The following is a speech by Secretary for Information Technology and Broadcasting, Mrs Carrie Yau, at the Opening Ceremony of the Hong Kong International Computer Conference 2000 today (September 27):
Mr Lai, Mr Lau, Professor Tang, Dr. Wong, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is an honour for me to address the opening today of the Hong Kong International Computer Conference 2000. I would particularly like to congratulate the Hong Kong Computer Society for its good work in organising this Conference since 1978. This is both a huge commitment and a great achievement. No wonder that the Conference has now become a highlight in the calendar of the local IT industry every year.
Separately, the Conference has also developed a wider dimension. Since 1994, the innovative "One Conference, Two Cities" approach has been adopted and the Conference is held each year with one session in Hong Kong and one session in the Mainland. Through these twin sessions, the Conference has developed into a successful and effective forum for sharing of experience between IT professionals in the Mainland and Hong Kong. This year, the Mainland session of the Conference will be held in Shantou.
The theme of this year's Conference is "evolving ieconomy". This highlights the rapid development of the new information-based economy in the global arena. The use of information technology, in particular those applications that spur the development of the Internet and e-commerce, is playing a pivotal role in this crucial economic transformation.
The Government has devoted a lot of efforts and resources to making Hong Kong a leading digital city in this rapidly-evolving Information Age. Shortly after the establishment of the Information Technology and Broadcasting Bureau in 1998, we launched the "Digital 21 IT Strategy" to build the necessary information infrastructure, and to provide the conducive environment for IT to flourish. Today, I would like to highlight a few initiatives which we would embark on for the further implementation of the "Digital 21 Strategy". These initiatives need your full support and participation.
Firstly, the Internet. In the past few years, we have gradually liberalised our telecommunications market to allow for the development of high capacity and advanced telecommunications networks for Internet and e-commerce to flourish. We are now helping our universities to connect to the international Internet2 network, i.e. the next generation Internet. The connection will allow us to conduct research and development on more advanced and multi-media applications through a high bandwidth link. We would also be able to gain advanced knowledge in the development of the next generation Internet protocol. I hope that, apart from the academia, the IT industry and the community as a whole can benefit from the establishment of the link and the advanced Internet applications developed.
Secondly, IT in the community. IT touches on almost all aspects of our everyday life. Its use should not be confined to the professionals. It should be widely and readily available to all sectors in the community. We have earlier established community cyberpoints in District Offices, community halls, post offices, etc. to provide public IT facilities to the community. We will keep up with the momentum to drive the wider use of IT in the community by launching a large scale 'IT Hong Kong' promotion and awareness campaign. You may have already read about the campaign in the newspapers today. The programme of the campaign includes the recruitment of IT pioneers, the launching of an IT awareness programmes in all 18 districts for the elderly, housewives, new arrivals, disabled, parents and children, etc., a TV show highlighting IT and various related activities organised by District Offices to promote IT awareness. I encourage you all to actively participate in this campaign.
Thirdly, international co-operation. Hong Kong has entered into bilateral collaborative arrangements with economies which are advanced in the use of IT. So far, we have entered into such arrangements with six countries, namely, Australia, Canada, Finland, India, Israel and the United Kingdom. These arrangements underpin a bilateral commitment to promote and facilitate co-operation in the fields of IT and telecommunications. The co-operation envisaged is not only restricted to activities organised by the respective governments, but includes collaboration activities between business, academia and professional bodies in Hong Kong and the signatory countries. I would therefore like to encourage you all to make full use of the co-operative framework established under these bilateral arrangements and actively seek co-operation with your counterparts in the signatory countries concerned. The Information Technology and Broadcasting Bureau stands ready to offer assistance in the process.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Hong Kong Government is committed to making Hong Kong a leading digital city in the 21st century. But Government action alone is not enough. We need the full support of the IT industry and the community. The Hong Kong International Computer Conference 2000 provides a valuable and effective forum for us to exchange views, share experiences and create opportunities for co-operation in this "evolving ieconomy". I am sure that this year's Conference, like those in the past, will be a great success, and will be able to give us useful pointers on how we should proceed forward in the new information-based economy.
Finally, I would also like to take this opportunity to wish the Asian IT Expo 2000 which will also be opened today and to be held concurrently with this conference every success.
END/Wednesday, September 27, 2000 NNNN