The Secretary for Innovation and Technology has asked tech entrepreneurs at a policy address forum whether they have ever met the late Steve Jobs, founder of Apple.

Nicholas Yang Wei-hsiung and Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying were attending a closed door forum on technology policy with eight young people from the IT sector. It was hosted by the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups on Wednesday.

“Have you ever met Steve Jobs? I have, I really have,” Yang said. “The two big benefits of innovation and technology are [leadership in] standards and platforms.”

Yang said he had spent a lot of time understanding what Jobs told him. He stressed the importance of meeting with top technology figures after talking about a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the country’s tech policy.

Nicholas Yang (left) and Steve Jobs (right). Photo HKFYG and Wikimedia Commons.

He said that once companies like Apple – which invented the iPhone and iPad, lead with standards and platforms used by the industry, they will gather wisdom and will be able to beat other companies like Nokia.

Netizens were skeptical of the importance of meeting top figures.

“Everyone in San Francisco Bay Area has met [Steve Jobs], it does not represent anything, maybe he needs to innovate his mind first,” a Facebook commenter said. “So the secretary is a name dropper, relying on who he met to back himself up,” said another.

Leung Chun-ying followed up by saying he regretted not meeting Jobs, but said he will invite Elon Musk, co-founder of Tesla Motors, to dinner at Government House when he visits Hong Kong. He said that Musk’s book inspired him to understand that people must take risks in order to innovate.

Earlier at the forum, he admitted that government policies were too conservative.

He was questioned by one of the panelists about how taxi app Uber is facing regulatory limits in Hong Kong.

“Are some of our policies, such as our transport policies, too conservative? I think yes,” Leung said, adding that it may be possible for the government itself to take more risks when forming policies.

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.