Following is a speech (English only) by the Secretary for Information Technology and Broadcasting, Mr K C Kwong, at the signing ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding on co-operation in information technology, information services and telecommunications between Hong Kong and Finland today (Friday):
Mr Heinonen, Ambassador Rutanen, Mr Heiskanen, ladies and gentlemen,
Let me first extend a warm welcome to Mr Heinonen and members of the Finnish business delegation. We are gathered here today to witness the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on co-operation in information technology, information services and telecommunications between the Hong Kong SAR and Finland. The signing of this MOU signifies a concrete step in fostering closer co-operation between Hong Kong and Finland.
Advances in information and telecommunications technologies are shrinking physical distance and bringing people from different parts of the world to work together in a seamless manner wherever and whenever they are. This global connectedness brings with it enormous business opportunities as well as challenges. Businesses are no longer facing competition from their immediate neighbours, and they are also no longer limited to cooperation with those in their neighbourhood. In the globally connected world of the 21st century, international co-operation to face up to global competition is therefore the key to success. And this co-operative spirit is central to the MOU that we are signing today.
The Government of the Hong Kong SAR has so far signed MOUs on IT co-operation with Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. Under these MOUs, we and our partners have organised a number of activities which proved to be mutually beneficial and enriching. This has encouraged us to explore the opportunities for entering into similar co-operation with other countries.
We are pleased that we are now signing a similar MOU with Finland. As we all know, Finland is the world's leaders in wireless telecommunications and an equally impressive trend setter in information and other communications technology. Hong Kong on the other hand is an exemplary user of technology. We are also noted for our marketing expertise and networking excellence in the region. I therefore firmly believe that co-operation between Finland and Hong Kong will help to advance our mutual interests in the rapidly evolving fields of information technology, information services and telecommunications.
The Hong Kong-Finland MOU contemplates an extensive range of co-operative activities, from commercial and industrial exchanges to investment and technology partnerships, from educational and learning exchanges to the sharing of policy and regulatory information. I am confident that with our concerted efforts, the MOU we are about to sign will deliver the benefits its promises. My colleagues and I look forward to working closely with our Finnish counterparts in the years to come.
END/Friday, January 14, 2000