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Transcript of question-and-answer session of Space Sharing Scheme for Youth press conference (English only)

The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung; the Permanent Secretary for Innovation and Technology, Mr Cheuk Wing-hing; the Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs, Mrs Betty Fung; the Permanent Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development (Communications and Creative Industries), Miss Eliza Lee; and Deputy Secretary for Development (Planning & Lands),Ms Doris Ho; held a press conference on Space Sharing Scheme for Youth today (October 27).  Following is the transcript of the question-and-answer session at the press conference:
 
Reporter: Mr Cheung, can you explain how would these land owners actually benefit from this Scheme - also the benefit for them of renting out their property for less than market value? And secondly, in the past some groups have run into trouble with permits and restrictions in industrial buildings. Is there any chance of loosening of requirements under this new scheme?
 
Chief Secretary for Administration: Thank you for the question. The first question is, to the youngsters, youth start-ups,  the problem they are facing now is getting the right place at the right rental. It's not easy, really. They can't even afford the rental. So this scheme will certainly provide a much-needed platform for them: affordable rental, convenient locations and not just hardware. They also require the organisations concerned to provide mentorship support, mentorship really, and also help them to understand the market situation and also enabling them to network. Indeed, the whole idea of this co-working space is interactive and collaborative. They work in a place where they can mix with other people, providing interdisciplinary support and also widening their social network – their contacts, basically. So if you have the chance to go to a co-working space you will find that various disciplines are based there, so that they can easily network with other people in a particular sector, enhancing their understanding of the sector and strengthening their social network, which is one thing is very important for young start-ups in Hong Kong. So, in terms of resources, we are providing affordable, reasonable and well-provided facilities for them, and at the same time, as I said, training support and networking support.
 
On the question of providing facilities for other developers to follow suit, this first batch of facilities, actually, most of them are the outcome of the revitalisation programme of industrial buildings. We are considering mounting a second exercise, in other words restarting the exercise again. I will ask Doris, the deputy secretary for lands (Deputy Secretary for Development (Planning & Lands)), to go into that a bit later on, explaining our philosophy. So we are encouraging developers. If they really want to help, for example, converting the industrial premises for those particular purposes, they will be welcome to do so, and we'll be, as I said, restarting the exercise later on. Doris, would you say something about it?
 
Deputy Secretary for Development (Planning and Lands): Thank you, CS. As we have mentioned in the Policy Address released lately, we are considering to reactivate the revitalisation of industrial buildings and one of our focuses is to facilitate redevelopment this time, because in the last exercise, much of the emphasis was being put on wholesale conversion. This time we would like to place more emphasis on redevelopment. We have heard there are views expressed by the sector whether the Government can give some thoughts to incentivise redevelopment through, for example, whether we can do something on the premium that developers need to pay in case of redevelopment. So we are thinking along this direction. In return, as part of this initiative, we are thinking whether we will specify a minimum number of GFA (Gloss Floor Area), the floor space, that can be made available in the revitalised industrial buildings for certain sectors including arts groups and creative industries. So if this scheme is going to launch, we hope that more space can be made available to the arts and creative industry sectors at a concessionary rental.
 
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Friday, October 27, 2017
Issued at HKT 19:40

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