CS speaks at Opening Ceremony of Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair 2007 (English only) (with photos and video)
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Following is the speech by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Rafael Hui, at the opening ceremony of Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair 2007 at Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre this morning (April 28) (English only):

Jeffrey (Lam), Fred (Lam), Tom (Tang), Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning.  It gives me great pleasure to join you here at this opening ceremony for the Hong Kong Gifts and Premium Fair 2007. I would like to extend my warmest welcome to all of you, and in particular to those of you who have travelled from the Mainland and overseas.

I am proud to say that with a very successful history of 22 years already behind it, the Hong Kong Gifts and Premium Fair has become the biggest event of its kind in Asia and the second largest globally. This year the Fair attracted over 3900 exhibitors from more than 38 countries around the world.

This Fair has become a landmark event for many of us here today íV much more than just a platform on which to display new products. It is an occasion that brings together exhibitors and buyers from near and far, providing opportunities for networking, business and friendship. And there's more íV innovation has always been a central theme here. Buyers return year after year and find something new, something that offers them an edge in the ever-competitive marketplace. And in this respect I must mention one of this year's highlights, the Hall of Fine Designs, which will showcase inventive products and outstanding collections by world-class companies and leading designers.

Innovation and design are having an increasing impact on brand development and sales. In recognition of this fact, the Government has earmarked $100 million over the next five years for the Hong Kong Design Centre to improve design standards, to foster design-related education and to raise the profile of Hong Kong as an innovation and design hub. In addition, we will continue to assist companies, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs), to develop their own designs and brands through the DesignSmart Initiative. This initiative encourages SMEs to invest in the use of design by providing funding and support, as well as providing office space and services for design tenants at its InnoCentre.

At the same time, we recognize that some local SMEs simply do not have the required resources for attending trade fairs overseas. Therefore, one of our supporting measures for them is to reinforce Hong Kong's position as an international centre for conventions and exhibitions, which of course make huge economic sense on its own. And I'm glad to say that we have been very successful in doing this. We owe our success to a number of factors íV not just hard work. Hong Kong's strategic location, our world-class infrastructures, our business-friendly environment, meticulous professional and hospitality services and íV last but certainly not least íV our impressive organisational skills, have all played a part. I'm not boasting íV to succeed as hosts of fairs and exhibitions you need to do it right. And just like with any business, you must keep an eye on the competition. We have been monitoring the growing regional rivalry, and will continue striving to improve and enhance Hong Kong's advantages as a conventions centre.

In fact, we are stepping up our efforts to make Hong Kong the world's events capital, and will liaise closely with the relevant international organisations and governments, the industry, trade associations and chambers of commerce to identify further opportunities for hosting large-scale international conventions and exhibitions in this city.

Ladies and gentlemen, in closing, I would like to extend my thanks to the Hong Kong Trade Development Council and the Hong Kong Exporters' Association for co-organising this event, and another special thanks to you, the exhibitors and buyers, for making it such a great occasion. I wish you all a memorable and successful Gifts and Premium Fair 2007.

Thank you.

Ends/Saturday, April 28, 2007
Issued at HKT 10:41

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