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CS'speech at the Opening Ceremony of the Hong Kong Fashion Extravaganza 2010 (English only) (with photos/video)

    Following is the speech of the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Henry Tang, at the Opening Ceremony of the Hong Kong Fashion Extravaganza 2010 held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre:

Vincent (Fang), Jack (So), Fred (Lam), Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentleman,

     Good evening.

     It is a pleasure to share with you the glamour and excitement of the Hong Kong Fashion Extravaganza 2010. Tonight's show features world-renowned fashion designers and their masterpieces for the next season.

     Congratulations to everyone involved in this world-class event. It is truly well done.

     Behind the glitz and glamour, the textile and garment industry is a mainstay of Hong Kong's economy. Hong Kong is the world's third largest garment exporter. The industry also provides almost a quarter (22%) of the jobs in Hong Kong's manufacturing sector.

     The textile and garment industry has undergone constant upgrading over the years through design, innovation and technology.

     In 2004, the Government launched the DesignSmart Initiative to support local design and innovation. A flagship event funded under this Initiative is the annual Business of Design Week. This event draws internationally renowned professional designers from fashion and related sectors to Hong Kong to share their experience and views on the latest design trends.  

     Injecting new blood into the industry is key to encouraging design innovation. That's why the DesignSmart Initiative also supports the "Hong Kong Young Design Talent Awards" which began in 2005 and the inaugural "Fashion World Talent Awards" last year. This fashion design competition aims to discover new creative design talents. Don't miss the Awards "Grand Final" this Thursday when you will see the next batch of emerging local designers.

     Branding is an important tool to enhance product image and customer loyalty. Over the years, the Government has been providing support to our designers in building and developing their own brands. Out initiatives include promotion, design, innovation and technology, intellectual property protection, testing and certification, and financing.

     We have also been working closely with the trade to assist and encourage Hong Kong enterprises in developing and promoting their brands in the Mainland and other markets.

     The global financial crisis has hit exporters especially hard in the past year or so. Fortunately, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. To continue supporting enterprises during these early days of economic recovery, the Government has further extended the special application period of the $100 billion Special Loan Guarantee Scheme to 30 June 2010.

     I am confident that with the creativity and flair of our designers, and the resilience of our manufacturers, Hong Kong's fashion industry will break new ground in the year ahead.

     Finally, congratulations to the Hong Kong Trade Development Council and its Garment Advisory Committee on staging this Fashion Extravaganza. I hope you all have a great evening and a very prosperous 2010.

     Thank you.

Ends/Monday, January 18, 2010
Issued at HKT 20:02


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