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FS' speech at presentation ceremony of Hong Kong ICT Awards 2008 (English only) (with photos/video)

     Following is the speech by the Financial Secretary, Mr John C Tsang, at the presentation ceremony of the Hong Kong Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Awards 2008 today (February 9):

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good evening.

     I am delighted to join you for tonight's awards presentation. It is my pleasure to be with you to celebrate the success of our ICT (Information and Communications Technology) professionals.

     Allow me to begin with a few words about the ICT industry from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer who once said, and I quote: "The number one benefit of information technology is that it empowers people to do what they want to do. It lets people be creative. It lets people be productive. It lets people learn things they didn't think they could learn before, and so in a sense it is all about potential."

     Ladies and Gentlemen, we will be looking to you, our ICT professionals, to help us fulfil our creative, productive and learning potential as we ride out the global financial storm. Going forward, we will continue to embrace the opportunities and challenges brought about by ICT developments. This is a timely and vital ingredient as we strive to improve efficiency, create and sustain jobs and improve our quality of life.

     Success hinges on the collaborative efforts of the industry and government. The Government remains fully committed to promoting ICT development. We are working to implement the "Digital 21 Strategy", the blueprint for Hong Kong's ICT development, in partnership with the industry. And last month, we expanded funding schemes under the Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF) to create more internship opportunities and nurture new talents. We have also increased the solicitation exercise to fund more research and development projects under the ITF.

     Ladies and Gentlemen, this year's ICT Awards received close to 350 high quality entries. The winning entries are distinctive, and they come from a wide range of sectors, including ICT enterprises, SMEs, creative industries, social enterprises, government departments and students.  Different sectors have joined forces to achieve success in a spirit of collaboration.

     These awards also help to promote Hong Kong as a leading digital economy. In previous years, some of the winners have gone on to achieve further success on the international stage. This has included the Asia Pacific ICT Awards, the Stockholm Challenge Award, the World Summit Award, and the Red Herring Asia 100 Winners.

     Once again, warm congratulations to all the award winners on their outstanding achievements. I also thank the organising committee, the eight leading organisers, and all the judges for their hard work on making the ICT Awards possible.

     I am confident that, with your inspiration and innovation, Hong Kong will rebound strongly from the current economic downturn and achieve our full potential as Asia's world city.

     Thank you.

Ends/Monday, February 9, 2009
Issued at HKT 19:55


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