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Speech by SCED at Hong Kong Electronic Industries Association 30th anniversary gala dinner (English only)

     Following is a speech by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mrs Rita Lau, at the Hong Kong Electronic Industries Association 30th anniversary gala dinner tonight (October 7):

Professor (K.B.) Chan, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good evening.  It is my great pleasure to join you in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Hong Kong Electronic Industries Association.

     Since its establishment in 1980, the Association's unswerving commitment to promoting the development of electronics has kept the local industry vibrant and competitive.  

     Thirty years ago, the electronics industry was in its relative infancy.  Back then, a digital watch with time and date display was a "hip" item.  

     Electronics now plays an indispensible role in our daily lives.  From simple devices such as watches and music players, to more complicated gadgets and gizmos including cellphones, computers, and of course, the new favourite in town, iPads - all are must-have items.

     Most of us carry around on a daily basis at least three to four products with microchips and electric circuits embedded inside.  We often take the convenience afforded by technology for granted.

     We only truly appreciate the value these products bring to our lives when our computers crash or we forget our cellphones.

     But electronics is about more than convenience and the latest computer game craze.  Electronics is one of our most important industrial sectors.

     Last year, electronic products were our largest merchandise export earner, accounting for over 50% of the value of Hong Kong's total exports.  During the first half of 2010, the total merchandise export value of electronic products reached HK$790 billion, a great leap of 34% over the same period last year.

     Latest statistics reveal that Hong Kong was number one in the world in 2008 in exporting telephone sets.

     We were also second in exporting a wide range of electronic products including calculators, sound recording apparatus, computer parts and video recording apparatus.  In terms of destinations, exports to the Mainland accounted for nearly two-thirds of the total share in 2009.

     We must continue to explore new markets at home and overseas, especially in emerging economies in Asia, to open up new opportunities for our enterprises.  Asia is now widely regarded as the main propelling engine for the global economic recovery.  Hong Kong's strategic location, open market policies and excellent infrastructure make the city an important gateway to Mainland China and a premier business and financial hub in the Asia-Pacific region.  

     In April, we signed the Framework Agreement on Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation. This will help to strengthen cross-boundary links and open up new business opportunities in the Pearl River Delta.

     The Government is also committed to promoting the development of markets further afield.

     This includes paving the way to bring the "Hong Kong, China-New Zealand Closer Economic Partnership Agreement" into force.

     We are also working to complete negotiations on a free trade agreement with the European Free Trade Association as soon as practicable.

     At the same time, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council is organising trade missions and trade shows around the world to assist our enterprises in tapping into the new markets - most recently in Russia and India.

     Fierce competition in the electronics market, coupled with lightning-speed changes in technology make it vitally important to stay ahead of the curve.

     I encourage our electronics industry to take full advantage of government initiatives such as SME Funding Schemes, the Innovation and Technology Fund, the R&D Cash Rebate Scheme and the DesignSmart Initiative.  These schemes have been well-received and we hope they will inculcate an creative-innovative culture in Hong Kong, and help local firms to move up the value chain.

     Ladies and gentlemen, I commend the Association for spearheading the promotion of innovation and technology in the electronics sector over the past three decades.

     A great example of your work is the HKEIA Award for Outstanding Innovation and Technology Products, which serves as a tribute to the deep pool of creative talent we are fortunate to have in Hong Kong.  Your Education Foundation is another valuable contribution to society.

     Finally, congratulations once again on your 30th anniversary.  I wish you all an enjoyable gala dinner and every success in the future.

     Thank you.

Ends/Thursday, October 7, 2010
Issued at HKT 20:14


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