December 6, 2022

Sapiensdigital

Sapiens Digital

‘HK’s tech brain drain has not peaked yet’

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Representatives of the innovation and technology sector have urged the government to take steps immediately to keep talent in Hong Kong and attract more to the city, saying an ongoing brain drain could be hard to reverse.

“I found that the brain drain has not peaked yet, many young people, in my experience, some of my old colleagues said they plan to emigrate in the coming few months, and I’m talking about specialists,” said Edmund Lee from the Technology Incubation Network.

He said it has been very difficult to hire new blood, and other countries, including Canada and South Korea, have been drawing talent away.

Lee said Hong Kong’s border restrictions not only brought about a brain drain, but also caused many other issues for the tech sector.

His group along with four others, including the Cyberport Startup Alumni Association and Hong Kong Software Industry Association, conducted a survey with more 200 member companies on the problems they have faced during the pandemic.

Most of the respondents said they had lost between HK$100,000 and tens of millions of dollars since the Covid crisis started.

The groups said logistical disruptions and obstacles to face-to-face negotiations have caused production stalls and difficulties in raising capital.

Lee said some firms even reported that they were considering aborting their research projects.

Technology and innovation constituency lawmaker Duncan Chiu urged the government to give more clarity on its border reopening plan and to do more to boost people’s confidence in Hong Kong as a tech hub.

“A lot of the startup teams or entrepreneurs they’re actually… based out of Hong Kong, or they’re thinking about whether they should keep their companies in Hong Kong,” said Chiu.

He welcomed the government’s plan to cut the quarantine requirement for people arriving in the territory to seven days.

“I think that’s definitely a big boost to people’s confidence,” he said.

Chiu added that the administration should also give more details on how it plans to spend funding earmarked for the sector, so that people can see prospects in technology developments in the city.



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