Following is a speech by the Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology, Mr John Tsang, at the Opening Ceremony of the Business of Design Week 2003 today (December 6): (English only)
Mr Victor Lo, Mr Fred Lam, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to be here this morning to officiate at the Opening Ceremony of the Business of Design Week 2003. I would like first of all to extend a warm welcome to all the delegates and guests, especially those who have travelled from afar, in participating in this unique international event on design.
Building on the success of the first Business of Design Week that was held last year, this year's event will continue with the aim to raise the awareness of our community on the value of design. Indeed, design is increasingly recognised as a major instrument to add value to a wide range of services and products, including architecture, advertising, consumer goods, fashion, personal care products, foods and beverages and furniture, just to name a few.
More and more companies are now making better use of design as a strategic tool throughout the development process. There is also a more widespread emphasis on the users' needs, taste and lifestyle.
Consistent with this overall trend, this year's event, which carries the theme of 'LifeStyleAsia', is a timely one. It provides a forum to facilitate exchange of success stories between design professionals and members of the business community, and to showcase the impressive achievements of outstanding designers in successfully applying their creativity to different aspects of the Asian lifestyle.
The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is a firm believer in the immense potential of design as the key to help Hong Kong enterprises move up the value chain. Working together with the trade and industry organisations, we have been seeking to foster a functional integration of innovation and design in the value chain through the provision of infrastructural and support services. Let me highlight some of these efforts:
(a) Since last year, we have set up a high level Steering Group to spearhead innovation and design in industry.
(b) We are progressing fundamental reforms in education to nurture and bring out the innate creativity of our younger generation.
(c) We are maintaining an intellectual property regime that is in the forefront of international standards.
(d) To promote the value of design, we have established the Hong Kong Design Centre in September 2002.
(e) To provide common facilities for the advancement of design among SMEs, we have established the Integrated Circuit Design and Development Support Centre in the Science Park, as well as the Digital Media Centre and the Wireless Solutions Development Centre in Cyberport.
(f) We have devoted substantial resources under the Innovation and Technology Fund, including the launching of the Innovative Product Development Assistance Programme, to support worthwhile projects related to design and development.
This is a well embellished basket of infrastructural and support services that will hopefully provide the necessary incentive and assistance to our business community in enhancing the design component in their products. Moreover, we wish to lower the entry barriers for SMEs and help these entrepreneurs to create their own intellectual property right here in Hong Kong.
This is particularly relevant in view of the massive business opportunity opening up in the Mainland market. The Mainland, with a relatively young design services market, presents considerable growth opportunities for our designers in a plethora of professions. The Pearl River Delta, in particular, presents huge opportunities for design applications in raising the value of products and the brand profiles of companies that belong to Hong Kong concerns.
The coming into force of the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) will witness the unveiling of the prowess of design in high value-added economic activities. The design industry of Hong Kong can benefit from the opening of a large number of services sector under CEPA. I would like to mention just a few :
- advertising services which encompass graphic design services;
- marketing management consulting services which encompass consulting services on package design;
- engineering services which include design services for industrial products;
- architectural services which cover architectural design services for buildings and other structures; and
- landscape architectural services which encompass design services for the landscaping of parks, commercial and residential land.
On the goods side, the Mainland will apply zero import tariff in about three weeks' time from January 1, 2004 for exports from Hong Kong meeting CEPA origin rules in 273 Mainland product codes. We have secured the agreement of the Mainland to include the cost of product development, where appropriate, in determining products of Hong Kong origin. Product design is an important component of product development. We hope this will help encourage even more product design activities in Hong Kong.
Ladies and gentlemen, the time is ripe for all of us to embrace the concept of quality design and reap the rich benefits it promises to bring to industry and commerce.
Finally, I would like to extend my thanks to the Hong Kong Design Centre, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, as well as all the sponsors, for their precious contributions in time and effort devoted to organising this meaningful event. In particular, I would like to give special thanks to Victor for his excellent stewardship in guiding, organising and promoting the Business of Design Week 2003.
Have a good day. Thank you.
Ends/Saturday, December 6, 2003