Leading health science enterprises from overseas and the mainland are in talks with authorities to set up offices in Hong Kong, Secretary for Innovation, Technology and Industry Sun Dong said.
Sun said innovations in technology and manufacturing in the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park at the Lok Ma Chau Loop will facilitate a closer cooperation between Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area.
He also said work has already started on the eight proposed major development areas outlined in the "Innovation and Technology Development Blueprint" announced last year.
"Leading enterprises in the health science field are in close discussions with the government to set up offices in Hong Kong," Sun said, adding that bringing in talent and enterprises is of utmost importance.
Artificial intelligence and data science enterprises have also expressed a strong interest in Hong Kong, he said.
On the now-retired LeaveHomeSafe app, Sun said the contact tracing app made "a great contribution" in the fight against the epidemic.
"Although the app has received criticism, there were also others who were reluctant to let it go," he said. "It was downloaded by 9.5 million people with 40 updates rolled out. It made a huge contribution to epidemic prevention and achieved even more than what it had initially set out to do."
Sun said authorities decided not to continue operating LeaveHomeSafe - which cost the government HK$17 million to develop and maintain - as it would not be cost-effective.
But there are still benefits that could be gained.
He said that LeaveHomeSafe has paved the way for the proliferation of information technology and digital inclusion and can act as a reference point for the promotion of "iAM Smart" - a centralized digital services platform developed by the government.
Authorities are currently studying ways to simplify the registration process for "iAM Smart," hoping to use information that has already been registered with the government to directly log in to the digital services app.
For security purposes, citizens must register under their real names. "But there are legal issues involved," Sun said, adding that authorities are communicating with the relevant departments.
He said authorities will cooperate with local community organizations to help the elderly with registration as the process could be troublesome for people unfamiliar with technology.
Earlier this month, Sun posted an emotional tribute to the contact tracing app. "Over the past 25 months, mobile app LeaveHomeSafe accompanied Hongkongers through the unforgettable fight against Covid
-19," he said.