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Hong Kong spearheads research and developmentin electronics and communications
Apr 2013

As the electronics and communications (E&C) industry continues to face rapid economic and technological changes, it is essential that companies keep up-to-date with ever-changing industry developments. Investment in research and development is vital for companies wanting to stay one step ahead of the pack

Micom Tech Limited is a leading Hong Kong-based company in the E&C field. The company was founded in 1981 by Ir Victor NG, who currently serves as its Managing Director. NG, outgoing Chairman, Electronics and Telecommunications Training Board of VTC, now also serves as Chairman of the Technology Review Panel of IC Design Domain and as Director of the Board for the Hong Kong Applied Science & Technology Research Institute. He is a Fellow of the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers and a Member of the Advisory Committee of the Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering at Hong Kong University. NG is fully aware that the industry should constantly innovate in order to achieve sustainable growth–he shares recent developments in the E&C industry and looks to its future in Hong Kong.

Applied research and development

Having spent six years as Chairman of the Electronics and Telecommunications Training Board, NG is no stranger to the foibles of the high-tech field and emphasised the importance of nurturing engineering students with a creative and entrepreneurial mindset to help them stay one step ahead of the competition. He stressed, “Educational institutions need to focus on training students to possess knowledge and skills that allow them to engage in applied research and development. He spoke passionately about his time spent on the Board of the VTC, and noted, “VTC communicates very well with the industry and I strongly identify with their mission to provide opportunities for young people at all levels in a wide variety of programmes. These include higher diploma programmes, degree qualifications and in-service training.”

Positive outlook

By virtue of Hong Kong’s predominantly service economy, electronic engineering is heavily skewed towards the service industry, as opposed to the manufacturing sector. The local market, having an incredibly high penetration rate of smart devices such as smartphones and tablets, creates a perfect platform for companies to develop innovative electronic services and products. According to NG, it is now almost impossible to completely separate physical products from content and services because electronic digital computing technology exists in almost all electronic products and systems. Continuous development in electronic engineering research is now essential to further fuel the growth of the industry.

Hong Kong’s solid infrastructure and unique location as a gateway to China has created excellent opportunities for commerce in the E&C industry within, and beyond, the region. NG noted, “There will be numerous opportunities from the mainland China market. Students should prepare themselves with relevant knowledge and experience if they plan to work in China–the ability to speak both Putonghua and English is essential.”

On the back of this, NG anticipates a very positive outlook for the local E&C industry. He expressed, “Hong Kong has a well-established legal system that protects intellectual property rights, which demonstrates that we value the contributions made by our engineers.”

Cutting-edge technology

NG acknowledged the successful adoption of numerous E&C technology in Hong Kong. Commenting on the highly successful Octopus Card system, he stated, “Nowadays we can do almost all payment transactions with an Octopus Card. It is a well-developed, reliable payment system that seldom produces any problems.” He also highlighted the success of the Automated Passenger Clearance System–the passenger e-Channel–which was selected as one of the Hong Kong People Engineering Wonders in the 21stCentury.

The State Key Laboratory of Millimeter Waves established at a local university was another success story cited by NG. The Laboratory undertakes research activities in the application of millimeter wave and terahertz technologies in key industry growth areas including RF and antenna designs.

Synergy with other engineering disciplines

NG pointed out the ever increasing number of electronic devices that are connected to networks. Looking to the future, he predicted, “Electronics technology will continue to be widely applied in a great variety of applications in different disciplines. Civil, mechanical, electrical and electronic engineering will become more closely linked with each other. As a result, educational institutions such as VTC need to keep pace with market trends to keep engineering students right up-to-date with the latest industry developments.”

Continuous self-development

In a move away from the cut-throat competition that used to pervade the E&C sector, companies now should look for multi-party collaboration in order to continuously advance the development of the industry. NG observed, “In the past 20 years, there were vicious competitions amongst enterprises. They focused on price competition to gain market share, which had an adverse effect on investment in research and development. Companies should now seek closer co-operation with similar organisations and focus research and development efforts on maximising the added value of their products and services.” NG also advised a similar strategy for engineering students. He concluded, “To be successful, graduates entering the industry need to focus their attention on continuous self-development and understand the importance of life-long learning, because technological advances in the industry are on-going and change rapidly.”

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