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Speech by FS at opening ceremony of Entertainment Expo Hong Kong 2016 (English only) (with photos/video)

     Following is the speech by the Financial Secretary, Mr John C Tsang, at the opening ceremony of Entertainment Expo Hong Kong 2016 this afternoon (March 14):

Director-General Li (the Director-General of the TV Drama Department, State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, Mr Li Jingsheng), Terry (the Chairman of Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) Entertainment Industry Advisory Committee, Ms Terry Lai), Wilfred (the Chairman of Hong Kong International Film Festival Society, Dr Wilfred Wong), Margaret (Executive Director of the HKTDC, Ms Margaret Fong), Leon (Hong Kong Entertainment Ambassador, Leon Lai), distinguished guests, film lovers, ladies and gentlemen:

     Good afternoon.

     Welcome to Entertainment Expo 2016, a three-week celebration of film, TV, music and digital entertainment, with the spotlight shining on the riveting business here in Hong Kong, across Asia as well as around the world.

     Today's kick-off ceremony is rife with reasons to party. Aside from this 12th edition of Entertainment Expo, we are marking also the 20th anniversary of the Hong Kong International Film & TV Market - or better known to you as FILMART.

     We are saluting, as well, the Hong Kong International Film Festival, which celebrates 40 years of bringing a world of fabulous films to Hong Kong. Over those four decades, the Festival has screened more than 7 500 movies. That includes 248 films this year. With a bottom line like that, I would say the Hong Kong International Film Festival is in the happiness business - and doing a bang-up job of it.

     They are not alone, of course. The entertainment industry is the crown jewel of Hong Kong's cultural and creative industries.

     In 2013, the entertainment sector accounted for more than 10 per cent of the value-added of our cultural and creative industries. And entertainment-related goods accounted for more than 70 per cent of Hong Kong's cultural and creative goods' exports.

     The entertainment industry also helps to shape Hong Kong's image as a creative and cosmopolitan city. Despite Hong Kong's modest size, our local film business has maintained a production output of some 50 movies a year over the past decade.

     A quick look at the Chinese-language films released over the Lunar New Year holiday last month reveals many familiar names behind our entertainment industry.

     They include, for example, Stephen Chow. I am told his new movie "The Mermaid" - a romantic fish tale ("tail"), so to speak - has become the highest-grossing film of all time in the Mainland, and it has only been showing for five weeks. Stephen, of course, is an internationally celebrated comedian, actor, film director and producer, and no doubt, an unmistakable icon of Hong Kong's local culture.

     In fact, for many years now, some of the Mainland's biggest box-office hits have been produced jointly by Mainland filmmakers as well as Hong Kong filmmakers together.

     That successful partnership is testament to how CEPA, the closer economic partnership agreement, between Hong Kong and the Mainland works to everyone's benefit.

     Hong Kong itself often plays the role of the star turn. We continue to be a favourite location for overseas moviemakers, especially those from Hollywood. That's thanks, of course, to the look and feel of Hong Kong and its myriad East-West location possibilities.

     It's thanks, as well, to our post-production professionals, from special-effects creators to digital animators.

     We are also a centre for the business of buying and selling entertainment products. FILMART is, in fact, Asia's largest marketplace for the entertainment industry. Last year, FILMART attracted some 800 exhibitors from 34 countries and regions, drawing more than 7 000 visitors from over 50 countries and regions. That is a potent and productive global mix of producers, investors, distributors, as well as creative and business professionals. And they are here in Hong Kong, year after year, to network, to do business and to take in the latest offerings from around the world.

     To ensure that Hong Kong remains a key player on the regional and global entertainment stage, the Government will continue to support the Entertainment Expo.

     In my Budget last year, I injected HK$400 million into the CreateSmart Initiative, to support creative industry projects, including those for TV, music and digital entertainment.

     And in this year's Budget, I am injecting an additional HK$20 million into the Film Development Fund to help subsidise the costs of distributing and publicising locally produced Cantonese films in the Mainland, focusing primarily on the 100 million people living in the Cantonese speaking Guangdong Province.

     My thanks to the TDC and to the other organisers behind Entertainment Expo. My thanks, as well, to Leon for once again being our Entertainment Ambassador.

     I wish you all the best of business, and happy days and happy nights, at the Entertainment Expo here in Hong Kong.

     Thank you very much.

Ends/Monday, March 14, 2016
Issued at HKT 18:30


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