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PSCIT's speech at Hong Kong Watch and Clock Fair 2010 (English only)

     Following is the speech by the Permanent Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development (Commerce, Industry and Tourism), Miss Yvonne Choi, at the opening ceremony of the Hong Kong Watch and Clock Fair 2010 this morning (September 6):

Fred (Lam), Samson (Sun), Stanley (Lau), Peter (Sin), Joseph (Chu), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good morning.

     It is my great pleasure to join you today at the opening of the Hong Kong Watch and Clock Fair 2010.

     I would like to welcome all participants, especially overseas visitors, to this world renowned Watch Fair, which is being held for the 29th year. It is most encouraging that over 700 exhibitors from all over the world are joining the event this year.

     Hong Kong is the second largest exporter of clocks and watches in the world. As the Asian economies lead the world in the recovery from the global financial crisis, Hong Kong's watch and clock industry continues to tick strongly.

     In the first half of this year, the value of our timepiece exports amounted to HK$24.5 billion, or about US$3.1 billion. This represents an impressive growth of 24% compared to the same period last year.

     Europe, the US and Mainland China continued to be our top three export markets in 2009, accounting for over half of the total exports of the industry.

     Given the uncertain pace of the economic recovery in the traditional markets in the West, Hong Kong continues to serve as an effective launch pad for emerging markets in Asia, particularly Mainland China.

     Under our unique free trade pact with the Mainland, what we call the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement or CEPA for short, all Hong Kong products meeting the relevant origin rules can enjoy zero tariff to enter the Mainland market.

     During the first six months of 2010, $2.5 million worth of "Hong Kong brand" watches entered the Mainland market under the tariff-free treatment under CEPA.

     The Mainland and other emerging markets no doubt provide huge business opportunities. But competition is also keen. To enhance our competitiveness, there is a need for the industry to move up the value chain.

     At present, about three-quarters of Hong Kong's watch and clock exports are produced on an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) basis.  Increasingly, we see more Hong Kong enterprises starting to develop original design manufacturing (ODM) or original brand manufacturing (OBM) businesses.
     Manufacturers are also investing more in research and development, such as applying 3-D computer graphics in industrial design to meet consumer demand for enhanced functionalities and more fashionable design. The Government is keen to facilitate our enterprises in moving up the value chain through providing financial support under various SME funding schemes.  

     Apart from being a major exporter of watches, Hong Kong is also the world's largest importer of Swiss luxury watches. The total value of imported Swiss watches in the first half of this year amounted to HK$10.4 billion. Overseas tourists, particularly Mainland tourists, like to buy luxury watches in Hong Kong partly because of the quality services provided by Hong Kong watch retailers. This adds to the vitality of the watch and clock industry in Hong Kong.

     Lastly, I would like to congratulate the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, the Hong Kong Watch Manufacturers Association and the Federation of Hong Kong Watch Trades and Industries on staging this spectacular event once again this year.

     Thank you.

Ends/Monday, September 6, 2010
Issued at HKT 12:13


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