GS1 Hong Kong’s Response to Policy Address 2018
In the Chief Executive’s 2018 Policy Address, over 240 new initiatives were outlined to propose comprehensive measures in wide-ranging aspects. Specifically, GS1 Hong Kong welcomes and supports initiatives that forges the development of innovation and technology, aids local SMEs, and expedites re-industrialisation. In response to these initiatives, below are some suggestions we would like to make:
Supporting SMEs to Face Economic Downturn
In face of the heightened trade tensions, GS1 Hong Kong applauds the various initiatives that support import/export trade and professional services. One of which includes enhancing the SME Financing Guarantee Scheme that will alleviate SMEs’ cash flow pressure and credit risks.
GS1 Hong Kong’s SMEs Advisory Board is delighted with the Government’s plan to increase the loan guarantee, raise the maximum loan amount and extend the maximum loan guarantee of the Scheme. The Board also expects that the Government will work closely with banks to expedite the reimbursement of recovery expenses, so that the banks are more willing to make loans and accelerate the loan process for SMEs. In addition, the Board urges the Government to simplify application procedure of the Scheme, so SMEs will not be hindered by the complicated and lengthy procedures.
80% of GS1 Hong Kong’s members are SMEs. We welcome the Government to strengthen any kinds of exchange with the industry, we can then keep the Government abreast of situations faced by the SMEs and provide opinions to fine-tune its policies.
Innovation and Technology
Enhancing Innovation and Technology Co-operation between Hong Kong and Greater Bay Area
We welcome various initiatives proposed in the Policy Address that foster the development of innovation and technology. At the same time, we urge the HKSAR Government (“the Government”) to capture opportunities arising from the Greater Bay Area by fully exerting Hong Kong’s advantages in professional services and its international status. That will involve advancing the development of innovation and technology to facilitate cross-border flows of people, goods, capital and information in the Greater Bay Area.
Standardisation and informatisation are fundamental to facilitate seamless flow of data and goods for cross-border trade in Greater Bay Area. As a global organisation, it is noteworthy that GS1’s system of standards (such as barcode identification) and Internet-of-Things (IoT) have been widely adopted in areas like global commerce and healthcare.
GS1 Hong Kong recommnends, while the Government has been working to advance the city’s IoT development, that it should encourage adoption of globally-recognised standards, like ISO-certified GS1 standards, in various aspects such as food and pharmaceutical products traceability, cross-border e-commerce, and supply chain information exchanges through single window platform. It will also support the growth of an information-based Smart City that safeguards its citizens from fraud and enhances the transparency of trade and logistics.
In China, GS1’s product identification standards have already been connected with the China Customs to identify products accurately and swiftly, which enhance tariff collections, custom clearance and cross-border trade efficiency. Hong Kong will need to catch up trade data standardisation and interface with relevant Chinese administrations in order to facilitate cross-border trading, and propel development of the Greater Bay Area and One Belt One Road Initiative.
Nurturing Innovation and Technology Talents
There is a severe shortage of ICT skilled workforce and talents in Hong Kong in this era of digital disruption, and we look forward to long term ICT talents development blueprint that brings forth structural changes to skill-sets and workforce, catering for the future market needs.
Besides nurturing postdoctoral specialist, we also suggest to provide vocational trainings and subsidies to enhance ICT knowledge of the local workforce, including those currently employed, the graduates and even the retirees. The trainings should cover technologies and applications of IoT, AI, cloud, blockchain, data analytics, cyber-security, etc., aiming at equipping them with skills that are easily applicable to businesses.
We also hope the Government can encourage the adoption of technologies like IoT and artificial intelligence in labour-intensive industries, in order to ease the labour shortage issues for industries like elderly care, retail, food services, etc.
Enhancing the Digitalisation of Healthcare
The development of healthcare technology can increase efficiency. e.g. World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends including GS1 standards on vaccine packages to strengthen its traceability, increase operational efficiency and help ensure patient safety. Hospital Authority has adopted the GS1 standards to facilitate automation of the pharmaceutical procurement process in its Supply Chain Modernization Project.
GS1 HK recommends the Government to extend the application of global identification standards, thus, track and trace capability can be realised from drugs procurement to drugs disbursement, patient-targeted recalls, and drugs replenishment process. This will lead to more efficient strategic inventory allocation and resources planning that safeguard public health. We also propose furthering the adoption of global standards onto medical devices and equipment to enhance traceability and reinforce patient safety. It is highly recommended to put the GTIN standard into Compendium of Pharmaceutical Products so that citizens can authenticate the drug products they purchase.
GS1 Hong Kong appreciates the Government’s $2 billion plan for launching the “Re-industrialisation Funding Scheme” that subsidises manufacturers, on a matching basis, to set up smart production lines in Hong Kong, and an additional allocation of $2 billion investment in industrial estates for building manufacturing facilities required by the dedicated advanced manufacturing sector. This will encourage manufacturers to return to Hong Kong with their high-valued production projects, boosting the growth of Hong Kong economy, scientific research and talents pool.
We would like to draw attention to three major aspects in execution of the plans. First, re-industrialisation requires new skill-sets, which means new training or retraining the current workforce. We recommend the Government to provide company sponsorship for employees to acquire new knowledge and operational skills to support re-industrialisation.
Second, IoT is the foundation of re-industrialisation which involves a wide array of applications of electronic devices and sensors. Therefore, the adoption of international standards should be encouraged to all parties, so that different devices and application data can be exchanged and connected.
Third, it is crucial for the Government to formulate a strategic blueprint and overall re-industrialisation plan. The blueprint should align with the nature of Hong Kong labour force, land supply, etc., that meets the needs of the high-end manufacturing and fosters a full-fledged re-industrialisation ecosystem.
Other Supporting Initiatives
Being a neutral and not-for-profit global organisation serving Hong Kong for over 29 years, supporting more than 8,000 local corporate members from different industries, GS1 Hong Kong is eager to work closely with the Government in soliciting opinions from our members. We believe our membership base should constitute part of industry’s voice, they also contribute relevant knowledge and experience related to standards and technologies as well as supply chain processes.
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About GS1 Hong Kong
Founded by the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce in 1989, GS1 Hong Kong is the local chapter of GS1®, a not-for-profit, standards organisation that develops and drives adoption of global standards for business to uniquely identify, accurately capture and automatically share vital information about products, locations and assets to empower business to grow and to improve efficiency, safety, security and sustainability. Headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, GS1 has over 110 national chapters in 150 countries.
Currently, GS1 Hong Kong has around 8,000 corporate members covering close to 20 industries including retail consumer goods, food and food services, healthcare, apparel, logistics as well as information and technology. GS1 Hong Kong continually enhances and rolls out new services and solutions to help our members to embrace new realities, new challenges, and new opportunities.
For more information about GS1 Hong Kong, please visit www.gs1hk.org.
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