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Universities in Hong Kong Focus on Innovation
By Bill Costello
Education Columnist
Chinese University of Hong Kong

In the city of Shenzhen, directly north of Hong Kong, universities have been setting up research institutes in the Shenzhen Virtual University Park. Among them are four of the top five Hong Kong universities: Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Chinese University of Hong Kong, City University of Hong Kong, and Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

In 2015, the University of Hong Kong, which is the top-ranked university in Hong Kong, will join them.

On a recent trip to Hong Kong, I visited these five universities to learn more about their expansion into Shenzhen. I found out that the Virtual University Park is a win-win situation for Shenzhen and the universities.

Prior to the park’s opening, there were only two colleges in Shenzhen.

More were required to train enough high-tech graduates for the burgeoning manufacturing hub. So Shenzhen built the park in 1999 and universities came. The park has since produced tens of thousands of postgraduates who
have joined high-tech firms in Shenzhen.

The universities, in turn, receive several benefits. For example, they are afforded the opportunity to become leading universities on the mainland instead of just in Hong Kong, are eligible for mainland research funding, and can expand their space for teaching and research to meet rising demand.

Their research institutes — which consist of labs, classrooms, and administrative offices — are offering training to research staff and students, establishing high-tech enterprises, developing advanced technologies, and commercializing research outputs.

The Virtual University Park is situated within the Shenzhen Hi-tech Industrial Park (Shenzhen HIP), which focuses on the development of biology, electronics, information technology, optical electromechanical integration, pharmaceuticals and other high-tech industries. Major investors in Shenzhen HIP include Compaq, Epson, IBM, Olympus, and Philips.

The Shenzhen HIP serves as center for collaborative projects between university research institutes, investors, and high-tech firms that transform scientific and technological achievements into products. It’s a one stop shop for innovation.

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Bill Costello, M.Ed., is a U.S.-based education columnist, blogger, and author of Awaken Your Birdbrain: Using Creativity to Get What You Want. He can be reached at






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