Following is a speech by the Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology, Mr John Tsang, at the Launching Ceremony of e-Business Technology Institute Consulting Limited today (May 18)(English only):
Professor Tsui, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am delighted to be here today at the launching ceremony of the e-Business Technology Institute Consulting Limited. Since its establishment in 1999, the e-Business Technology Institute or ETI has undertaken numerous successful research and development projects and provided advanced IT solutions to both government and the business community. We welcome the setting up of the ETI Consulting Limited to provide IT consulting, training and technology solutions to the community, while ETI will continue to focus on research and development matters.
For Hong Kong to remain competitive, we need to continue to enhance our capability in the development of innovative applications, services and contents, and our ability to adopt and apply enterprise IT. The Government is committed to enhancing the innovative capability of both the industry and the community. Enabling the development of innovative technological applications and promoting the adoption of e-business are two of the main areas of action in the updated Digital 21 Strategy published in March this year.
The Government has launched a wide array of initiatives to promote innovation and to support the development of new technology in Hong Kong, largely through the provision of funding for applied research and development projects and infrastructural support. These include the $5 billion Innovation and Technology Fund, or ITF, which supports the technology upgrading of the industry; and the establishment of technology infrastructure, such as the Applied Science and Technology Research Institute or ASTRI for short, the Science Park and the Cyberport. The Government also takes the lead in applying new technologies in its operations and delivery of services, and in launching pilot projects.
Over the past four years, the ITF has supported more than 500 applied research and development projects involving funding of more than $1.5 billion. The ITF has been successful in inducing the development of new technologies and products, creation of patents and recruitment of research staff.
One of the exemplary ITF recipients is ETI. In the past four years, ETI has obtained ITF support for five research projects with focus on e-business enablement for the local industry. For example, ETI developed technologies with a patented algorithm to enable the application of public key infrastructure technology to resource-constrain mobile devices so as to strengthen the security of wireless connections. In another project, an open B2C e-commerce platform was developed using blind signature technology to feature consumer privacy protection, guaranteed and multiple channel payment, as well as secure and fast delivery of digital contents. I am delighted to learn that some of the technologies developed by ETI have already been in use in our community. Together with the three ongoing projects, we believe that more emerging technologies would be introduced by ETI to the industry in the near future.
Apart from supporting the "supply" side of innovative applications, the Government has also been driving IT and e-business adoption by businesses, in particular small and medium enterprises. Our efforts include generic programmes such as provision of advisory services, awareness programmes and financial support. We also collaborate with IT industry bodies and trade associations in different sectors to roll out sector-specific e-business promotion programmes that can address the distinct needs of those sectors. We have started a programme for the travel industry and we intend to expand our efforts to include other industry sectors as well.
Complementing the Government's endeavour in this regard are efforts by research organisations like ETI to make available enabling technologies to the local industry, thereby lowering the barrier to e-business adoption. By developing technologies and solutions that are relevant to the needs of the business community in Hong Kong and the region, ETI has firmly established itself as an enabler of e-business transformation. The expertise and knowledge resulting from ETI's experience have in turn laid a solid foundation for the consulting services offered by ETI Consulting for the benefit of the community.
Technological developments would bring more value and meaning to our society if they can be commercialised and made applicable to our industry. The inauguration of ETI Consulting today represents a major step taken by academia to enhance its support for e-business adoption and disseminate research results to the industry.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to reaffirm Government's commitment in promoting the adoption of e-business and leveraging Hong Kong's strengths in the exploitation of innovative technologies. With the concerted efforts of government, academia and industry, I am sure we will be able to reap the enormous benefits presented by the world of e-business through the sharpening of our competitive edge and the enhancement of our position as a leading e-business community.
Ends/Tuesday, May 18, 2004