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SCED's speech at IT associations' luncheon (English only)
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    The following is the speech delivered by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Frederick Ma, at a luncheon organised by the Hong Kong Information Technology Federation, Hong Kong Computer Society and Hong Kong Wireless Technology Industry Association today (August 15):

Mr Ng, Mr Lee, Mr Chiu, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

     Good afternoon! First of all, I would like to thank the Hong Kong Information Technology Federation, the Hong Kong Computer Society and the Hong Kong Wireless Technology Industry Association for bringing together today leaders and active players in the information and communications technology (ICT) industry, so that we can share and exchange views on how best to leverage on ICT to enhance Hong Kong's competitiveness and quality of life of our people. This is in fact my third meeting with the ICT sector since I took up my current post in July, and I hope this help impress you all that the new Administration put a lot of attention to the relevant industry, despite we don't have the word "technology" in the bureaus name!

     As the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development with an integral responsibility over ICT development, I have long been a convert of the power of ICT. Take my background in the financial services field as an example, I have witnessed how IT has revolutionalised and globalised the financial industry, and its continued importance to enable Hong Kong to stay in the forefront as an international financial centre. ATM machines, cash cards and electronic banking are now indispensable tools of our everyday lives. In my coming five-year term, I am firmly committed to working with the ICT industry and other stakeholders in the community to enable different business sectors and social groups in our society to benefit from the wider use of information technology.  

     To take my commitment forward, I will continue to use the Digital 21 Strategy for our ICT development. After completing public consultation on the latest update to the Strategy in 2006, we will publish the 2007 version of the Digital 21 Strategy within this year taking into account latest technological advancement and the changing needs of the society. Achieving the goal of enhancing Hong Kong's position as a world digital city not only requires continued commitment from the Government, but also the active participation of the ICT industry, other business sectors, the academia as well as the general public. I encourage you all to share with us your view and visions so that we can devise a more effective Digital 21 Strategy.

     On the Government's part, we will continue to be a user, supporter and facilitator of ICT. Some $5.4 billion has been allocated in the 2007-08 financial year for ICT spending to improve the efficiency and quality of public service delivery. The new one-stop portal GovHK, which was officially launched two weeks ago, will be the platform for deepening the e-Government programme. Provision of Wi-Fi facilities at some 350 government venues in the coming two years will enable citizens to access e-government services and other content on the Internet, free-of-charge, through the mobile channel. At the same time, we will continue to promote advanced technology and innovation, by providing financial assistance for research and development and facilitating commercialisation of innovation. Regulatory frameworks will be revised as necessary to keep abreast of technological advancement and the changing user needs.

     A key element in our ICT blueprint is strengthening ICT co-operation between the Mainland and Hong Kong. The emphasis placed on technological innovation and informatisation in the National 11th Five-year Plan offers significant opportunities for the local ICT industry to contribute to the technological development of our motherland. Given the uniqueness of our political, economic and cultural relationship with the Mainland, I believe Hong Kong is well placed to perform the strategic role of a two-way platform, assisting Mainland enterprises in attracting foreign investment and participating in the global economy. The CEPA arrangement, the Hong Kong Guangdong Cooperation Joint Conference and the Shenzhen Hong Kong Innovation Circle (`зs) are all essential framework for such a strategic partnership.  

     Active participation and contribution of the ICT industry is essential in the various initiatives and programmes envisioned in the Digital 21 Strategy. I see ample opportunities for cooperation with the industry in areas such as tendering for Government ICT contracts, providing private sector content and services on GovHK, partnership in digital inclusion programmes, promoting the use of new technologies and so on. With the staunch support given by ICT professional bodies in the past, I am confident that there will be continued partnership and close dialogue between the Government and the industry in shaping the future ICT development in Hong Kong.

     I would like to thank the organisers once again for giving me this opportunity to meet with you all. And I look forward to having further opportunities to meet and to work with you all in the future. Thank you.

Ends/Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Issued at HKT 19:34

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