Following is a speech by the Secretary for Commerce, Industry & Technology, Mr John Tsang, at the Grand Opening of the Digital Media Centre at Cyberport this (March 29) afternoon (English only):
Mr (Daniel) Lai, Mr (Nicholas) Yang, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to attend the Grand Opening of the Digital Media Centre today.
From special effects used in "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy and "Shaolin Soccer", and computer-generated animation employed in "Finding Nemo" and "McMug", to games, advertising and e-learning programmes, digital technology has become an integral part of life in the 21st Century. Digital entertainment, a young yet powerful industry, is cross-cutting different services and production sectors and cross-breeding new and conventional media, resulting in a market with boundless potential for further development.
While most of the top-notch special effects and animations are produced up to now in countries like the United States, Canada and more recently New Zealand, Hong Kong talents have increasingly caught the attention of the world, impressing everyone who has been exposed to their work with their enormous creativity and versatility. Indeed, our local talents have won, and many more have been nominated for, many international awards in film, video and television productions. The capability of our industry in producing innovative and high quality digital contents is well proven.
The level of excellence attained by our animators, coupled with the business opportunities brought about by CEPA and our already strong foundation in film production, has provided our digital entertainment industry with a solid platform to expand their reaches. But we must act quickly to grasp this narrow window of opportunity.
In the updated Digital 21 Strategy published earlier this month, digital entertainment has been identified as one of the focus areas for technological development in Hong Kong. We are working out a set of initiatives to broaden and deepen our efforts in promoting this focus area. As a first step, we are working to build up a critical mass of digital entertainment companies in Hong Kong that are capable of producing creative and high value-added contents. The government will facilitate this by, among other things, providing the necessary infrastructure and business environment to support content creation, enhancing the innovative capability of the industry, and upgrading the skills and technological levels of our industry and professionals.
The opening of the Digital Media Centre (DMC) marks the first and foremost step taken by government to provide the necessary infrastructure. Funded by the Cyberport and the Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF), the DMC provides multimedia content creators with not only high-end production facilities at affordable prices, but also the much needed technical support by experts in the field. This should help address one of the major problems faced by the industry, in particular the small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and the freelancers, who could ill-afford the initial capital investment for these expensive hardware. I can assure you that government will ensure that the DMC is well attuned to the needs of the digital entertainment industry, members of which are represented on a committee set up to advise the Cyberport on the direction and operations of the DMC.
The DMC is just the beginning of a long-term collaboration between the public and private sectors in the promotion of the development of digital entertainment in Hong Kong. I am sure many more meaningful projects, involving relevant parties such as trade associations, industry support organisations and academia, will surely follow. The first effort in this series of collaboration is the Digital Entertainment Leadership Forum to be co-organised by Cyberport and my bureau on April 23, during which renowned experts from Hollywood and Hong Kong will share their experience and analyse the latest trends with our industry players.
Ladies and gentlemen, the prospects of our digital entertainment industry are very exciting indeed. I am confident that with the concerted efforts of government, industry, academia and supporting organisations, it would not take our digital entertainment industry too long to establish a leading position in the region. I look forward to seeing products of the DMC before long.
Ends/Monday, March 29, 2004