MTR has signed an agreement with Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks (HKSTP) to set up a three-year collaboration framework, including the creation of a “living lab,” to focus on the application of innovative technologies, data collaboration and co-investment on tech ventures.

MTR says the agreement will further enhance its services and customer experience by adopting innovative technologies, while promoting an open innovation and technology (I&T) ecosystem in Hong Kong and developing the city into an international I&T hub.

Following the signing of the agreement, both parties will explore the establishment of a living lab, where tech ventures can test solutions in a real-world environment. The lab will initially be set up in Hong Kong in a suitable venue such as a station, MTR Mall or other property. The initiative may be extended to MTR’s facilities outside Hong Kong in the future.

The collaboration will also explore the application of big data, and both parties will select and co-invest in potential start-ups within the I&T ecosystem.

The agreement was signed by MTR CEO, Dr Jacon Kam, and HKSTP CEO, Mr Albert Wong, with the signing witnessed by MTR chairman, Dr Rex Auyeung, and HKSTP chairman, Dr Sunny Chai.

“MTR has actively adopted innovative technologies for its businesses,” Auyeung says. “To strive for continuous service enhancement, we share our railway expertise with research institutes to collaborate and co-develop more smart solutions. By allocating resources to support the I&T ecosystem and nurture start-ups, we are also determined to help drive Hong Kong forward to becoming a ‘smarter’ city.”

“HKSTP is strategically partnering with key industry leaders to accelerate impactful innovation by supporting the market needs of up and coming tech ventures,” Wong says. “With MTR’s extensive range of business activities, the co-creation of the living lab provides tech ventures with real-life testing scenarios and a conducive data-sharing environment via our STP Platform, while injecting valuable industry expertise into our growing I&T ecosystem and ultimately delivering innovation with positive impact.”

MTR plans to invest more than $HK 300m ($US 38.2m) in start-ups over the next few years, and says it will collaborate with research institutes, start-ups and academies to continue the promotion of smart railway solutions.