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Speech by FS at Hong Kong ICT Awards 2016 Awards Presentation Ceremony cum Opening of International IT Fest 2016 (English only)(with photos/video)

     Following is the speech by the Financial Secretary, Mr John C Tsang, at the Hong Kong ICT Awards 2016 Awards Presentation Ceremony cum Opening of International IT Fest 2016 this evening (April 11):

Professor Wong (Yuk-shan), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good evening.

     I am pleased to join you all for the opening ceremony of the International IT Fest 2016, the annual mega-information and communications technology industry event and also the 10th Presentation Ceremony of the Hong Kong ICT Awards.

     For those of you who follow tech news closely, you may be aware that a couple of months ago, Google surpassed Apple as the most valuable publicly traded company in the world. Well, actually, it was Alphabet, Google's parent company, that did the edging.

     Due to the fluctuations of stock prices in the following days, Apple quickly regained the crown, while Alphabet continues to run second. And guess who comes in third place in this most-valuable-company-in-the-world competition? Of course, you got that right. It is Microsoft.

     So the world's three largest companies by market cap are all ICT-related, and I think for good reasons. Yes, ICT is now at the soul and the heart, as well as the spine of the new economic order that we are witnessing today.

     Indeed, breakthroughs in innovative technologies, in the form of ICT, Fintech, AI, biotech and robotics, and more, have brought about paradigm shifts in different economic and social spheres, offering us a new direction as well as a new modality of growth, and creating new opportunities for both traditional industries as well as emerging industries.

     To position ourselves as a key player in this new reality, Hong Kong must act swiftly. I have announced a host of measures in my recent Budgets to nurture and to support development of innovative technologies as well as the application of these new technologies. Additional resources will be allocated to promote smart production, to enhance research at tertiary institutions, improve the R&D Cash Rebate Scheme for private companies, as well as to launch a Pilot Technology Voucher Programme to promote the use of technology by small and medium-sized enterprises.

     The new modality of business and a more and more open market ecosystem also inspired a new wave of entrepreneurship and burgeoning start-ups.

     In fact, Hong Kong is developing fast into one of the world's most popular start-up hubs. We are blessed with an international trade network, a transparent and open market, the rule of law and an independent judiciary. Together with our simple and low tax regime as well as our level playing field, Hong Kong is the ideal breeding ground for start-ups.

     The Government, Cyberport, Science Park, as well as private organisations, such as Accenture and Nest, will continue to offer comprehensive support to start-ups, in the form of incubation and accelerator programmes, financing, business expansion and shared office space.  

     It certainly helps that the ICT Awards has included a Best ICT Start-up Award category two years ago. And I am delighted also to see that this year's Hong Kong ICT Awards has introduced a new Best FinTech Award category.

     And there's much more to look forward to in this year's International IT Fest, which features more than 40 events, including Wednesday's inaugural Internet Economy Summit, where industry experts and leaders from Facebook, Microsoft and Xiaomi and many more international technology companies will share their insights and visions on the development of ICT.

     Ladies and gentlemen, judging from the excellent work showcased in the record-breaking 1 200 entries of this year's award, I firmly believe that we are now on the right track in establishing Hong Kong as a rising ICT hub with an innovative mix of East and West, and in consolidating Hong Kong's strengths and advantages under the new economic order.

     Thank you very much and have a great evening.

Ends/Monday, April 11, 2016
Issued at HKT 20:05


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