Speech by SCED at gala dinner of Asian-Oceania Computing Industry Organisation ICT Summit (English only)
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     Following is a speech by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mrs Rita Lau, at the gala dinner of the Asian-Oceania Computing Industry Organisation (ASOCIO) ICT Summit 2008 tonight (December 11):

Mr Li, Mr Ng, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good evening. It is my great pleasure to join you all this evening at the ASOCIO gala dinner. I had the honour to attend the gala dinner of the ASOCIO ICT Summit in Singapore last year to represent Hong Kong as the host for the ASOCIO ICT Summit 2008. Time flies and now I am here to welcome you all to Hong Kong. Welcome indeed!

     I would like to express my gratitude to the ASOCIO for choosing Hong Kong to host the annual ICT Summit this year and to congratulate the Information and Software Industry Association on their success in hosting the summit this year in Hong Kong.

     Over the course of the summit, I am sure that all participants will have benefited from the insights of distinguished overseas and local speakers who have covered a remarkably diverse range of subjects from building ICT trade in the Asia Oceanian region, digital innovation and creativity to public private partnership including e-government.  

     I would like to take this opportunity to share with you our vision for the future of e-government public services delivery in Hong Kong. We want to develop Hong Kong as Asia's digital entrepot. We aim for continuous improvements in our government services delivery with a view to bringing more convenience to the public. The new Government portal, GovHK, was launched last year as a one-stop portal to online government information and services. It provides access to about 1,200 existing government electronic services. In the short time since its commencement, I am delighted to say that the public response has been very positive: 87% of users consider the portal user-friendly. We are continuously enhancing the portal, to introduce new services such as personalised web pages, geographical information and integrated user accounts. Although GovHK is a government project, it has been an open platform on which we welcome the private sector's participation through the provision of related value-added services.  

     To provide better quality services for patients, we are also developing Electronic Health Records for every patient treated by the Hospital Authority. The record system consists of the patients' medical history, diagnoses, test results and images and covers 90% of all hospital beds.

     In addition, to achieve our goal of building Hong Kong into a wireless city, the Government has launched the GovWiFi Programme. In addition to the existing 7,300 public Wi-Fi hotspots provided by the private sector, we will progressively install free Wi-Fi facilities at about 350 government premises by mid 2009. In the not too distant future, we expect to be able to say welcome to our wireless world.

     Recently, Hong Kong just like all other financial centres has had to face the economic crisis brought by the so called financial tsunami. Those of you who read Chinese will know that the character for crisis contains two elements, danger (M) and opportunity (). At this critical time, we have to be creative and explore ways to turn the crisis into business opportunities. The industry must take the lead to show how ICT can help to transform businesses and help them stay competitive.  

     One particular opportunity must not be overlooked. Economic development in China has gained momentum and grown rapidly in the last decade. With our unique advantage of having Mainland China as a hinterland and our proximity to other Asia-Pacific economies, Hong Kong serves as an effective gateway for entering the China market. I strongly encourage all of you, particularly those from overseas, to look for co-operation and partnership opportunities in China.

     I am absolutely delighted to see so many overseas business leaders and ICT experts here tonight. I am sure you must have had a fruitful experience at the summit in these days. The only suggestion I have for you now is that it is time to relax. I strongly recommend you to stay an extra few days in Hong Kong and enjoy all we have to offer: our famous international cuisines, the fantastic shopping opportunities and of course don't forget to take a look at the Christmas lighting on both sides of Victoria Harbour and dine in our Michelin-starred restaurants. I do recommend the nightly Harbour Light Show. Probably the only Guinness Book of Records entry that you will be able to enjoy tonight for free!

     Thank you.

Ends/Thursday, December 11, 2008
Issued at HKT 20:00

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