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Speech by SCIT at the 1st Anniversary Celebration Ceremony of AsiaWorld-Expo

    Following is a speech by the Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology, Mr Joseph WP Wong, at the 1st Anniversary Celebration Ceremony of AsiaWorld-Expo today (January 17):

Mr Borit, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good evening. It gives me great pleasure to join all of you here to celebrate the First Anniversary of AsiaWorld-Expo.

     AsiaWorld-Expo, as its name suggests, aims to provide a global platform for exhibition and event activities in the fast-growing Asia Pacific region. With its close proximity to the Pearl River Delta and taking advantage of Hong Kong's superb land, sea and air connections, AsiaWorld-Expo is in a unique position to perform this role.

     Indeed, it has already made a remarkable start and hosted a number of prestigious events.  It is also worth noting that of the 40 events and activities held at AsiaWorld-Expo last year, over 90% of them were held in Hong Kong for the first time.

     Of course, we still have vivid and pleasant memories of the ITU TELECOM WORLD 2006, the "Olympics of the telecommunications industry", which was successfully held at AsiaWorld-Expo last December. Apart from the direct and indirect financial benefits this event has brought to AsiaWorld-Expo and the economy of Hong Kong, it has also received international acclaim from both the business sector and governments. It has significantly enhanced Hong Kong's status as an international centre for exhibitions and conventions. I compliment the management of AsiaWorld-Expo for doing a fine job.

     You have already heard the announcement by our Chief Executive, following his recent visit to Beijing, that the Central Government of China has pledged to support Hong Kong's development as an international centre for organising international exhibitions and conferences. I am sure this is great news to AsiaWorld-Expo as the Government continues to take appropriate action on all fronts to meet this policy objective.

     First, at the central level, relevant Government departments, including Invest Hong Kong, our economic and trade offices in the Mainland and overseas, and the Hong Kong Tourism Board will step up their efforts to promote Hong Kong's advantages to host international exhibitions and conferences. We will also work closely with AsiaWorld-Expo, Trade Development Council and the industry as a whole to attract more international events to Hong Kong. Where necessary, the Government will continue to assume a coordinating role in the areas of security, protocol, transportation, etc., to facilitate the organisation and running of international exhibitions and conventions.

     Second, at the level of exhibition facilities, the Government is mindful of increasing competition from other cities in the region. We will ensure that we have sufficient and first-class facilities where and when we need them. So we are liaising closely with AsiaWorld-Expo to take forward the early commencement of its Phase 2 project, increasing the total exhibition space to 100,000 square metres, subject, of course, to a viable business case being made.

     Before closing, I would like to congratulate everyone who has helped to give AsiaWorld-Expo a phenomenally successful start. But we must not be complacent and should continue to aim high and scale new heights. I already note a vast array of international exhibitions and events being lined up at AsiaWorld-Expo this year and I would encourage the management to do even better. I am confident that AsiaWorld-Expo will continue to make a significant contribution to Hong Kong's exhibition and convention community.

     Thank you.

Ends/Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Issued at HKT 19:38


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