Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Email this article
LCQ19: Sector-specific e-business promotion programmes

    Following is a question by the Hon Sin Chung-kai and a written reply by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Frederick Ma, in the Legislative Council today (November 28):


     Since 2004, the Government has conducted sector-specific e-business promotion programmes for the small and medium enterprises in six business sectors, namely travel agents, private medical practitioners, drugstores, accountants, logistics companies, and beauty services. Another round of the programmes was launched in February 2007, which covered five business sectors (watches and clocks, beauty services, medical and health, social services and trade). In this regard, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the respective numbers and percentages of companies in the business sectors concerned participating in the aforesaid programmes;

(b) whether it has conducted any interim reviews on the programmes, including their effectiveness and if the objectives have been achieved; if it has, of the criteria adopted and results of such reviews; if not, the reasons for that; and

(c) whether it will, by drawing on the commercial sector's experience in promoting e-business, assist non-government organisations such as social welfare organisations in introducing e-business, so as to help these organisations to reduce operating costs and enhance efficiency; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?


Madam President,

     As part of the Digital 21 Strategy, the Government undertook to drive e-business and ICT adoption in different business sectors, in particular among the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). To promote wider ICT adoption among SMEs, a sponsorship scheme, the Sector-specific Programme (SSP), was launched in 2004.

     Regarding the question raised by the Hon Sin Chung-kai, my reply is as follows:

(a) For the Sector-specific Programmes (SSP) we launched between 2004 and 2006 that benefited six business sectors (travel agents, private medical practitioners, drugstores, accountants, logistics companies and beauty services), the activities and deliverables concerned were available to people working in the trade regardless of whether they were representing a company or not. We, therefore, have no statistics on the number and percentages of companies that participated in the projects. For each sector, the organisers have provided us with the number of participants in their activities and the number of users of their deliverables. The relevant figures are listed as below:

Business sector                  Total number of
                              participants / users

Travel agents                          217
Private medical practitioners          693
Drugstores                              64
Accountants                          1 148
Logistics companies                    798
Beauty services                        214

     For projects under the new round of SSP in 2007, the organisers have provided estimated number of participants/users. We do not have actual figures at this stage as the projects are still ongoing.

(b) For each SSP project, organisers are required to evaluate the project outcomes in a final report submitted to the Government upon completion of the project. We observed from these reports that SSPs were well-received by the beneficiaries, and were effective in raising the awareness and adoption of IT and e-business among SMEs in the participating sectors.

     In addition to the project-specific reviews mentioned above, we also reviewed the way forward for SSP in mid-2006 to ensure the programme would provide further impetus to the development of e-business among SMEs. Taking into account the experience gained from the implementation of previous SSP projects, we considered that the Programme should be repositioned from promoting basic IT adoption and awareness to driving the development and adoption of practical IT solutions and possibly business process reengineering to enhance the competitiveness of SMEs. The new assessment criteria were applicable to the latest round of SSP launched in the first half of 2007.

(c) As the SSP sponsorship is opened to all sectors including the community, social and personal services sector, non-governmental organisations such as social welfare agencies can also apply for funding.

     A sponsorship of $1 million was allocated to the Hong Kong Council of Social Services (HKCSS) and the Internet Society Hong Kong Chapter (ISOC HK) to launch a project in June 2007. The project aims to build an information portal to facilitate knowledge sharing among workers of the social service sector. Materials frequently used in the library of the HKCSS will also be digitised to enable access of these resources through the Internet to enhance efficiency and lower the cost for users. The project is scheduled to be completed in the first half of 2009.

Ends/Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Issued at HKT 13:16


Print this page