Shenzhen and Hong Kong will partner on constructing a technology park in Lok Ma Chau Loop on their border after city authorities signed a memorandum of understanding for its development on Tuesday.
The Hong Kong/Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park, which will be around 1.2 million square metres in size, will enable companies to develop the fields of robotics, biomedicine, financial technology, and smart cities. It is being funded by the Hong Kong government and operated by the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP).
The HKSTP said the new innovation park will be "important infrastructure which will shape the future of Hong Kong's information and technology development", and will attract the biggest tech companies in the world along with higher education facilities thanks to being close to both Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland.
The Hong Kong government is now in talks with the HKSTP on the construction of the park, with work to begin "as soon as practicable", according to the corporation.
"HKSTP is glad that the government has attached great importance to promoting innovation and technology," HKSTP chairperson Fanny Law said.
"An innovation and technology ecosystem is taking shape in Hong Kong. The number of innovation and technology companies is on the increase, creating a strong demand for research and development space and offices."
The HKSTP, which was established in 2001, has facilities comprising a Science Park, InnoCentre, and Industrial Estates, with research and development (R&D) centres and incubation programs for startups focusing on biomedical technology, electronics, green technology, IT, and material and precision engineering across the topics of smart cities, robotics, and healthy ageing. It will cover 400,000 square metres by its completion in 2020.
The Hong Kong/Shenzhen technology park also flags a resolution to the dispute over ownership of the land between the two cities; Lok Ma Chau Loop was a part of Shenzhen until 1997, but was subsequently assigned to Hong Kong.
Shenzhen, which is situated in the south of the Chinese mainland and also already has its own Science and Technology Park, is home to numerous tech companies and innovation centres, with the headquarters of tech giants Huawei, Tencent, ZTE, and OnePlus all based there, along with electronics manufacturing company Foxconn's largest factory.
Huawei alone generated sales revenue of 245.5 billion yuan for the first half of 2016, and as of April last year had more than 79,000 engineers, or 45 percent of its total workforce, dedicated to working on R&D, with R&D investment over the last 10 years amounting to around $37 billion.
The company invests at least 10 percent of its sales revenue back into R&D each year, with 15.1 percent of its 2015 sales revenue being invested. Huawei also filed the highest number of patent applications worldwide during the course of 2015.
Apple also announced in October that it would be building a new R&D centre in Shenzhen.
"We are excited to be opening a new research and development centre here next year so our engineering team can work even more closely and collaboratively with our manufacturing partners," Apple spokesperson Josh Rosenstock told Reuters last year.
"The Shenzhen centre, along with the Beijing centre, is also aimed at strengthening relationships with local partners and universities as we work to support talent development across the country."