Home » Universities » Hong Kong universities a ‘super connector’ to China

Hong Kong universities a ‘super connector’ to China

Image result for Hong Kong universities a ‘super connector’ to China

Hong Kong will act as a ‘super connector’ to the Chinese mainland and Asian region through deeper international collaborations that include universities, Hong Kong’s Secretary for Education Eddie Ng told the Going Global conference in London last week, which had “Global cities: connecting talent, driving change” as its main theme.

While many universities globally link up within consortia based on regional hubs that attract individual universities from other countries, or university-to-university ties mainly to enhance research collaboration, Hong Kong is pursuing a city-to-city and city-region approach to linking universities to each other and to business and technology hubs developing in China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN region.

As a ‘super connector’, Hong Kong would help link areas of education, innovation and technology, as well as financial, logistics and professional services, Ng said.

For example, Hong Kong is building university consortia between its main public universities and universities in China’s southern Guangdong province which borders on Hong Kong, linking universities in Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau as part of a new ‘Greater Bay Area’ technology hub for world-leading companies, many of them centred in the Chinese city of Shenzhen, close to Hong Kong.

Separately, the cities of Shenzhen and Hong Kong in early January agreed to jointly set up a technology park in the so-called ‘Lok Ma Chau Loop’ along their joint border.

Hong Kong universities, including the University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology or HKUST, and the Chinese University of Hong Kong, have said they are keen to collaborate with Chinese institutions within the park. HKUST already has a research institute in Shenzhen.

Beyond individual university links

But the future push is to go beyond individual university agreements. “The nine [public] universities of Hong Kong went into a higher education consortium agreement with Guangdong province, Hong Kong and Macau. This was officially established in November last year,” Ng told journalists at a briefing in the margins of the Going Global 2017 conference organised by the British Council in London from 22-24 May.

“With the universities’ participation in this consortium we will be able to have joint ventures, joint research projects, joint pilots and joint start-ups between Honk Kong and Guangdong province,” Ng said.

He said he would be pursuing the same model with Beijing in coming weeks during visits to the Chinese capital. “We would like to do the same, a higher education consortium with the Beijing area, including the key top universities there as well as the high-tech zone of Zhongguancun,” he said, referring to Beijing’s main technology hub.

“And my plan would be also to extend it to Shanghai with the same type of higher education consortia,” he added.

ASEAN connections

Ng said Hong Kong was also developing closer university ties with ASEAN. “This is particularly important for Hong Kong, as we would like to continue our international level of activities, working closely with ASEAN countries as part of a new era and centre of activities in Asia,” he said.

The collaboration is taking the form of higher education and university collaboration, exchange of students, and joint research projects. In particular, this includes offering ‘One Belt, One Road’ scholarships to students from several ASEAN countries to study in Hong Kong.

Although China’s One Belt, One Road project is seen as a huge infrastructure and trade project that benefits mainland China primarily, and also includes universities, it “is not something imposed on” Hong Kong, Ng said. “Rather, this is a way to further collaboration and understanding between countries in the world.”

Hong Kong’s own One Belt, One Road scholarships began in December 2015 with 10 scholarships awarded to students from Indonesia. “We have also completed another agreement with Malaysia and Thailand,” Ng said, with scholarships for students from these countries to study in Hong Kong to begin in September this year.

“Vietnam is the next one in the pipeline and I have another plan to get Myanmar into it. I believe that over time, all 10 countries in ASEAN will be able to participate. We will have at least 100 students per cohort in Hong Kong with the government taking the initiative to act as a role model for business and other organisations to expand the number of participants,” he said.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *