Following is the speech by the Financial Secretary, Mr Henry Tang, at the HKU-Fudan University MBA Graduation Ceremony, held today (November 26) at the Shanghai International Convention Centre (English only):
Professor Tsui, Professor Wang, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good morning, I am honoured to be speaking to you today. This is a proud moment for the University of Hong Kong, for Fudan University, and of course, for all the graduates. It is also a proud moment for Shanghai and Hong Kong. Armed with prestigious MBAs from two top universities of Shanghai and Hong Kong, most of you will be heading back into the commercial fray to lead our cities and country through the business adventures that lie ahead. These adventures will be daunting and, I have no doubt, they will also be rewarding.
With each passing day, our world becomes more globalised and more competitive. Cities like Hong Kong and Shanghai must not simply keep up with the competition, we must stay a step or two ahead. With the world's store of knowledge growing exponentially, staying ahead of the game is becoming ever more of a challenge.
As the Financial Secretary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, I have stressed time and again the importance of talent in a knowledge-based economy. People are, by far, the most valuable resource of both Shanghai and Hong Kong. We need to nurture this resource. We need to keep producing people like today's graduates - educated, enthusiastic, committed and highly skilled. We need to keep producing people with aspiration and vision, who will take our cities and our nation forward in the 21st century.
Shanghai and Hong Kong have a multi-faceted relationship. On the one hand, we are competitors. But there's nothing wrong with a little friendly competition to help bring out the best in both of us. Given our motherland's rapid growth, it's a win-win situation as there is ample room for more than one trade and financial centre in China. Indeed, it would be odd to suggest that one financial centre, or one trade and commerce hub, could serve the entire country, particularly a country that is growing fast and with rising living standards and such a huge population.
On the other hand, we are more partners than rivals. Hong Kong, for example, is Shanghai's major source of external investment. What's more, a number of Shanghai's leading companies have chosen to be listed on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong, to take advantage of Hong Kong's world class financial and professional services.
And just last month in Hong Kong, we welcomed a high-level delegation led by your mayor, Mr Han Zheng, under the auspices of a new framework called the Hong Kong/Shanghai Economic and Trade Co-operation Conference. We have set up this framework to foster closer co-operation and to capitalise on the opportunities under the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement between the Mainland and Hong Kong, or CEPA for short. This is a natural, strong and formidable partnership between our motherland's two most important economic cities.
Indeed, there is no finer example of the co-operation between Hong Kong and Shanghai than today's ceremony - the culmination of a joint effort between the University of Hong Kong and Fudan University.
To all graduates, I wish you all the best in your careers. And whether you decide to work in Hong Kong, or Shanghai, or Sydney, London or New York for that matter, I am sure you will put the knowledge gained during your studies to productive and profitable use. To the University of Hong Kong and Fudan University, my heartiest congratulations on another very successful year.
Thank you very much.
Ends/Wednesday, November 26, 2003