The following is a speech by the Secretary for Information Technology and Broadcasting, Mr K C Kwong,in addressing the Prize Presentation Ceremony of the SCMP/UUNET Business Web Sites of the Year Awards today (Friday):
Mr Steward, Mr Jonathan, Dr Liu, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am delighted to have the opportunity today to join the Prize Presentation Ceremony of the first SCMP/UUNET Business Web Sites of the Year Awards co-organised by UUNET and the South China Morning Post.
The emergence of electronic commerce over the Internet has been the most significant development affecting businesses as we enter the new millennium. It brings about new opportunities, opens up new markets and helps to reduce operating costs. Industry estimates suggest that the total value of transactions world-wide over the Internet stood at US$200 million in 1998 and will grow to over US$1 trillion in 2003. We expect a similar equally phenomenal rate of growth of e-commerce in Hong Kong over the same period.
The Government is fully committed to encouraging development of electronic commerce by providing a favourable environment for it to take hold and flourish. The major initiatives we have launched to create this environment include the establishment of a public key infrastructure to ensure secure transactions over the Internet, the creation of a facilitative legal framework, through the Electronic Transactions Bill, to provide electronic records and digital signatures the same legal status as their paper-based counterparts, and the delivery of Government services on-line under the Electronic Service Delivery scheme.
However, Government efforts alone are not sufficient. We need the support and active participation of the private sector. I am therefore particularly pleased to see the initiatives taken by UUNET and the South China Morning Post in the organisation of the Business Web Site Competition. The good response to the Competition, particularly from the Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, augurs well for the development of electronic commerce in Hong Kong.
Today's awards are a well-deserved recognition of the high standards achieved by the winning companies. Their innovative use of the capabilities of the Internet as well as the customer-friendly designs of their web-sites are worth particular commendation. I wish them every success in their e-business endeavours.
End/Friday, December 10, 1999