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CS's speech at opening of Business of Design Week 2005 (English only) (with photos)

    Following is the speech by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Rafael Hui, at the Opening Ceremony of Business of Design Week 2005 this morning (November 20):

    Victor [Lo], Freeman [Lau], Fred [Lam], Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

    I am most honoured to be here today with such a distinguished gathering of world renowned practitioners in the design field. Since its inception in 2002, the Business of Design Week has become an annual, premier event on design, branding and innovation in this region. Hong Kong is proud to play host to it once again.

    In the business world, design has become perhaps the hottest corporate pursuit as a major driver of competitiveness in a marketplace crowded with increasingly homogenous products and services. And what can Hong Kong offer in harnessing the prowess of design?

    Hong Kong is Asia's world city, an ideal place for design to take root and flourish. Situated at the confluence where East meets West, Hong Kong boasts a history of engaging both the oriental and western cultures for over one and a half centuries. Our design community has developed a rich and unique body of design styles blending the best of both worlds, and been able to combine creativity and commercial reality which succeeds both locally and overseas.

    In terms of market as Victor has pointed out, the Pearl River Delta's industrial output surpasses that of any other economies in Southeast Asia. Perhaps less well known is the fact that it is home to some 60,000 Hong Kong-related enterprises employing over 11 million people. With a capability of manufacturing virtually anything under the sun, we are best positioned to learn to make things better, instead of just making things cheaper, in a bid to scale up the value chain.

    The Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement between Hong Kong and the Mainland provides all products of Hong Kong origin tariff-free entry to the Mainland, and greater access to the Mainland market for qualified companies based in Hong Kong in over 30 services sectors. Recent studies show that Mainland consumers are willing to pay a 30% premium for the quality and style associated with Hong Kong designs. I am sure that this is an opportunity that overseas designers cannot afford to miss.

    The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region will continue to spare no efforts in promoting Hong Kong as the design hub of the region and exploiting the opportunities ahead. We will continue to do all we can to enhance our city's international outlook and business friendliness, defend the free flow of information, the freedoms of speech and travel, and other civil liberties. We will uphold our common law legal system, including our robust intellectual property regime that protects ingenuity and creativity to the highest standard.

    On design promotion, we launched in last year the 'DesignSmart Initiative' to provide US$ 32 million of funding to support the use of design in business processes. Apart from sponsoring projects like the Business of Design Week, we will establish an InnoCentre as a one-stop shop for cultivating a cluster of high value-added design activities, starting with the launch of an incubation programme and a tenancy scheme for design companies later this year.

    Ladies and gentlemen, I hope the above have given you a glimpse of the cultural and economic richness of Hong Kong as a regional design hub. Once again, we welcome all participants here to share experiences and insights with renowned designers and business leaders both local and international, and better still, overseas participants to start your businesses here to make the most out of this exciting city of ours.

    Finally, I would like to extend my hearty thanks to the Hong Kong Design Centre and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, the sponsors and other supporting organisations, as well as all the speakers, for their valuable contributions to the event. I wish all participants a most fruitful experience and a pleasant stay in Hong Kong.

Thank you.

Ends/Sunday, November 20, 2005
Issued at HKT 15:59


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