Following is a speech by the Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology, Mr John Tsang, at the launching ceremony of Asia-Pacific Headquarters of Freescale Semiconductor, Inc. this afternoon (August 25) (English only):
Mr (Michel) Mayer, Mr (Joe) Yiu, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my great pleasure to be here this afternoon at the launching ceremony of Freescale's Asia-Pacific Headquarters in Hong Kong.
I am glad to see establishment of the regional headquarters of a major multi-national semiconductor company here to drive new opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region. The choice of Hong Kong highlights our city's attractiveness to semiconductor firms and other technology enterprises, and reflects also the advantages of Hong Kong as a springboard to the Asia Pacific region. I am confident that Hong Kong can provide a highly suitable business environment where a wide range of investors can successfully nurture their operations.
The semiconductor industry is the key foundation that drives products and services in our information age, and semiconductor is the essential component without which any electronic and telecommunications product today would cease to function. It is no wonder that the world semiconductor market has recorded an average growth rate of more than 10% per annum in value terms over the past three decades, reaching US$166 billion last year.
In this context, IC design obviously occupies a critical segment in this value chain. We in government recognise the importance of this industry. We believe that IC design presents good economic potential for Hong Kong for several reasons. First, we have a strong user base comprising well-established electronics industry both here in Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta region. Second, we are well supported with manufacturing facilities, including foundries, in the neighbouring region. Third, we already have significant non-trivial IC design capabilities and presence. Fourth, we have a robust intellectual property protection regime, which is necessary for the growth of knowledge-based industry like IC design.
We are supporting the industry through a series of measures and policies in promoting innovation and technology. Through the $5 billion Innovation and Technology Fund, we have already provided $14.9 million in 2002 in setting up the first phase of an Integrated Circuit (IC) design support centre with the necessary tools, software and supporting staff in our Science Park. In 2003, we augmented this venture with further funding of $57.9 million in developing an IC Development Support Centre. This IC Design & Development Centre has become operational last year, providing solution services to IC companies throughout the entire product development cycle, from initial design to production release. A cluster of electronics companies is now emerging in the Science Park, with 38 electronics companies, including both multi-national and local companies. Many of them focus principally on IC design.
To enable sustainable development of innovation and technology programmes in enhancing competitiveness of our industry, the Government has recently proposed a new strategic framework for public consultation. We intend to adopt a more focused, co-ordinated and market-driven approach and to leverage on our economic hinterland for our innovation and technology development. We have identified 13 technology areas for further consideration, and we have included IC design as one of the focused areas. Ultimately, we hope our new programme framework will help capitalise on our competitive strengths and capture the vast potential market in the Pearl River Delta.
With continuing efforts to support innovation and technology, I am sure that Hong Kong will remain an unrivalled hub for technology companies and the ideal gateway to expand into the Mainland market.
Let me take this opportunity to wish Freescale every success in your future endeavours, and welcome to Hong Kong.
Ends/Wednesday, August 25, 2004