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Speech by SCIT at Hong Kong International Computer Conference 2006 (English only)

    Following is a speech by the Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology, Mr Joseph WP Wong, at the opening ceremony of the Hong Kong International Computer Conference 2006 today (September 13):

     Sunny, Eric, Wilson, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     I am most delighted to have this opportunity to address the Hong Kong International Computer Conference. This annual spotlight event has been a valuable forum for participants including government officials, IT professionals and academics to exchange views and ideas. I am sure that you will all find the 2006 Conference another extremely worthwhile experience.

     The advancement of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) has brought about huge economic and social benefits. We have all witnessed how ICT has impacted on the global economy, through removing geographical boundaries and changing every aspect of our daily lives.  

     In 1998, the Hong Kong SAR Government published the Digital 21 Strategy, which set out our vision to make Hong Kong a leading digital city in the world. Significant progress has been made over the past eight years in putting in place the right environment, infrastructure, skills and culture. To sustain the momentum and meet new challenges, we plan to review our Digital 21 Strategy for the fourth time in consultation with all our stakeholders and the general public and publish the latest version in 2007.

     The focus of the updated strategy is to harness technology and innovation to transform our services. Partnership with, and support of, the ICT industry will continue to be one of the key action areas. In particular, the Government will strengthen co-operation with the Mainland and continue to promote e-business adoption across different industries and among the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Our consultation with both the ICT industry and the general public on the new strategy will start later this year.  

     Ongoing efforts are being made to encourage wider ICT adoption among SMEs. The Government will continue to run sector-specific promotion programmes in collaboration with the relevant industrial bodies to raise SMEs' awareness of the potential benefits ICT would bring to their business and their technical capabilities. The new one-stop access portal, GovHK, soft launched on September 6, provides easy access to online Government information and services for both businesses as well as individual citizens. GovHK a government-owned platform with an open infrastructure, allows the future introduction of non-government value-added content and services through private-sector participation. The Government will soon conduct an Expressions of Interest exercise for private-sector participation in GovHK.

     On the Mainland front, the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference and its expert group on informatisation provide a high-level platform for communication and technological cooperation between the two governments on areas of mutual interest. I believe that setting an open and official agenda for cross-boundary cooperation will reinforce and enhance partnership among private enterprises and trade and professional bodies in Hong Kong and Guangdong. I am confident that the strong relationship between Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta region will continue to grow in the years to come as the Mainland demands and supplies more technological services and products in the course of its economic development.

     To strengthen Hong Kong's capabilities in innovation and technological development, the Government has allocated more than $2.3 billion to finance the establishment and operation of five Research and Development (R&D) centres in five areas, with one focusing on ICT. We hope the ICT industry will seize this opportunity and work closely with the ICT R&D Centre to promote e-business adoption for various goods and services.

     Before I close, I would like to return to the public consultation exercise on the fourth Digital 21 Strategy, which we will commence later this year. Feedback from the ICT sector will be invaluable to us in the preparation of the strategic blueprint. I encourage you to offer your comments and suggestions to ensure that Hong Kong stays at the forefront of ICT in development and application.

     Thank you.

Ends/Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Issued at HKT 10:51