Following is a speech by the Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology, Mr John Tsang, at the press briefing on the progress of AsiaWorld-Expo today (May 31) (English only):
Nicolas, Allen, Clara, Mike, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good morning. It is my pleasure to join you today for this briefing on the progress of AsiaWorld-Expo.
Just two months ago, I had the honour of presiding at the groundbreaking ceremony for this new international exhibition and event venue being built at Hong Kong International Airport. I recall that the business projections at that time were confident, but somewhat cautious. However, I understand that the enthusiastic response from event organisers and the associated bookings for AsiaWorld-Expo from 2006 onwards have exceeded even the most optimistic projections. This is a clear reflection of international confidence in doing business in Hong Kong.
By now, AsiaWorld-Expo's management has already confirmed 12 major international exhibitions for 2006, most of which will be recurring annual events at the venue. This is truly remarkable. I would like to congratulate all the joint venture partners. The confirmed bookings and results of the research report by Business Strategies Group announced today indicate that your vision and hard work is being rewarded.
In particular, I would also like to congratulate InvestHK for its excellent efforts made in developing and implementing this project. The development of Asia-World Expo complements well our efforts in attracting inward investment to Hong Kong.
Despite the noises on other fronts, we must not lose sight of the fact that we have made great achievements in attracting inward investments to Hong Kong, and the staff of Invest Hong Kong have done a tremendous job. I am grateful to you all. For Invest Hong Kong, 2003 was the most successful year ever for investment promotion in Hong Kong. Invest Hong Kong assisted 142 foreign companies to set up or expand operations in Hong Kong - an increase of 21 per cent compared with 2002, despite the effects of SARS last year. These projects brought in more than $2.5 billion and created some 2,500 jobs. For 2004, Invest Hong Kong has set a target of completing 200 projects, over 40 per cent more than last year. I understand that the department is well on the way to achieving this ambitious objective. Well done.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the excellent response to AsiaWorld-Expo so far and favourable projections for the future have enhanced Hong Kong's position as the premier location for international exhibitions and events in the region. I trust that AsiaWorld-Expo will complement well our outstanding facilities at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre and, together, they will ensure that Hong Kong continues to maintain top quality facilities that are fully capable of staging a wide range of exhibitions and events.
Once again, congratulations to all the partners, and I wish you continued success as you go forward. Hong Kong will benefit substantially from the fruits of your foresight and labour.
Thank you very much.
Ends/Monday, May 31, 2004