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Thursday, December 02, 1999, updated at 14:16(GMT+8)
Sci-Tech Science Park Project To Be Tech-Sector Catalyst

The Government has released details of Hong Kong's first science park, after years of delays during which private-sector hi-technology projects like the Cyber-Port have overtaken it, South China Morning Post reports on December 2.

The science park, first proposed in the mid-1990s, is to be built on a 22-hectare site at Pak Shek Kok, across from Chinese University in Tai Po. It aims to jump-start Hong Kong's budding information technology (IT) and other technology industries.

Financial Secretary Donald Tsang Yam-kuen said the science park "will act as an important catalyst in stimulating innovation and promoting the growth of technology-based industries in Hong Kong".

Multinational and startup companies in four areas will be invited to base research and development operations in offices to be rented at $6 to $9 per square foot.

The four areas are IT and telecommunications, biotechnology, electronics and precision engineering, which Provisional Hong Kong Science Park chief executive Cheng Cheng-wen described as hi-tech manufacturing.

One company, California-based power management products maker Analogic Tech, has applied to become a tenant.

Up to 15,000 employees are expected to work and live in Phase I, which will have 330,000 square metres of office, retail and residential space. The first offices will be ready by late 2001 - the same time as the Cyber-Port.

The Government's Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (Astri) will be in Phase I. Astri, which helps research ideas become viable startup companies, will control about 60 per cent of the $5 billion innovation and technology fund.

IT legislator Sin Chung-kai said the science park had been too long in coming but was still a good idea. "It should be a more environmentally friendly and desirable way to attract talented people," he said.

Construction of Phase I will begin in February and the park will be completed over the next 15 years. The Government is funding all of Phase I, but Mr Ho said it might "welcome private investment later".

If Phase I failed to attract many tenants, the Government could choose not to develop phases II and III, Mr Cheng said.

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