Speech by CE at Business of Design Week 2014 opening ceremony (English only) (with photos/ video)

     Following is the speech delivered by the Chief Executive, Mr C Y Leung, at the opening ceremony of Business of Design Week 2014 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre today (December 4):

Victor, Mr Kaplan, consul-general, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good morning. And welcome to Business of Design Week (BODW).

     Now in its 13th year, BODW continues to grow, to attract a world of design, and designers, here in Hong Kong to celebrate, and share, design excellence.

     Of course, "design excellence" is easy to say. The tricky part is getting the "excellence" into the design.

     That's why we're all here today. Why some 100,000 design champions are expected to attend this six-day design-fest. To find out how it's done, who's doing it, what inspires them, and why it moves on. There is, of course, a great deal more to it than that. As American designer and art director Paul Rand once said, "Design is everything. Everything!"

     I know I only have five minutes to speak, so I'll leave the "everything" part to our BODW speakers - some 100 creative professionals from 14 countries and regions.

     They're here to network and explore business opportunities, of course. But, for the most part, they're here to speak the beautiful, and the many languages of design. To share their insight and their experience in an endlessly diverse range of design fields: automotive, brand, commercial, cultural, fashion, gaming, graphic, industrial, product, retail, services, sustainable, urban and much more. "Everything" more, in fact.

     Among this year's highlights is our Partner Country, Sweden. As some of you know, Sweden was also Partner Country in 2004 and 2005, becoming the first country to take on this distinguished partnership a third time.

     And for good reason. Sweden and Hong Kong have long maintained close co-operation in culture, as well as business and trade and more. Sweden's theme, "Living Design," will show us the way to a better tomorrow, through four smart sub-themes: Live it, Work it, Wear it, and Do it. I myself also had a fruitful visit to Sweden earlier this year, which helped foster closer economic and social ties between the two places.

     A total of 40 Swedish companies are here at BODW in the Sweden Living Design Exhibition. And more than 10 Swedish pop-up design shops have taken their singular style to two floors at PMQ in Central. Even tomorrow night's Gala Dinner is a Swedish production, led by Michelin-star chef Stefano Catennacci.

     As for Hong Kong, our creative industries flourish in a rich cultural stew of East and West influences. More than culture, they contribute to economic growth and job creation. Indeed, our creative industries have grown at a rate faster than the overall economy in recent years. From 2005 to 2012, the value added by the cultural and creative industries increased at an average annual rate of 6.5 per cent, about one per cent higher than Hong Kong's GDP growth rate over the same period.

     Design, in particular, is an economic driver. The design sector's value added in 2012 was three times that of 2005, with design-industry employment soaring nearly 50 per cent over the same period.

     We've been supporting the work of the Hong Kong Design Centre for the past decade. BODW is one of the Design Centre's major success stories, underlining the value of the partnership between the Design Centre and the Hong Kong Government.

     Beyond the Design Centre we look to the concerted efforts of industry, academia and the community to help us sustain and strengthen our creative industries to help Hong Kong rise in Asia - hopefully to the levels of Sweden.

     Ladies and gentlemen, like most successful brands, BODW has made its international mark thanks to creative thinking, hard work, and the critical support and co-operation of the community and our friends from around the world.

     For that, my thanks to our hosts, the Hong Kong Design Centre, as well as BODW's other organisers, its supporters, supporting organisations, sponsors, and partner countries, past and present.

     I wish you all a very successful, and rewarding, BODW. And the best of design in the coming year.

     Thank you.

Ends/Thursday, December 4, 2014
Issued at HKT 12:08