Following is the full text of a speech by the Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology, Mr Henry Tang, at the "ITSD Networking Hour" today (December 19): (English only)
Alan (Wong), Friends from the Industry, Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am very pleased to join the ITSD Networking Hour today to meet with so many professionals and friends from the IT industry.
The IT industry is going through a challenging period now. After a full year of hard work, we all deserve to have a lighter moment to celebrate the festive season and make new friends. This is really an occasion for networking and I don't think I intend to speak for long.
It is true that the Government is in a tight fiscal situation and need to cut down expenditure in order to balance the budget. However, we would not sacrifice the spending for the purpose of sustaining the development of the local IT industry. We will move on with our E-government development. In fact, we have earmarked $690 million in the current financial year to deal with capital expenditure on IT projects not exceeding $10 million each. We will earmark the same amount next year to sustain the momentum of our E-government programme, and seek funding approval from the LegCo Finance Committee soon. And we will continue to vigorously outsource our IT projects to the private sector. I hope this would help the IT industry to tide over this challenging period.
In order to compete in the highly competitive global arena, we fully support our local IT industry in enhancing quality control and acquiring international quality standards. Many IT companies have been actively seeking ISO certification, and our industry has started to focus on the adoption of the Capability Maturity Model (CMM) for software development. The SME Development Fund has already provided funding to several industry organisations to promote CMM adoption. The Government will also give due credit to companies which have obtained international quality standards like CMM in evaluating future IT tenders. Other positive initiatives to drive CMM adoption are also in the pipeline.
But the local market alone is too small for our IT industry. We need to explore new markets. Post-WTO China, of course, is our main focus. We will work closely with the Trade Development Council, the Productivity Council, as well as IT professional bodies to help the local IT industry. Apart from facilitating the dissemination of Mainland market information and the conduct of trade matching programmes, we will gather together the industry to take part in major Mainland IT events, like what we have done recently for our E-government contractors in the 2002 E-government China exhibition. We will particularly focus on alliance with the Pearl River Delta, complementing the strengths of each other.
The success of these initiatives requires your active participation and support. And with our concerted efforts, Hong Kong can be the leading digital city in the region, connecting the world.
Ladies and gentlemen, I hope you would enjoy the networking event today. May I take this opportunity to wish all of you a Merry X'mas and a prosperous New Year!
End/Thursday, December 19, 2002