The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) and China United Network Communications Group Company Limited (China Unicom) have today signed two agreements to strengthen strategic cooperation and establish the “HKUST – China Unicom Joint Laboratory on Smart Society”. In addition to enabling collaboration on research, technology transfer and talent cultivation, the agreements’ aims include developing a smart campus and accelerating the evolution of a digital government to support Hong Kong’s into a smart society.
The Joint Laboratory will initiate projects covering key areas such as smart cities, industrial internet, artificial intelligence (AI) computing power and cybersecurity. The facility will also proactively participate in Hong Kong Government (HKSAR Government) and related national initiatives to promote the commercialization of research achievements. Additional HKUST and China Unicom collaborations will span 5G communication technologies in essential fields such as commercial applications and increased popularization. The two signatories will also be involved in promoting the setting up of digital economic infrastructure platforms including both smart computing and data trading centres in the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park.
Witnessed by HKSAR Secretary for Innovation, Technology and Industry Prof. SUN Dong, HKUST Acting President Prof. GUO Yike and China Unicom Chairman Mr. LIU Liehong, HKUST Vice-President for Institutional Advancement Prof. WANG Yang and China Unicom Vice President Mr. Liang Baojun signed the strategic collaboration agreement while HKUST Vice-President for Research and Development Prof. Tim CHENG and China Unicom Global Limited Chairman and President Dr. Meng Shusen signed the framework agreement for the establishment of the joint laboratory.
Secretary for Innovation, Technology and Industry Prof. SUN Dong said in his speech during the signing ceremony, “To catalyse Hong Kong’s development into an international I&T hub, the HKSAR Government launched the Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Development Blueprint last December. One of the Blueprint’s key directions is to promote digital economy and develop Hong Kong into a smart city. I am delighted to see that HKUST and China Unicom will leverage their strength to collaborate on scientific research and innovative projects covering areas such as smart cities and AI computing power. This collaboration is a distinguished example of partnership among the industry, academia and research. I hope the Joint Laboratory will facilitate more applications of advanced technologies - especially in digital infrastructure, to accelerate Hong Kong’s evolution into a smart city.”
HKUST Acting President Prof. GUO Yike said, “The State Council emphasized the importance of developing the digital economy in the 14th Five‑Year Plan it announced last year. The HKSAR Government’s recently released budget also highlighted the importance of developing local digital infrastructure projects such as an AI Supercomputing Centre. The collaboration between HKUST and China Unicom will enhance our University’s research capabilities in areas such as smart cities, AI computing power, data trading and cybersecurity. Today’s agreements will also help steer the establishment of a smart society that will further empower Hong Kong’s development into an international I&T hub.”
China Unicom Chairman Mr. Liu Liehong said, “Developing a digital economy will play a vital strategic role in enabling us to seize opportunities arising from the latest round of technological advances and industrial transformations. China Unicom eagerly anticipates deepening its collaboration with HKUST and proactively participating in national and governmental technology projects. In focusing on further commercializing research outcomes and nurturing talents, we will also contribute our intelligence and strength to the development of a smarter Hong Kong.”
Moving forwards, China Unicom will proactively support HKUST’s development into a smart campus by advising on the essential communication technologies needed for the University’s “Sustainable Smart Campus as a Living Lab” program. The two parties will also work closely together in cultivating of specialist smart technology talents via initiatives such as co-mentoring postgraduate students in relevant fields and providing outstanding students and graduates with internship and job opportunities.
About The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) (https://hkust.edu.hk/) is a world-class research intensive university that focuses on science, technology and business as well as humanities and social science. HKUST offers an international campus, and a holistic and interdisciplinary pedagogy to nurture well-rounded graduates with global vision, a strong entrepreneurial spirit and innovative thinking. Over 80% of our research work were rated “Internationally excellent” or “world leading” in the Research Assessment Exercise 2020 of Hong Kong’s University Grants Committee. We were ranked 3rd in Times Higher Education’s Young University Rankings 2022, and our graduates were ranked 30th worldwide and among the best from universities from Asia in Global Employability University Ranking and Survey 2022. As of 2022, HKUST members have founded 1,645 active start-ups, including 9 Unicorns and 9 IPO companies, generating economic impact worth over HK$400billion. InvestHK cited QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021 to demonstrate the performance of five world’s top 100 local universities in several innovation-centric areas, among which HKUST ranked top in four engineering and materials science subjects.
About China United Network Communications Group Company Limited
China United Network Communications Group Corporation Limited (China Unicom) was established on January 6, 2009 based on the merger between the original China Netcom and China Unicom. In addition to over 130 overseas business access points (PoPs), it has subsidiaries in 31 provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities) across China and many other countries and regions around the world. It owns a modern communication network with nationwide coverage, global reach, and worldwide customer service system. Currently, it has over 850 million subscribers to its “Big Connectivity” portfolio. In 2022, the company ranked 267th in the Fortune Global 500. As a provider of basic communication services to support the Party, government bodies, military organizations, various sectors and the general public, China Unicom plays a fundamental, pillar, strategic and leading role in the national economy with technology-intensive offerings, integration across its entire network, economies of scale, and commitment to serving the economy, the society and people's livelihood.
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