Speech by CS at cocktail reception to celebrate 175th anniversary of AS Watson Group (English only)(with photos/video)

     Following is the speech by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam, at a cocktail reception to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the AS Watson Group this evening (December 14):

Mr Dominic Lai (Group Managing Director, AS Watson Group), Malina (Chief Operating Officer, AS Watson Group, Ms Malina Ngai), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

    Good afternoon. It is indeed my great pleasure to join you here today at the anniversary cocktail reception to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the AS Watson Group.

    Anniversaries are times of celebration and reflection, of assessing experience and accepting congratulations. With dedication and hard work in almost two centuries, AS Watson has now become one of the world's leading international health and beauty retailers, with over 12,000 retail stores in Asia and Europe, ranking 48th last year amongst all retail companies in the world according to a market report.  Please allow me to congratulate you on the 175th anniversary of the Group, which has played a vital role in representing Hong Kong's retail industry through a remarkable period of economic growth.

    Apart from growing its business, the AS Watson Group has, since its establishment, been taking an active role in delivering corporate social responsibility. I understand that the Group has invested more than $21 million into youth education and health, as well as community caring activities, in the last two years. The Group has been particularly supportive of sports, and in light of Hong Kong's ageing population it is planning to expand its community caring efforts to implement more elderly programmes.  

    As many of you are aware of, the Government has launched the territory-wide "Appreciate Hong Kong" Campaign, with a view to encouraging the public to appreciate Hong Kong more - a beautiful, energetic, caring and efficient city - and a home which belongs to us and nurtures us with numerous opportunities. Apart from literally appreciating the city where we live, the Campaign also means showing gratitude for Hong Kong, understanding Hong Kong and adding value to Hong Kong. I am pleased to note that the AS Watson Group will shortly announce an elderly-related project in support of the "Appreciate Hong Kong" Campaign. May I extend my gratitude to the Group for enriching the Campaign's programme.

    Care for the elderly is one of the policy priorities of this term of the Hong Kong SAR Government. One of our major goals is to encourage active ageing. At present, there are more than 200 subvented elderly centres throughout the territory, offering various support services and activities to the elderly at district level, with a view to facilitating their participation in and contribution to the community. The Elder Academy Scheme seeks to encourage the elderly to lead a fruitful life through lifelong learning, while the Opportunities for the Elderly Project and the Neighbourhood Active Ageing Project encourage the elderly to actively take part in community affairs and volunteer services.  

    Indeed, caring for the elderly is not something new to the AS Watson Group. Over the years, the Group has developed various initiatives on caring for the elderly. For example, the "Operation Warm" programme held in 2015 has mobilised volunteers to visit singleton and low-income elderly. Home appliances were provided to these needy elderly persons. The Group is also a keen supporter of the Senior Citizen Card Scheme operated by the Social Welfare Department. Currently, more than a million Senior Citizen Card holders enjoy special offers for particular products at over 370 stores under the Group, including supermarkets and electrical appliance stores.  

    Finally, I would like to thank the Group again for its service and care to the community throughout the years. I am sure I can count on the Group's continuous support in promoting the well-being of our senior citizens.

    Anniversaries are grand occasions, and you have much to celebrate. I hope you thoroughly enjoy your time this evening. Thank you.

Ends/Monday, December 14, 2015
Issued at HKT 19:30