The following is a speech by Mrs Carrie Yau, Secretary for Information Technology and Broadcasting at the Opening Ceremony of the CUHK-Elec & Eltek Technology Centre today (July 24):
Professor Li, Mr So, Mr Chan, Professor Ching, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am delighted to be here today to join the opening of the CUHK - Elec & Eltek Technology Centre, jointly founded by the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and the Elec & Eltek Group. The Centre will exemplify how academic institute can create synergy with the industry, and how our enterprises can enhance their competitiveness through collaborating with our universities.
As we enter the Information Age, our enterprises are facing more and more challenges posed by the continuous revolution of information and communications technologies. Like it or not, we have to find ways to turn these challenges into opportunities or we may risk lagging behind a trend that will substantially change the face of the entire world, both in business and cultural senses. On business front, IT is now used in almost every aspect of business activities, from managing customer relation to allocating enterprise resources, from exploring new markets to designing products, etc. Being "IT-enabled" is gradually emerging as a pre-requisite for success in business competition.
The Government is fully aware of this trend and is actively working on the development of information infrastructure to create an excellent, reliable and secure environment for conducting e-commerce.
For example, we have set up early this year our own local public key infrastructure and provided certification services through the Hongkong Post to foster a secure environment for e-transactions. Complimenting this, we enacted the Electronic Transactions Ordinance in February this year to provide a clear legal framework for the development of e-commerce and to give electronic records and digital signatures the necessary legal recognition. Soon to come into scene is our Electronic Services Delivery scheme which will be launched before end of this year to provide Government services on-line so as to facilitate and encourage the conduct of transactions over the Internet.
Apart from these Government-led initiatives, we are also working with industrial support bodies, such as the Hong Kong Productivity Council and other professional bodies to provide assistance in the form of funding, consultancy, training and provision of application software, for enterprises, particularly those of small and medium size, to migrate to the information economy.
I would also like to take the opportunity to inform you that since the set up of the Information Technology and Broadcasting Bureau in April 1998, we have been seeking to establish close ties with other economies which are advanced in IT development. So far we have entered into collaborative arrangements in the form of Memorandum of Understanding or agreement with six countries, namely Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, Finland, India and Israel. The areas for cooperation cover a wide range of activities, including development of multi-media and software applications and products, electronic commerce, Internet applications, exchange of latest IT information, etc. While the Government has established the avenue, I strongly encourage our universities to establish ties and look for joint R&D projects with these partners. My Bureau and the respective Consulate Generals in Hong Kong stand ready to offer assistance and to serve as a bridge to facilitate the collaborations.
But certainly, no promotional campaign is more powerful than successful stories on adopting new technologies in business operations. I am really glad to see the joint venture between CUHK and the Elec & Eltek Group and the various projects including B2B e-commerce trading platform that the Centre will be pursuing. I trust that many successful stories will come out from the Centre. And I would also like to see the Centre playing a prominent role in driving our Small and Medium size Enterprises through the road of digitisation. The Government fully supports university's initiative to nurture a closer relationship with private sector which, we believe, will benefit the university, the company and the entire business community.
I wish you every success. Thank you.
End/Monday, July 24, 2000