Firms welcome help on research, testing

Dennis Eng and Daniel Sin

Cash is king for most companies - especially when it comes to investing in research and development. Alex Hung Man-ching, chief information officer of i3D Asia, a firm that specialises in developing three-dimensional software, said he planned to apply for the 10 per cent cash rebate for R&D projects, though he was unsure if the rebate was large enough to attract other companies.

"Research and development is not a guaranteed success. But after a project, we need to do sales and marketing and promotion. A cash rebate gives us greater flexibility, say to hire administrative or sales staff to do promotion," Hung said.
For example, for a HK$400 million project, Hung said, the company could apply for HK$2 million under a matching fund scheme from the government's Innovation and Technology Fund and pay for the rest. The company could then receive a 10 per cent cash rebate on its HK$2 million investment, or HK$200,000.

The government's plan to develop the testing and certification industry was welcomed by Christina Law, chief financial officer of testing firm the Intertek Group.
She said many testing firms had difficulties finding suitable premises, and rental and staff costs were the major expenses in maintaining a laboratory. "Due to the special requirement for ventilation, for example, we cannot set up laboratories in ordinary commercial buildings, and we need to negotiate with the management of industrial buildings," she said.
Intertek, which employs 1,600, provides testing for products including toys, textiles, footwear, food and chemicals, and helps exporters comply with overseas requirements and regulations. Law said the supply of trained personnel was key to the sector's long-term development and attracting talented people. Initiatives to increase training opportunities for testing and certification professionals would help save on training costs, she said.

Reference source:
South China Morning Post (SCMP), Oct 15 2009