Following is the speech delivered by the Postmaster General, Mr Allan Chiang, at the Launching Ceremony of "PostalPlus for SME" today (September 4):
Mr Chan, distinguished guests, colleagues and friends from the media,
Good afternoon. Thanks for joining us today at the launching ceremony of "PostalPlus for SME." First of all, I would like to extend our hearty thanks to Mr Chan Wing-kee, Chairman of the Small and Medium Enterprises Committee for taking time out of his busy schedule to officiate at today's ceremony. Also, much gratitude has to be extended to the representatives of the fifteen SME associations, trade associations and service organizations.
SMEs have always been the backbone of Hong Kong's economy and play a vital role in the business world. We now have some 300,000 SMEs in various trades, representing over 98% of Hong Kong's business operations and employing 60% of the work force in the private sector. Without the benefit of the material strength that big corporations have, SMEs of all trades are operating in a very tough business environment and facing intense competition. To sustain their competitiveness, they have to overcome many challenges, for example, how to contain operational costs, how to create cost-effective channels to distribute and promote their products and services and so on.
The local economy is now showing signs of revival as a result of the Government's "Economic Relaunch" campaign and the concerted effort of the business sector. The Government has always been a steadfast supporter of SMEs and has rolled out a series of support programmes to help SMEs invest in equipment, staff training and marketing, as well as enhancing their overall competitiveness. The "Mentorship Programme for SMEs" has recently been expanded to assist newcomers in building entrepreneurship and standing up to challenges. The programme is a great success, thanks to the participation of accomplished entrepreneurs, many of whom are here with us today.
Hongkong Post has been serving the public and the business community for over 160 years. The development of postal services and the transformation of Hong Kong's economy and business activities are closely connected. As a major partner of the business sector, Hongkong Post provides effective postal services that ensure the smooth operation of day-to-day business activities. To enhance this partnership and to boost SMEs' business competitiveness, "PostalPlus for SME" is set up for the provision of more focused support and information related to postal services, logistics, direct marketing and e-commerce for SMEs. It also aims at providing a convenient channel for SMEs to source cost-effective and integrated solutions to address their marketing and customer order fulfilment needs.
The rollout of "PostalPlus for SME" demonstrates our unrelenting effort in creating innovative products and services to meet customers' demands. We believe that by leveraging on our comprehensive range of value-for-money services, SMEs will be able to map out new frontiers in the market with minimum cost.
I am glad to be surrounded by the elite of the SME community on this special occasion and to have your full support for the PostalPlus programme. It is our vision to expand our one-stop service platform to include other services apart from our postal services. Service providers of other industries, such as banking, IT and telecommunication, who also have focused support for the development of SMEs in Hong Kong will be invited to join the platform. It is our pleasure to have the company of the representatives from these potential partners today. We will continue exploring every opportunity for collaboration. We hope that more and more tailor-made offers will be made for our members as a result, hence enabling them to remain competitive at all times.
End/Thursday, September 4, 2003