The Innovation and Technology Commission (ITC) of Hong Kong last week launched the HK$2-billion Re-industrialisation Funding Scheme (RFS) to subsidise manufacturers to set up new smart production lines in Hong Kong.
The scheme aimed to re-industrialise Hong Kong is managed under the city’s Innovation Technology Fund.
“The aim is to encourage manufacturers to develop advanced manufacturing industries in Hong Kong that are based on smart production with a view to identifying new growth points for the local economy," a spokesman for the Commission said in a statement.
Companies incorporated in Hong Kong under the Companies Ordinance (Cap. 622) are eligible to apply. The Government will provide funding on a 1 (Government): 2 (company) matching basis. The funding ceiling is one-third of the total project cost or HK$15 million, whichever is lower. The approved funding will be disbursed upon completion of the project.
The ITC has outlined the criteria for a project to be eligible for funding subsidy under the scheme. For one, the significant portion of the production line should fulfil the "smart manufacturing" criteria, i.e. the integrated and intelligent use of "smart" technologies such as Internet of Things, real-time data, application of data analytics and advanced human-machine interfaces, artificial intelligence/machine learning/deep learning, automation and robotics, sensors and actuators, etc. in the production process.
The scope of funding covers expenses directly related to the establishment of the new smart production line in Hong Kong, including the costs of procurement, installation and commissioning of the machinery, equipment or apparatus, as well as fees for engaging technical consultants for the design and setting up of the production line concerned (testing and staff training costs inclusive).
To ensure that the funded projects bring substantive economic benefits to Hong Kong for a reasonable period – unless with prior written approval from the Government, the production line funded under the RFS cannot be transferred to other parties or to any place outside Hong Kong within five years after project completion if the relevant RFS funding amount is HK$5 million or above, or within three years after project completion if the relevant RFS funding amount is below HK$5 million.
The government has set up the Re-industrialisation Funding Scheme Vetting Committee to vet eligible applications. The Committee is chaired by Jimmy Kwok Chun-wah with members from the industrial and commercial sector, the innovation and technology sector, the professional services sector, academia and relevant government departments and public bodies