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Speech by CE at 5th Business of Intellectual Property Asia Forum (English only) (with photo/video)

     Following is the speech by the Chief Executive, Mr C Y Leung, at the 5th Business of Intellectual Property (IP) Asia Forum this morning (December 3):

Margaret, Mr (Changyu) Shen (Commissioner, State Intellectual Property Office, China), Mr (Francis) Gurry (Director General, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)), Mr (Miguel Ángel) Margáin (Chair, Intellectual Property Rights Experts Group, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation), ladies and gentlemen,

     Good morning. A warm welcome to Hong Kong and the fifth Business of Intellectual Property Asia Forum. Three IP VIPs are with us today attending this Forum for the first time: Shen Changyu, Commissioner of the State Intellectual Property Office; Francis Gurry, Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization; and Miguel Ángel Margáin, Chair of the Intellectual Property Rights Experts Group, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation. We are honoured to have you with us and look forward to your IP input and insights.

     IP has come a long way in recent years. IP ignites innovation and creativity; it has the power to take business to soaring heights of success. It's why the theme of this year's Forum is "IP - Transforming Global Business."

     Hong Kong, I'm pleased to say, is a regional hub for innovation and creativity - and intellectual property too. And with good reasons. Hong Kong is not known for its natural resources. Our greatest strength lies at our people. Our talents. We thrive not by our brawn, but by our brains. We rely on the fertile and flexible minds of our people to innovate, to stay competitive, and to excel. No doubt we need a robust system to protect the output of our talents - our intellectual property.

     There is no coincidence that Hong Kong is one of the top-ranking economies in the World Intellectual Property Organization's 2015 Global Innovation Index. We are particularly strong in regulatory quality, ease of protecting investors, market capitalisation, intensity of local competition and high-tech imports. Our sophisticated IP regime not only protects the assets of our own population. It provides a safe haven for the assets generated outside Hong Kong as well. And this is mutually beneficial. We derive great benefit while protecting the IP of those outside Hong Kong.

     Other than a comprehensive regulatory regime, we enjoy a strong competitive edge in IP intermediary support services. We are blessed, too, with formidable research and development capabilities. And, no less important, we guarantee a free and open market to all players.

     Our strategic position as the gateway to the Mainland of China reinforces our competitive advantage. As one of the world's largest economies, the Mainland of China will continue to be a major creator, user and consumer of IP.

     Consider the following from WIPO, based on 2013 stats: that year, the Mainland's share of global IP activities included more than a quarter of the world's trademarks, one-third of its patents and half of its industrial design filings.

     The Mainland of China also imported more than US$43 billion in technology from around the world that year. The surge in global and regional demand for IP and the shift of focus to China offer huge opportunities for Hong Kong and our partners.

     The promise is even more enticing when you consider China's "Belt and Road" initiative. The far-reaching scheme was created to enhance market integration among the 60-plus economies on the Asian, European and African continents.

     This ambitious development blueprint will generate overwhelming demand for services in this 21st century. It will also increase the volume and intensity of trade and investment between the Mainland of China and the economies along the "Belt and Road"'s twin corridors.

     As the super-connector between the Mainland of China and the rest of the world, Hong Kong has much to contribute to the "Belt and Road" - and much to gain from it. That includes IP as well.

      As you know, China's proposed 13th Five-Year Plan on National Economic and Social Development was announced last month. One notable theme is that innovation will take centre stage in the country's development from 2016 to 2020, the five year period under the Plan.

     The Central Government of China will also encourage better allocation of resources, including labour, capital, land, technology and management. The plan calls, as well, for better protection and use of IP to upgrade the economy into a global manufacturing power, cultivate strategic industries and modernise the nation's agricultural and service sectors.

     In all this, and more, Hong Kong is the natural launching pad for those wishing to tap the thriving IP market on the Mainland and, indeed, throughout Asia.

     Hong Kong continues to maximise its IP strengths. The legislative exercise to update our copyright law in the digital environment has come to its final stage. We hope that the updates will be passed into law in good time so that the stakeholders can soon enjoy the benefits. After its passage, we will lose no time in launching a new round of copyright review. We maintain an open mind as to the scope of the review.

     Another major development is the introduction of a bill, again, last month, into the legislature to amend our patent laws to establish a new patent system in Hong Kong.

     There are more IP developments in the pipeline, and the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development will talk about them at today's keynote luncheon. I encourage all of you to join the luncheon - I am sure that would be informative and enlightening.

     Ladies and gentlemen, Hong Kong is committed to being the region's IP trading hub. This Forum reflects our ambition, our belief in the power, and the future, of intellectual property - in Asia and around the world.

     I wish you all a productive Forum, and the best of luck with your business and investments in the coming year. And don't forget, your IP would be kept in a safe house, right here, in Hong Kong.

     Thank you.

Ends/Thursday, December 3, 2015
Issued at HKT 12:35


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