Cultural centers

Boosting Hong Kong’s Creative Industries with Cultural Big Data EJINSIGHT

The government has planned to allocate nearly HK$300 million for the development of Art Tech. How can the funding effectively improve the level of local culture and arts and further consolidate Hong Kong’s development as an “east-west center for international cultural exchange” in the mainland’s 14th Five-Year Plan?

In recent years, there has been a lot of talk about building a national cultural big data in mainland China, worthy of being the benchmark of Hong Kong.

The goal of cultural big data is to open up data from different stakeholders, to enable government, cultural groups, investors and sponsors to make data-driven decisions. Big cultural data also improves the evaluative capacity and level of operation of practitioners, as well as the quality that ultimately benefits consumers. Meanwhile, it provides job opportunities for arts workers and technology talents and promotes their development.

However, getting started is difficult. Hong Kong, like other places, has scattered cultural data. For example, the definition of “cultural creativity” varies: the Census and Statistics Department divides it into 11 constituent domains based on the international statistical guidelines of the United Nations and the situation in Hong Kong; while the Trade and Economic Development Bureau’s CreateHK targets only eight sectors; the Hong Kong Arts Development Council focuses on 10 major art forms. The government’s open data platform “” also contains fragmented cultural information, ranging from the list of Cantonese Opera Development Fund grants, museum attendance, use of public libraries, etc.
In addition to fragmented data, data is in short supply and lacks diversity. Guo Quanzhong, a cultural industry researcher from the mainland, pointed out that cultural big data should be massive and in various formats, including text, audio, video, regular data and irregular data, and should be high-frequency, real-time, full-size. and online.

In addition, emerging content should also be included, such as We Media which generates a large amount of information and entertainment every day, as well as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and metaverses which are still niche but have potential. unlimited.

In Hong Kong, we currently only have data silos of individual organizations, not to mention that most of the data is static, such as attendance rate, number of employees, age of audience. Real-time and online activity records are rare. Moreover, it is a big challenge to integrate internet content into government big data, because real-time information has huge commercial value and is well guarded by telecom companies and several internet giants. .

Last but not least, we must take the issue of personal data privacy seriously. Big cultural data reveals personal preferences that could be sensitive. Clear and strict regulations are needed to reduce public concerns where advanced technology can help. For example, outside of aggregated information that is open to the public and the corporate sector, if a company or government department needs to tap into deeper data, even if it has been agreed in advance, the data owner should be informed upon receipt of such requests, so that individuals have the opportunity to raise an objection, thereby protecting the confidentiality of personal information. At the same time, the extracted information will be recorded using the blockchain. Blockchain technology ensures that the record cannot be tampered with or altered, preventing the information from being used without permission.

A Bureau of Culture, Sports and Tourism has been proposed for the next government. I hope the Office will actively explore the construction of cultural big data, so as to integrate with the Greater Bay Area and energize Hong Kong’s cultural and creative industries.

— Contact us at [email protected]

Dr Winnie Tang

Adjunct Professor, Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Engineering; Department of Geography, Faculty of Social Sciences; and Faculty of Architecture, University of Hong Kong