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Speech by STH at Hong Kong Watch and Clock Fair (English only)

Following is the speech by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, at the opening of the Hong Kong Watch and Clock Fair at Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Centre today (September 3):

Mr (Gary) Lau, Mr (Geoffrey) Kao, Mr (Benjamin) Chau, distinguished guests, friends of the watch and clock industry from all over the world, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good morning. It gives me great pleasure to join you all at this opening ceremony of the biggest watch and clock fair in the world, the Hong Kong Watch and Clock Fair. This year's event is the 33rd of its kind, hosting more than 760 exhibitors from 19 countries and regions in the world. Among the Chinese, "3" is an auspicious number; double "3" of course is doubly auspicious, even better.  Double "3" means "continuous renewal" and "boundless opportunities", which are exactly what Hong Kong can offer to the watches and clocks sector, a sector combining creativity, art, craftsmanship, precision, fashion and technology.

     You may wonder why I am here, speaking to you as Secretary for Transport and Housing, apart from the fact that I too wear a watch. Well, under my transport portfolio, I look after logistics; and as you would agree, whether our logistics sector thrives depends largely on how well-connected Hong Kong is to the Mainland of China and the rest of the world via our transport links.

     An endless amount of consumer goods streams through Hong Kong to reach customers worldwide, taking advantage of our excellent logistics services. In the first five months of this year, Hong Kong's total exports of watches and clocks enjoyed a 6.7 per cent growth to reach US$4 billion, while our import of watches and clocks increased by 11 per cent to US$4.3 billion. I was told, before I came here, that watches and clocks form one of the top exports in Hong Kong. So, much of Hong Kong's economy depends on how vibrant our watches and clocks sector is.

     Hong Kong has excellent global connectivity. Some of you may not know that from here, from Hong Kong, one can reach half of the world's population in just five hours' flight time because we are so close to the rest of China, to India, to Korea and Japan; and down south, Indonesia, and Southeast Asia. Every week, about 380 container vessels depart from Hong Kong to around 550 destinations worldwide. In particular, Hong Kong is a premier logistics hub and springboard to Mainland China, because of our strategic location, our world-class infrastructure, our well-developed and interconnected transport systems, and our close economic relationship with this enormous market.

     I should also mention the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, now under construction through the joint efforts of three governments. This 29.6km-long mega bridge, when completed in a couple of years' time, will enhance Hong Kong's transport links to the western part of the Pearl River Delta Region, which is seeing a growing economic boom. For example, the travelling time between Zhuhai and Hong Kong International Airport in future will be cut by more than 80 per cent.  

     A study last year concluded that Hong Kong is amongst the most competitive locations as a regional distribution centre for high-value goods, especially luxury goods and wine, in Asia. The 12th Five-Year Plan for the National Economic and Social Development of the People's Republic of China has also expressed support for Hong Kong to develop into a high-value goods inventory management and regional distribution centre. Indeed, a number of third-party logistics companies have already set up bases in Hong Kong to provide customised logistics services along the supply chain of their clients. These services include inventory management, order processing, quality assurance, return and repair, distribution, as well as labelling and packaging for compliance in different markets. Hong Kong is fully equipped to handle the refined logistics necessary for products of a delicate and precise nature - watches and clocks of course are among these products. And we all know Hong Kong's watch and clock enterprises are all keen to move upmarket, hence requiring high quality logistics services.

     So, ladies and gentlemen, let me wish you all an immensely successful week full of business opportunities. To our visitors from afar, have an enjoyable stay in Hong Kong, and enjoy the very exciting street scene of Hong Kong, in addition to food and other treats. After concluding your good deals, do consider engaging our high value-added, efficient and silky-smooth logistics services for the perfect delivery of those interesting products you've found.

     Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to speak at this opening.

Ends/Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Issued at HKT 12:38


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