a major challenge in developing universities in Hong Kong is the shortage of land space, and collaborating with the mainland can help alleviate the bottleneck.

On the other hand, the mainland has strong demand for technology, intellectual property, and innovation industries, which aligns well with Hong Kong's strengths, he says.

CityUHK will uphold its consistent educational philosophy at CityUHK (Dongguan) to deliver high-quality education from the SAR to the mainland without compromising its standards.

Boey, who had worked for several universities in Singapore, says he has always envied Hong Kong because of its unique geographical location. "Singapore is six or seven hours away from Beijing, but Hong Kong is just next door to the mainland."

In taking the job as CityUHK president, he says he recognized the paramount advantage of the institution's proximity to the mainland hinterland.

CityUHK has set up innovation research institutes in mainland cities, including Shenzhen in Guangdong province, Chengdu in Sichuan province, Qingdao in Shandong province, and Changsha in Hunan province. More such facilities will be established in the Greater Bay Area and other mainland cities.

"The Greater Bay Area doesn't need to copy Silicon Valley. Shenzhen is different from Silicon Valley, not worse, not better, just different," says Boey.

"Within the next 20 to 30 years, the Greater Bay Area will be the most thrilling and dynamic place in the world. There will be a lot of exciting things happening here. Your future is right here - that's the message I would like to convey to all young people in Hong Kong."

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