Hong Kong allocates $383 million for Cyberport AI scheme

The Hong Kong government has decided to allocate $3 billion Hong Kong dollars ($383 million) to its Cyberport business park as part of a three-year artificial intelligence (AI) subsidy scheme, according to Paul Chan, Hong Kong’s financial secretary.

The statement was made during the 2024 budget announcement on Wednesday, Feb. 28. The program intends to help local universities, research institutes and businesses utilize the new AI Supercomputing Centre’s computing capabilities.

Chan emphasized the importance of AI in driving technological and industrial transformation, boosting Hong Kong’s digital economy. Besides aiding local entities, the subsidy will boost cybersecurity and data protection at the center. It aims to attract global AI experts, enterprises and research projects to Hong Kong.

Chan stated that the AI Supercomputing Centre will start operating this year. By early 2026, it is expected to have a computing power of 3,000 petaflops, capable of processing almost 10 billion images per hour.

Paul Chan, Hong Kong’s financial secretary, during the 2024 budget reading. Source: Hong Kong Free Press

The Hong Kong government aims to launch the scheme and the center in 2024. Subsidy amounts will vary based on applicant categories, following a user-pays principle with no total subsidies provided.

Chan also revealed the allocation of a HK$100 million ($12.7 million) startup fund to aid self-financing post-secondary institutions in forming an Alliance of Universities in Applied Sciences. He said:

“The purpose of this alliance is to collectively promote vocational and professional education and training and enhance its reputation among parents, students and society in general”

The government will also allocate HK$6 billion ($766 million) to subsidize new life and health technology research institutes at eight local universities. These institutes will collaborate with organizations from mainland China and overseas.

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The funding, drawn from the HK$10 billion ($1.2 billion) budget allocated in 2023, aims to promote the development of life and health technology. The goal is to facilitate research and development, drive the transformation of research outcomes, and attract leading innovation and technology talent and research teams to Hong Kong.

According to local media outlet The Standard, Hong Kong government sources indicate that the eligibility for the scheme will be limited to institutions affiliated with the eight subsidized local universities. The government plans to subsidize three institutions in the long run.

Hong Kong has been embracing the use of AI in health technology. Its hospital authority made plans to tackle a noteworthy rise of two superbugs in November 2023 with the help of AI.

Main, News