The following is a speech by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Donald Tsang, at the opening ceremony of the Hong Kong Electronics Fair, electronicAsia and Hong Kong International Lighting Fair 2001 today (October 15):
Mr Sze, Mr Wong, Distinguished Guests, ladies and gentlemen,
I am glad to join you at this year's Hong Kong Electronics Fair, electronicAsia, and Hong Kong International Lighting Fair.
In case you are not aware, let me begin by saying that we can hardly do without electronic products in our daily life. Our daily routine may start with something as simple as an alarm clock to electronic appliances which offer all the comforts of a modern home ever imaginable. We rely on televisions, telephones, radios, and the like to get us instant news from all around the world. Our businesses depend heavily on electronic products as their tools of trade. And I cannot go without mentioning the lighting industry, which, apart from providing illumination in all forms, contributes to our city's night life and magnificent harbour view.
In terms of both trade and employment, the importance of the electronics industry for Hong Kong is self-evident. Electronics has come a long way to become Hong Kong's largest merchandise export industry. We are the world's largest exporter of products such as calculators, radios and telephone sets. Last year, export of electronic products reached $390 billion, accounting for one quarter of Hong Kong's total exports. The electronic industry employed some 24,000 workers, which amounts to more than 10% of the manufacturing workforce. It is without doubt an industry that the people of Hong Kong should be justly proud of.
The development of the electronics industry in the past two decades demonstrates how Hong Kong businessmen make good use of Hong Kong's close ties with the Mainland, especially Southern China. Over the years, many of our electronics manufacturers have relocated labour-intensive production processes across the border, and have focused their Hong Kong operations on more value-added services or capital intensive production processes. They have harnessed the use of information technologies and new production methodologies, and have achieved rounds of success in a number of niche products.
Indeed, the Hong Kong - Mainland synergy is crucial to the further development of many sectors in Hong Kong, and such synergy is bound to reach new heights upon China's accession to the World Trade Organization. The opportunities to be brought about by China's WTO accession will also, to a certain extent, help counter the sluggish global economy and the slump in global demand that we are facing now. There will, of course, be challenges from indigenous Mainland enterprises and companies from all over the world, but Hong Kong businesses have always thrived in competition. I am confident that with their renowned "can-do" spirit, entrepreneurship and resilience, as well as innovative ideas and smart use of technology, our businessmen stand a good chance to get ahead in the fierce race.
The Hong Kong Electronics Fair is the third largest of its kind in the world and the largest in Asia. The Hong Kong International Lighting Fair is also the largest in Asia. The three fairs that open today provide excellent fora for exchanges and sourcing opportunities for professionals, manufacturers and traders alike. I warmly congratulate all the participants on a most successful event, and I am sure your participation will be a very rewarding one.
End/Monday, October 15, 2001