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Speech by PSCT at Brand Asia Conference (English only)

    Following is a speech by the Permanent Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development (Communications and Technology), Mrs Rita Lau, at the opening ceremony of Brand Asia Conference today (December 11):

Dear Professor Poon, distinguished speakers, ladies and gentlemen,

     It gives me great pleasure to join you all this morning at the opening of the Brand Asia Conference.

     The current economic landscape offers us both opportunities and challenges.  On the one hand, the rapid development of the Mainland economy and an increasingly sophisticated domestic market there bring about enormous business opportunities for Hong Kong enterprises.  The growing ambition of Mainland enterprises to enter into the global market, and the reverse trend of more and more foreign brands and companies targeting the Mainland market, also offer great opportunities for Hong Kong enterprises to play a supporting role in the process.  On the other hand, globalisation has brought about keen competition.  We have to better equip ourselves and stay ahead in order to survive and sustain our economic growth.  But how can we capitalise on these opportunities and take on the challenges of this new era?

     The 2007-08 Policy Address has shed light on the answers.  The Chief Executive mentioned in his Policy Address the building of "creative capital".  It is his view that to maintain our edge, the development of our creative industries must accelerate in the next five years.  He has also mentioned that the success of Hong Kong enterprises in restructuring and upgrading their businesses as well as brand building in the Mainland will contribute to the overall economic development in both the Mainland and Hong Kong.

     The Government has been working hard on this front.  Initiatives like the $250 million DesignSmart Initiative to promote design and branding; the $100 million to support the Hong Kong Design Centre to promote wider use of design; and the $300 million Film Development Fund to subvent film production are being run to provide a conducive and supportive environment for creative capital.  I am glad to say that the design capability of Hong Kong today is something we can be proud of.  In the recent Project 9707 organised by the Hong Kong Design Centre to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the reunification, we can see how our reputed designers work with international brands to create premium crossover products.  As part of the project, a publication "Very Hong Kong" published by Hong Kong Design Centre documenting some 90 good design cases in Hong Kong in the past 10 years also demonstrates Hong Kong's innovative design capability and showcases our rich pool of talent.

     For Hong Kong to remain competitive, Government's efforts alone will not bear fruit.  We need the professionalism and dedication of practitioners, and receptiveness and commitment of our business sector.  I am encouraged to see your attendance in today's conference.  And I must congratulate the Hong Kong Polytechnic University for organising this most timely conference during the Business of Design Week, and bringing in world experts to enlighten us on the latest thinking on brand experience, and share with us success stories.

     With the change in the lifestyle of people and shift in cultural forces in the past two decades, how we consume, what we consume and where we consume have evolved significantly.  As leisure time for consumers has decreased, their demand for meaningful and memorable experiences has increased.  Many companies are beginning to wrap experiences around their traditional offerings to sell them better.  Some even consider that experiences are a distinct economic offering, as different from services as services are from goods.  These new concepts are indeed eye-opening and inspirational, and from which we must learn lest we lag behind in the global competition.

     I am sure our audience will benefit from today's meaningful and memorable experience!  Thank you.

Ends/Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Issued at HKT 11:48


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