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Speech by CS at opening ceremony of "So French So Innovative" Exhibition (English only) (with photos/video)

     Following is the speech by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam, at the Opening Ceremony of "So French So Innovative" Exhibition this evening (November 17):

Consul general, (Consul general of France in Hong Kong & Macau, Mr Eric Berti), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good evening. It is my great pleasure to join you in this year's "So French So Innovative" (SoFSoI) exhibition. My warmest welcome to our friends from France. First of all, on behalf of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government, may I again express our deepest sympathy on the loss of lives and injuries in last week's terrorist attacks in Paris and extend our condolences to the victims' families and the people of France.

     I would like to thank the Consulate General of France, the French Chamber of Commerce and the Hong Kong section of the French Foreign Trade Advisors for organising this wonderful exhibition for the second time since the great success last year. I am sure our citizens will be very impressed and our industry inspired by the very clever French innovations on show today, as much as they have enjoyed French cuisine, wine and fashion.

     Innovation is increasingly important for enterprises, cities and nations to build competitive advantages. Over the years, the HKSAR Government strives to provide a strategic environment for innovation and technology development through five core strategies, which include providing world-class technology infrastructure; offering financial support for research and development (R&D); nurturing talents; strengthening Mainland and international collaboration in science and technology; as well as fostering a vibrant innovation culture. And that's just the beginning. Development of a vibrant ecosystem with excellent software and hardware support for industry players to collaborate requires long term investment and collaboration amongst the Government, the industry, the academia, and the research sectors.

     To this end, we have Hong Kong Science Park and Cyberport, our flagship infrastructures which offer one-stop infrastructural support services to technology based companies and activities. We have a comprehensive programme of funding schemes under the Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF) to finance projects that contribute to technology upgrading in manufacturing and service industries, with a goal to reinforce the research culture amongst private companies. We also have implemented a number of programmes, such as incubation programmes operated by the Hong Kong Science Park and the Cyberport, the Technology Start-up Support Scheme for Universities, and the Internship Programme to provide funding support, training and exposure for nurturing our younger generations. To instil a stronger innovative culture, the Government organises a wide range of promotion activities to enhance public awareness of innovation and technology, including the yearly anchor event Innotech Month, which is on the show till December 5 this year.

     More inter-sector collaboration is possible in the near future, particularly in the light of the establishment of our new Innovation and Technology Bureau, this week, sooner, actually on Friday. The setting up of this new bureau, which is quite difficult, after three long years of hard work with the Legislative Council, signifies that innovation and technology are our strategic focuses in driving social and economic development and will be our growth engine for the decades to come. A new bureau also means the effort to promote innovation and technology development will now be steered by a dedicated high level leadership with stronger policy coordination, creating a more vibrant ecosystem that enables our stakeholders including innovators, entrepreneurs, industrialists and academics to capture the opportunities arising from advancements in technology.

     With our strong foundation, together with the more focused policy coordination by this new Bureau, I am quite confident that, very soon, Hong Kong will find its place as a major information, communication and technology hub in the region, if not the globe.

     The "So French So Innovative" Exhibition is very timely for Hong Kong, for all these French creative exhibits will vividly tell our citizens, how innovation and technology are adapted to create a smart and eco-friendly living environment for Hong Kong people, bringing about positive impacts on our daily life, and playing increasing important role in enhancing connectivity, sustainability and creativity. Indeed, our Government also shares the vision to make use of innovation and technology for improving people's lives and taking care of people's needs. To this end, we have therefore created a Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund to support projects aiming at helping the disadvantaged. I believe that the rich collection of "So French So Innovative" exhibits, ranging from high-end communications technologies to advanced application to daily health items and security systems, and to how to teach our kids to read, will give us much inspiration.  

     By the way, I am pleased to note that most of the exhibitors today are companies based in Hong Kong and I have just been introduced to some of them. This is indeed a very wise move. As a matter of fact, according to our latest survey, the number of business operations in Hong Kong with parent companies overseas and in the Mainland climbed to a new record of over 7 900. Hong Kong has always been an attractive place for overseas business thanks to our geographical location, our close economic ties with the Mainland of China due to our unique status under "One Country, Two Systems", our respect for rule of law, an independent judiciary and constitutionally-guaranteed rights and freedoms. Basically, Hong Kong has all the essential elements that overseas businesses are looking for.

     Collaboration on innovation and technology has no border. France is one of the world leaders in innovation. There are plenty of collaboration opportunities between Hong Kong and France on innovation and technology and I am looking forward to seeing more activities on this front.

     Lastly, may I wish the "So French So Innovative" exhibition every success. Thank you very much.

Ends/Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Issued at HKT 21:37


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