Hong Kong government policy and information technology innovation : The invisible hand, the helping hand, and the hand-over to China

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)366-380
Journal / PublicationIEEE Transactions on Engineering Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1998


Although Hong Kong and Singapore have remarkably similar social, economic, and historical profiles, their policies to promote economic and technological progress constitute an on-going natural experiment and provide a stark contrast. The well-documented, state-led information technology (IT) effort in Singapore is used here to benchmark the lesser known policies and interventions of the Hong Kong government and to examine their impact on IT innovation. Economic restructuring and political uncertainty in Hong Kong, resulting in the mass emigration of manufacturing operations and the professional elite, have prompted a traditionally noninterventionist state to selectively complement the invisible hand of market forces. The Hong Kong government has supported knowledge building and diffusion and helped to create public goods such as electronic commerce, but it has stopped short of guiding or directly subsidizing IT innovation efforts. Emerging IT issues and policy options are considered as Hong Kong becomes part of the People's Republic of China (PRC) under the principle of "one country, two systems." Free trade and information flows, efficient telecommunications, property rights protection, and technology management expertise are identified as critical factors if Hong Kong is to remain an attractive conduit for and recipient of technology transfer, and if its businesses are to sustain their fast-follower and focus strategies, synergize technological innovations from China and the West, and capitalize on the vast new domestic market. © 1998 IEEE.

Research Area(s)

  • Government intervention, Hong kong, Information technology policy, Innovation management, People's republic of china, Telecommunications infrastructure