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Speech by SCED at Business of Design Week (English only) (with photo)

    Following is a speech by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Frederick Ma, at the opening ceremony of Business of Design Week today (December 12):

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     I am most honoured to be here this morning with such a distinguished gathering of renowned practitioners in the design field and business leaders from all over the world.

     Since its inception in 2002, the Business of Design Week (BODW) has become one of the leading design events in the world, despite its short history.  With its unique focus on the intimate relationship between business and design, the BODW has become an internationally regarded platform for networking, business sharing and knowledge building.

     This year, we have more than 100 internationally renowned speakers to share experience and visions for future brand, design and innovation.  The week-long event tackles business and design from all fronts.  Apart from the core issues of business and design, the programmes also cover design education, innovative technology, brand experience, and intellectual property.  The Project 9707 organised by the Hong Kong Design Centre to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the Reunification will be showcased in the event.  We can see how our designers work with international brands to produce premium crossover products.  The BODW has also been a much cherished occasion for honouring excellence in design and awarding distinguished people for their distinguished work.  The partner country for this year's BODW is Italy.  This offers a golden opportunity for us to learn from the would renowned Italian design, and we could expect some Italian-flavoured experience in our participation in the programmes.

     In the knowledge-based economy of today, there is no exaggeration to say that innovation and design is the tool for survival as well as the key to economic success.  Opportunities abound in the current economic landscape, and so are challenges.  There are enormous business opportunities to Hong Kong in the midst of the Mainland's development into the "world factory".  The increasing affluence and growing consumption of the Mainland consumers also offer huge market potential for our trading businesses.  However, the keen competition that comes with globalisation remains a big challenge.  Our industries operating in the Pearl River Delta also face unprecedented challenges as the policy adjustments on the Mainland have imposed an urgent need for them to take decisions on restructuring, upgrading and relocation.  To capitalise on the opportunities and survive the challenges, we need to look to innovation and design.

     In anticipation, the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has since 1997 recognised the value of innovation and technology and adopted a policy that promotes innovation, technology and design.  In 2001, we supported the establishment of the Hong Kong Design Centre and have since worked with it as our strategic partner in the promotion of design.  In 2004, we launched the US$32 million 'DesignSmart Initiative' to provide funding support for worthwhile projects that promote design development in Hong Kong, and set up the InnoCentre as a one-stop-shop to cluster design activities and nurture design start-ups.  The BODW is one of the projects supported by the DesignSmart Initiative.  This year, we have committed another funding of US$12.8 million to support the operation of Hong Kong Design Centre over five years to further assist our trades and industries to make full use of their designs and build their brand names.  The Government's policy and commitment are further reinforced by the Chief Executive in his recent Policy Address, in which he mentioned the building of a 'creative capital', and said that to maintain our edge, the development of our creative industries must accelerate in the next five years.

     While the Government will spare no efforts to promote innovation and design, we need the support of professional people like all of you and the public at large.  The BODW is not only an event for the people in the field, but an event that engages the whole community.  The BODW, with its various programmes and exhibitions, raises our awareness that innovation and design has intrinsic relation with our daily life, and innovation and design can make life easy and beautiful.

     Finally, I would like to applaud the Hong Kong Design Centre for hosting this event, and all co-organisers, sponsors and supporting organisations, as well as all the speakers, for their valuable contributions.

     I wish all participants a most inspiring experience, and for those who have travelled from afar, a most pleasant stay in Hong Kong.  Thank you.

Ends/Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Issued at HKT 14:35


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