Following is the full text of the speech (English only) by the Financial Secretary, Mr Antony Leung, at the Cyberport Topping Out Ceremony today (November 28):
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to join you this morning to celebrate the topping out of the first building at the Cyberport.
I remember a few years ago, this was just an empty piece of land. Look around you now and you see a sandy building site. In just a few years, it will be a green and very pleasant patch of land, providing a fertile and nourishing environment for ideas to flourish.
I am sure this is a sentimental moment for all those people who are directly involved in the project, including Carrie and her team, Richard and his colleagues, professionals such as architects, engineers and consultants working on the project, and of course, those workers who are busy on this site every day.
I am sure that those of you who are moving into this building as tenants are excited to see that the Cyberport getting off the drawing board and into the first phase of completion.
It is my privilege to share this very moment of the project with so many friends from consulates, chambers of commerce, universities, IT associations and the local districts.
The Cyberport project is not just another construction project. We are determined to develop a world-class information infrastructure, as part and parcel of our overall strategy to build up Hong Kong as a leading knowledge economy in the globally e-connected world.
Planners, architects and engineers have given careful attention to every detail in designing and constructing this IT flagship. This goes beyond "bricks and mortar - clicks and portals". The Cyberport architecture will combine the state-of-the-art interactive technology with a nurturing environment to facilitate the cross-fertilisation of ideas in the IT field.
The professional community at Cyberport will enjoy modern architecture, intelligent offices, state-of-the-art broadband telecommunications infrastructure, a wide range of shared IT facilities, a cybercentre providing retail and entertainment activities and a 176-room hotel. All these will be set in a campus-like environment.
It is not just an ideal place for big multinational corporations. Medium and small enterprises will also benefit from a wide range of shared facilities and services on a "need to use" basis. This full spectrum of companies at the Cyberport will attract professionals from around the world.
Thus we will build up within the Cyberport a society brimming with the knowledge and vitality of individuals who specialise in IT applications, information services and content creation.
This is a place that will nurture the dreams and hopes of our young generation, a mood that was captured so vibrantly by Jonathan (Hooi) and the young choir a few minutes ago.
Selection of office tenants began in late April this year. Since then we have already received 72 applications from multinational, local and overseas companies. The first batch of IT companies will start moving into this building around April next year and more than 100 companies will gather in the Cyberport upon its full completion by end 2003.
I understand that my colleagues in the Information Technology and Broadcasting Bureau are working in partnership with the IT industry, the universities and many other people local and overseas to make sure that the Cyberport companies will be provided not only with world-class hardware - carefully designed buildings loaded with the latest facilities. They will also be fuelled by all useful software, such as market-driven training programmes, which will help the IT industry to flourish.
The whole community will share the fruits of the Cyberport's success. In terms of employment opportunities, more than 400 experts are already working on the project and we are creating over 4,000 jobs in the construction industry. Side by side with the IT professionals working at the Cyberport companies, thousands of jobs will be created in the cybercentre and in the Cyberport hotel.
With this event today we are witnesses to how the project has made a great stride forward. In the next few years, through our shared co-operation and endeavour, we will create a new international IT centre here at the Cyberport.
I am optimistic that the IT companies here will develop new technologies, applications and content to support our industries and services, as Hong Kong works to enhance its position as Asia's World City.
End/Wednesday, November 28, 2001