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Speech by SCIT at launching ceremony of Productivity Gallery (English only)

    Following is a speech by the Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology, Mr Joseph W P Wong, at the launching ceremony of Productivity Gallery and installation ceremony of Productivity Time Capsule today (October 19): (English only)

Andrew, Samson, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     It gives me great pleasure to officiate at the launch of the Productivity Gallery and the installation of the Productivity Time Capsule today.

     The events today are the highlights of a series of commemorative activities to mark the 40th year of service of the Hong Kong Productivity Council, or "HKPC" as affectionately known in the industry circle.

     The 40 years of HKPC's history is indeed an epitome of Hong Kong's economic development. In the 1960s, as the entrepot trade gradually diminished, the light consumer industries were the mainstay of our economy.  The 1970s were the years of quota restrictions and fierce competition in the international market.  The 1980s and 90s witnessed the relocation of our production lines to the Mainland and expansion there, and the rapid development of Hong Kong into a services economy. A major part of the services economy evolves round trading, design, business information, marketing, logistics management and other high value-added activities, which taken together, support our manufacturing base in the Pearl River Delta (PRD) region.

     The development of HKPC follows closely this economic path of Hong Kong.  For example, in the 1960s and 70s, HKPC helped industry source technologies from around the world to solve our light industry's technical problems in engineering and improve their productivity; and to understand the standards and requirements of the export markets and how to comply with them.  Since the 1980s, the HKPC has expanded its activities to the services sector through the development of certification systems, provision of professional training in office automation, introduction of management information systems, and the leveraging of information technology as a tool to raise productivity and improve efficiency.

     Through its day-to-day work, HKPC has nurtured a capability to undertake applied Research and Development (R&D) on its own.  For instance, in response to health concerns associated with severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS as commonly known, HKPC has developed a Handy Toilet Waste Disinfection System.  The technology has recently been commercialised successfully, providing HKPC with a minimum royalty income of $10 million during the first three years of the licence period.  Other R&D achievements include development of an ecological textile dyeing technology, which helps eliminate the use of highly-polluted agent in the dyeing process, and a low-cost mobile location estimation system for fleet management applications using existing mobile phone infrastructure.

     HKPC's R&D capability fits in well with the Government's new strategy in innovation and technology development.  So in April this year, when the Government proceeded to establish R&D centres covering five key areas, HKPC was put in charge of the one for Automotive Parts and Accessory Systems.  R&D efforts in this important area will bring tremendous growth potential for Hong Kong's traditional industries, in view of the booming automotive industry on the Mainland and the emphasis on autonomous innovation and upgrading of industrial technology in the national 11th Five-year Plan.  The R&D Centre is now soliciting projects from the academia, research institutes and industry in the areas of "Electronics and Software", "Safety Systems", "Hybrids, Electric Drives and Environment" and "New Materials and Processes".

     HKPC is also expanding its geographical coverage in keeping with the shift of production from Hong Kong to the Mainland.  To better serve the 60,000 Hong Kong manufacture enterprises operating in the PRD, HKPC set up three subsidiaries in Guangzhou, Dongguan and Shenzhen in 2003 and 2004 to provide integrated support services across the value chain.  HKPC's expertise in productivity enhancement and cleaner production will help our manufacturers meet the challenges and grasp the opportunities brought by Guangdong's strategy to pursue more environmentally-friendly and sustainable economic growth.  These HKPC subsidiaries work closely with the Mainland authorities.  For example, HKPC's subsidiary in Shenzhen and the Productivity Promotion Centre of the Shenzhen Municipal Government have agreed to pool resources together to service the small and medium enterprises there.

     The Government will continue to look to HKPC as an integral part of Hong Kong's technology support infrastructure, providing skills and know-how to experiment new technologies for adaptation and application and to enhance the competitiveness of our industries in the world market.  We also look to HKPC in providing more support to Hong Kong's small and medium manufacturing enterprises operating in the PRD.

     HKPC has served Hong Kong industries with distinction over the past 40 years.  I am confident that in the next 40 years and beyond, HKPC will continue to adapt itself to the ever changing environment and make significant contributions towards our industries in the areas of innovation, technology, management and competitiveness.

     On this happy occasion, I congratulate HKPC again for your achievements in the past, and wish you the very best in the future.  Thank you.

Ends/Thursday, October 19, 2006
Issued at HKT 18:15