The Hong Kong Government has announced smart city projects worth at least HK$8.9 billion (US$1 billion) on manufacturing, ageing population, transport, water and fintech.

The government will spend HK$500 million (US$64.4 million) to improve care for the elderly with technology. The Innovation and Technology Fund for Better Living will “encourage different sectors to apply innovation and technology to improve the quality of living”, said John Tsang, Financial Secretary, during the 2016 Budget speech yesterday.

“The use of intelligent home care equipment, Internet of Things and medical rehabilitation devices helps improve the elderly’s quality of life”, he added.

It will spend HK$8.2 billion (US$1.06 billion) over the next six years to use robotics in manufacturing. “With an ageing population and a shrinking work force, the application of smart production technologies, in particular robotics, is vital,” Tsang said.

Industries using robotics will be brought together to develop their research, design, production, test and marketing.

It will spend HK$200 million (US$25.8 million) to install traffic sensors to give commuters real-time information on transport. Separately, it will install sensors in water supply routes to monitor pipes and canals for bursts and leakages.

Hong Kong government will also support startups to develop and test new products. The government will fund the prototypes and trial them in the public sector to help them sell their products.

The Government is looking to expand its Fintech sector. In particular, it wants to explore how Blockchain, the technology behind digital currencies like Bitcoins, can be used to cut costs and fraud.

The Government’s investment agency will set up a team to attract fintech startups, investors and research institution to the city. Banks and startups using and developing fintech will get funding from the government’s separate HK$10 billion (US$1.3 billion) Innovation and Technology Fund.