The Government is committed to enhancing the environment for the conduct of e-commerce so as to retain Hong Kong's competitive edge and to secure international recognition and investment.
Speaking at an e-commerce seminar today (November 16), the Acting Director of Information Technology Services, Mr Stephen Mak Hung-sung, said that promoting e-commerce was a major initiative of the Government's information technology (IT) strategy.
The seminar on "New Domain of E-commerce" for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) held today was jointly organised by the Information Technology Services Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government and the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce.
"By successfully implementing the various initiatives in the Digital 21 IT Strategy which was launched by the Government in 1998, we have substantially enhanced Hong Kong's information infrastructure and created a strong foundation for growth in the use of IT and adoption of e-commerce in both the public and private sectors," said Mr Mak.
"The 2001 Digital 21 Strategy with the theme of 'Connecting the World' which was released in May this year further builds on this solid foundation. We will be leveraging IT to position Hong Kong as a leading e-business community and global digital city," he said.
In order to enhance the environment conducive to e-commerce development, the Government has implemented various measures. One of them is to facilitate an open and competitive telecommunications environment.
"We have liberalised our external telecommunications facilities market since 2000," said Mr Mak, "and now Hong Kong already has one of the best telecommunications infrastructure in the world."
"The role of the Government is to provide a level playing field which will bring more effective competition and in turn will lead to improvement in service quality, as well as better value to customers," he added.
In the past three years, the Government has successfully developed the necessary infrastructure for conducting e-business, including regulations and legislation, public key infrastructure and certification authorities, Chinese language interface, and the development of the Cyberport.
"We will continue to enhance Hong Kong's world class e-business infrastructure," said Mr Mak.
"We will also review within this year the Electronic Transactions Ordinance to ensure that our legal framework for e-commerce is in line with international developments."
The construction works of the Cyberport have also been progressing according to plan, for phased completion between early 2002 and end 2003.
With its state-of-the-art information infrastructure supporting development of innovative IT products, services and facilitating e-commerce, the Cyberport will provide a world class environment to further enhance the competitiveness of the local IT industry.
Recognising the great potential for growth in the adoption of e-commerce by Hong Kong businesses, the Government has organised various awareness seminars, exhibitions and provides access to solution case studies to facilitate the business community and the industry, especially the SMEs, to enhance their competitiveness in the information economy.
This will further strengthen our position as a gateway to business with the Mainland of China, especially with the latter's accession to the World Trade Organization.
Mr Mak said, "Digital 21 represents Hong Kong's overall strategy for leadership in the information economy of the 21st century. We will develop a marketing strategy for enhancing public and international awareness of Hong Kong's image as an e-business friendly and leading digital city."
"We have also entered into collaborative arrangements in the form of Memorandum of Understanding or bilateral agreement with Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, Finland, India, Israel and the Republic of Korea to enhance co-operation and exchange in the field of IT and telecommunications."
End/Friday, November 16, 2001