Following is a speech by Secretary for Information Technology and Broadcasting, Mrs Carrie Yau, at the IT Excellence Awards Presentation Ceremony today (December 14):
Mr (Daniel) Lai, Prof (Arthur) Li, Mrs (Agnes) Mak, ladies and gentlemen,
I am delighted to be here tonight to take part in this very prestigious occasion - the IT Excellence Awards Presentation Ceremony, organised by the Hong Kong Computer Society.
This is the third time the Computer Society has organised the event and I would like to congratulate its members for the efforts they have made and the achievements they have gained. Notwithstanding its relatively brief history, the IT Excellence Awards scheme has already emerged as one of the most important information technology events in Hong Kong.
We witnessed significant and speedy development in IT applications in Hong Kong in the past two to three years, including the emergence of a thriving e-culture. The community in general has become a lot more familiar with IT and there is a market demand for more efficient, innovative, affordable and user-friendly products and services.
We are the first city in the world to launch commercial interactive TV for providing video-on-demand services. We have embraced the mobile phone with such enthusiasm that we now have a penetration rate of over 70%, the highest in the world outside the Scandinavia. More than 6.8 million smart e-payment cards are currently in use in Hong Kong, which is the highest utilisation in any place as far as we know. And, new technologies and services, such as 3G, Digital Terrestrial TV and Next Generation Internet etc., are coming on stream.
Last week we successfully host the ITU Telecom Asia 2000 for the first time. The event has raised the profile of Hong Kong and reaffirmed our position in the global community as Asia's World Digital City.
With our advanced IT and telecommunications infrastructure as the test-bed and our expertise as the trading hub to match supply and demand, we believe that Hong Kong will become a centre for exploitation and application of advanced and innovative technologies.
The objectives of the IT Excellence Awards fit neatly into this picture. The Awards pay tribute to local companies that excel in technological innovation and in applying IT to improve their business operations. The scheme helps promote and encourage the use of IT in both the private and public sectors. It has the full support from the Government.
Finally, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to take this opportunity to give my heartiest congratulations to the winners of the Awards this year for their outstanding achievements. I would also wish to appeal to the other entrants that they should build on the experience they have gained from this year's Awards and strive to further excel themselves and to take part in future Awards. I would also wish to thank the Hong Kong Computer Society for their commitment and dedication to promote excellence in the Hong Kong IT profession.
END/Thursday, December 14, 2000