Following is the full text of the speech delivered by the Director of Information Technology Services, Mr Lau Kam-hung, today (June 8) in the "ITSD Networking Hour" which is one of the regular events organised by the Information Technology Services Department to maintain close contact and communication with the local information technology industry:
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good afternoon! Thank you all for joining the "ITSD Networking Hour".
First of all, I would like to say a few words about "Networking", which is the name of today's event. What we mean by "Networking" is the "human" connections between people. Nowadays, we often rely on electronic means like telephone or e-mail for communication. To complement these practices, we have organised this "Networking" event because we see the importance of face to face interaction with you.
One of the major objectives of the Government's Digital 21 IT Strategy is to foster the development of the IT industry locally. In order to have a better understanding of the views and concerns of the industry, we have been maintaining close contact with the various bodies of the industry. I am glad to see so many IT professionals and practitioners like you sparing your valuable time to take part in this event and to share with us your views and concerns.
The Government has been putting continuous effort into fostering the development of the IT industry locally. Outsourcing of the government IT services is one of our initiatives to achieve this objective. We believe that with the implementation of our outsourcing initiative, a sufficiently large IT market will be created to encourage the further development of the IT industry locally, and to attract more investment to the industry.
We have adopted an aggressive outsourcing initiative. Since April 1999, new IT projects in the Government have been implemented through outsourcing as the preferred option. The estimated total expenditure on outsourced projects would amount to $1.5 billion by the end of this financial year.
The Judiciary issued a public tender in March this year to outsource on a departmental basis all of its application development, maintenance, and related IT services. Four other departments, Rating and Valuation Department, Intellectual Property Department, Water Supplies Department and Legal Aid Department, are also planning or considering plans to outsource their IT activities on a departmental basis. Moreover, some application maintenance activities in four other departments, Highways Department, Department of Health, Custom and Excise Department, and my department, will also be outsourced within this financial year. You may wish to look out for these business opportunities.
ITSD is proactive in providing useful information to the IT industry. We publish government IT projects and tenders on our Digital 21 web site. We have also established a mechanism to notify enrolled parties through electronic mail when there are open government IT tenders. The purpose is to let interested parties have tender information in the first instance. For more information, please visit our Digital 21 web site at www.digital21.gov.hk. We have also set up two personal computers here today to demonstrate how you can access information on government IT tenders. Please spare a few minutes to take a look.
In order to encourage more IT suppliers to bid for government IT tenders, we have implemented several measures to make bidding easier. The measures are: waiving tender deposit, lowering contract deposit or performance bond, and implementing partial payments if part of the deliverables can be accepted under the contract conditions. These measures have been adopted in government IT tenders as far as possible.
The Government is adopting advanced technology in developing its IT applications. The Electronic Tendering System was launched early this year to enable subscribers to download the Government's tender documents electronically, and to submit their offers for major IT systems through secure electronic means. Hong Kong is among the first few places in the world to launch this dual flow interactive scheme. I believe that IT suppliers like you will find this new electronic approach efficient and convenient.
On the other hand, we have identified a number of government IT application systems which have the potential for use by other organisations in the community or other economies worldwide. To make these application systems available to target users, the Government is happy to cooperate with our IT industry to market them. You can also find information on these systems from our Digital 21 web site. This is yet another business opportunity for you.
Besides being a facilitator and promoter, the Government is also financing technology development projects and research undertaken by the industry and academia through various funding schemes. The Innovation and Technology Fund, which has an initial injection of HK$5 billion, provides a sizeable and secure funding source to support projects that contribute to innovation and technological upgrading of our industries. As far as I know, quite a number of trade organisations and professional bodies, like the Information and Software Industry Association and the Hong Kong Computer Society, have applied for this Fund. I would like to say here that the Hong Kong Productivity Council has submitted an application to this Fund for launching an education and training programme to raise public awareness on computer security problems and to examine the mode of operation of Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERT) overseas. The project aims to pave the way for setting up a CERT in Hong Kong within this financial year and is making arrangements for partnering with major IT security vendors in the provision of information relating to security risks. The services to be provided by CERT will not only better protect IT users but also benefit the IT industry.
Another key initiative we have been pursuing is to stimulate more collaboration between the IT industry and academia. Last year, we organised a Tripartite Forum to bring the IT industry, the venture capital industry and academic researchers together to promote the commercialisation of IT research results. This year, we will again organise this meaningful event and the coming forum will be held on 29 June. We believe that connecting the right technology to the right people will generate the momentum of success in our IT industry.
A major thrust of the government's IT strategy is the promotion of the use of IT in the community. The Government has been working with the IT industry, professional bodies and other community organisations in various projects to promote IT awareness and skills, and to encourage the general public and the private sector to engage in e-commerce. Furthermore, the introduction early this year of the Electronic Transactions Ordinance, which aims to provide a secure legal framework for conducting electronic transactions in Hong Kong, will safeguard the use of IT in the community and in turn bring more opportunities to the IT industry.
The Government is firmly committed to building a better Hong Kong by making the best use of IT. To achieve our objective, we need the active participation and support of the IT industry.
I hope you will enjoy this gathering.
Ends/Thursday, June 8, 2000