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Speech by PSCT at ASOCIO Gala Dinner (English only) (with photo)

    Following is a speech by the Permanent Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development (Communications and Technology), Mrs Rita Lau, at the Asian-Oceanian Computer Industry Organisation (ASOCIO)ˇ¦s gala dinner in Singapore today (November 28):

Rear Admiral (Ronnie) Tay, Chairman Pek (Yew Chai), President (Ashank) Desai, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     It is my great pleasure to join you all this evening at the ASOCIO gala dinner.  I would like to congratulate the Singapore Infocomm Technology Federation on organising the ASOCIO ICT Summit so successfully. I am also delighted to announce that Hong Kong will be hosting the ICT Summit next year. To be organised by the Information and Software Industry Association, the ASOCIO ICT Summit 2008 will feature ˇ§Asiaˇ¦s Emerging Role in the Global Digital Creative Economyˇ¨, a theme encompassing issues of common interest to the economies in the Asia-Pacific region.

Issues of Common Interest

     Emergence of new distribution platforms, such as digital terrestrial television and mobile television services, will boost the demand for creative content. Governments and the industries will do well to ride on the rapid advances in new technologies and media convergence not only to promote economic growth but for the enrichment and better quality of living of our people.

     We witness the explosion of user-created content and the popularity of social networking on the web. Their overall impact on individualsˇ¦ lifestyle and the society are tremendous. Yet they also arouse concerns over information security and infringement of intellectual property (IP) rights. Besides, we have also seen the growth of spam emails and messages. It is estimated that in 2007 about 90 billion spam emails were sent out every day globally, and the economies in the region are inevitably one of the victims.

     As with the real physical world we live in, the cyber world perhaps calls for even greater collaboration of the ICT industries and the governments for development and coping with the challenges, and regional co-operation will play a pivotal part. Regional ICT organisations such as ASOCIO are therefore indispensable players.

Hong Kong: Related Policies and Achievements

     Hong Kong has long been an international trading and financial centre and can play a part and make contributions in the regional and international arena. Through the pro-market and liberalisation policy we adopt for the telecommunications industry, we witness healthy competition which enables Hong Kong to offer one of the world's most affordable Internet and mobile phone services. As a result, about three quarters of our 2.3 million households are connected to broadband Internet, and our mobile phone penetration has exceeded 140%. On this solid foundation, we are building Hong Kong into a digital wireless city through market forces and government investment:  We now have over 5,000 commercially operated Wi-Fi hotspots. We will progressively install about 2,500 more in public venues and facilities such as libraries, community centres and parks for free public access. When you come to Hong Kong for the ICT Summit next year, we will be able to offer you the convenience of this extensive free wireless connectivity.

     In equipping ourselves with an infrastructure that supports ubiquity, we have to be mindful of the need to provide a secure environment for business to flourish. We have established a Digital Rights Management platform in our flagship infrastructure Cyberport to enable digital content creators to distribute their products to consumers efficiently and economically. And for this, we have won the World Summit Award 2007 in the e-Business Category. Our strong IP protection regime and support for innovation and technology are some of the factors that contribute to our burgeoning digital entertainment industry.

Hong Kong ˇV Asiaˇ¦s World City and Vibrant ICT Industry

     Hong Kong is a place where the East and the West blend together to form Asiaˇ¦s World City ˇVa progressive, stable and free society. We possess world-class infrastructure for free flow of capital, people, goods and information. We have a vibrant ICT industry of over 9,000 companies employing about 75,000 talented practitioners, contributing to approximately 4% of our GDP. With our proximity to other Asia-Pacific economies and our close partnership with the Mainland of China, we can be a hub for technological cooperation and trade worldwide. Hong Kong is also well positioned to serve as an effective gateway for all of you to tap into the vast China market ˇV one of the worldˇ¦s fastest-growing economies. And with all the above advantages, Hong Kong is a location of choice for regional data centres.

Welcome to Hong Kong

     Ladies and gentlemen, the year 2008 will be an eventful year for Hong Kong. Other than many international events, Hong Kong is proud and honoured to stage the equestrian events of the Beijing Olympic Games. Although these events will have been over by the time you attend the ICT Summit next year, there is still plenty for you to explore in our vibrant city, not to mention our charming skyline and famous international cuisines. We, the people of Hong Kong, our ICT industry, together with the sparkling Christmas lightings on both sides of Victoria Harbour, will wholeheartedly welcome your visit.

     Thank you and see you in Hong Kong.

Ends/Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Issued at HKT 21:28


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