Following is an Opening Speech by Mr. Alan Wong, Director of Information Technology Services at the Opening Ceremony of the 19th International Computer Expo. today (August 7):
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my great honour to be invited here to officiate at the opening ceremony of the International Computer Expo 2003, which is recognized as one of the most popular computer and information technology exhibitions in Hong Kong.
The Government is committed to developing Hong Kong into a leading digital city in the region. We have launched a series of initiatives to strengthen the community's ability to exploit the rich potential offered by information and communication technologies. These initiatives include, but not limited to, "technology diffusion", "education" and "IT awareness programmes". I would like to take this opportunity to give you a snapshot of what we have done in these areas.
First, technology diffusion. Our aim is to provide citizens with easy access to IT facilities where they can get services on-line. We have set up a Super Cyber Centre and dozens of District Cyber Centres and Community Cyber Points throughout the territory. Personal computers are provided free of charge for use by the public. In addition, to facilitate the launch of the new Smart ID Card, we have installed card readers at the public kiosks under the Electronic Services Delivery (ESD) scheme. These kiosks are actually computers that can be used by citizens to obtain both public and business services. Citizens may carry out on-line transactions that require authentication of their identity at the kiosks, provided that they have an e-certificate stored on their Smart ID Cards.
In the education arena, a five-year strategy centered on "Information Technology for Learning in New Era" has just been completed this year for the promotion of IT education in schools. Besides, IT courses have been organized for the elderly, people with disabilities, women and the general public.
To promote IT awareness and adoption, short radio episodes have been broadcasted thrice daily on Commercial Radio One since December 2002. On the other hand, more than 1,200 computers donated by about 50 government departments have been distributed to those people who cannot afford them. These are only two of the initiatives that we have been taking to narrow the digital divide.
Last year, with Government subsidy the Hong Kong Computer Society (HKCS) launched a free service providing to the general public a dedicated helpdesk hotline for handling problems relating to IT applications. As some of you are aware, this is the IT Easy Link. To strengthen our support for the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the exploitation of IT, we have recently given the HKCS additional funding for extending this service to include face-to-face consultations with the SMEs, also free of charge.
With regard to E-government, a couple of years ago, under the digital
21 Strategy we aim to provide e-options for 90% of the public services
that are amenable to the electronic mode of service delivery, and to conduct
80% of government procurement tenders through electronic means, by the
end of this year. I am glad to say that up to this moment we have nearly
achieved both targets. There is however no room for complacency because
the utilization rate of the e-options, with a few exceptions, is still
quite low. There is a great deal of work that we will have to do.
End/Thursday, August 7, 2003