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Speech by CE at Business of Design Week 2015 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 2015 at Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre today (December 3):

Victor (Chairman of Hong Kong Design Centre, Mr Victor Lo); Mr Secretary of State, High Commissioner for the Spain Brand of the Spanish Government (Mr Carlos Espinosa de los Monteros); Mr First Vice Mayor of Barcelona (Mr Gerardo Pisarello); ladies and gentlemen,

     Good morning. I'm pleased to join you today for the opening ceremony of Business of Design Week 2015.

     For six designer-packed days, two words - two worlds - come together: design and business.

     In your day-to-day life, you know that if we mix design and business well, the end product will look and feel right, work well and, no less important, sell well. And when that happens, everyone's happy. Take it to its logical conclusion, and design, it seems, is in the happiness business.

     I've no doubt that all of you here today are happy - pleased to be part of BODW 2015. After all, BODW is the largest design event of its kind in Asia, and one of the most influential annual design gatherings in the world.

     The numbers certainly give testimony to that. Last year, BODW and its concurrent events attracted some 120,000 design professionals, educators, users, students and enthusiasts from more than 40 countries and regions, here in Hong Kong for a world of design, commerce, creativity and networking.

     This year, those numbers will, I'm sure, be surpassed, given the programme, which embraces community and culture, and the first-time focus on a Partner City rather than a country.

     Barcelona is that city, this year's BODW Partner. That means you have much to look forward to - indeed, just about everything that makes Barcelona one of the world's great cities: architecture, fashion, food, football and more, all of it memorably shaped by a fixation, a fascination, with design. Barcelona style.

     Powered by Barcelona, this year's BODW examines how good design helps create cities of the future.

     Hong Kong is Asia's world city, a metropolis located at the heart of Asia. Home to a diverse and dynamic community and inspired by the interaction between the East and the West, Hong Kong celebrates excellence and embraces creativity.

     No less vital to Hong Kong's future is our role as the "super-connector" between the Mainland of China and the rest of the world. Our "one country, two systems" arrangement gives us advantages no other economy can match. As the southern gateway to the Mainland, connected by history, culture and outstanding business and family ties, Hong Kong offers effortless access to the vast promise of China, the world's second-largest economy.

     Those advantages will become even more important as China rolls out its ambitious "Belt and Road" initiative. The "Belt and Road" plan has been designed to drive economic and cultural connectivity among some 60-plus economies spanning Asia, Africa and Europe.

     In this far-reaching initiative, Hong Kong will have a key role to play. As Mainland and overseas companies boost their business collaboration, Hong Kong will be the first port of call they turn to for design services and strategic branding. Thanks to our deepening economic integration with the Mainland. Thanks, too, to our professional services strengths - in finance and logistics, to be sure, but also in design, culture and more.

     Design is one of Hong Kong's fastest growing creative industries, having more than doubled its value added to the economy over the past decade. Vibrant and outward looking, our design community is blessed with close ties with designers from all over the world. It's also super-charged by the Mainland, our largest export market for design services.

     We attach great importance to promoting design in Hong Kong, to nurturing Hong Kong as a regional hub for creativity and culture. It's why the Hong Kong Government is proud to be a major sponsor of BODW, pleased to be part of its growing global business.

     For that, my thanks to BODW's organiser, the Hong Kong Design Centre. Making BODW a brilliant reality, year after year, demands dedication, passion and formidable organisational strengths. The Design Centre and its Chairman, Victor, have it all.

     Ladies and gentlemen, I wish you all a very rewarding Business of Design Week, and the best of business, design - and happiness - in the coming year.

     Thank you.

Ends/Thursday, December 3, 2015
Issued at HKT 12:27


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