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Speech by SCED at opening ceremony of "Confluence · 20+" design exhibition in Milan (English only)
     Following is the speech by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, at the opening ceremony of the "Confluence‧20+ Creative Ecologies of Hong Kong" exhibition at Milan Design Week 2017 yesterday (April 4, Milan time):
Mr Song (Consul General of the People's Republic of China in Milan, Mr Song Xuefeng), Ms Mancini (Chief Officer of the International Relations Office of the Mayor of the City of Milan, Ms Marta Mancini), Eric (Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Hong Kong Design Centre, Professor Eric Yim), Edmund (Executive Director of the Hong Kong Design Centre, Dr Edmund Lee), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
     Good evening. I am most delighted to be here at the Milan Design Week. Welcome to the opening ceremony of "Confluence: 20+ Creative Ecologies of Hong Kong", or in short, C20+.
     People say that creativity is all around us - in the homes we live, the cars we drive, the clothes we wear, and the food we eat. Well, I must testify for the truth in it.
     Having just arrived in Milan from Ljubljana last night and with a packed schedule of meetings, my colleagues managed to arrange for me a tram tour this afternoon, such that I can take a look at the scenic and artistic streets of Milan, and also get a sense of creativity of our designers.
     You might wonder what creativity can be embedded in a tram tour. In fact, the tram programme is one of the exhibits of C20+. Our Hong Kong designer has transformed a normal tram of Milan into a moving exhibit and an installation art piece, showcasing Hong Kong's literary culture. The tram will be running on the streets in the coming days, so don't miss the chance of taking a ride!
     This tram programme, together with other multi-disciplinary exhibits by our Hong Kong designers, forms the essence of the C20+ exhibition series organised by the Hong Kong Design Centre. The exhibits are from 20 outstanding Hong Kong designers. As you can see from their works, they are diverse and vibrant. Their creativity flows from furniture to jewellery to lighting design and so on and so forth. Each of the art pieces tells a story that the designer wishes to share. The work of these 20 outstanding Hong Kong designers offers viewers a holistic perspective on their hometown creative ecologies. This is particularly fitting as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR).
     Being Asia's world city, Hong Kong is well positioned for our design industries to flourish. In a place where the East meets the West, our designers are multi-lingual and multi-cultural, which hugely facilitates them to prove their worth internationally.
     Indeed, design has become one of the fastest growing sectors of Hong Kong's creative industries, contributing over 500 million Euros to our economy, and attaining 15 per cent annual growth over the past decade. We attach great importance to design in Hong Kong. With government sponsorship, the Hong Kong Design Centre arranges talented young designers to undertake overseas training to broaden their horizons. I am pleased to learn that one of the destinations of the overseas training is Milan.
     I believe that the best way to nurture our design talents is to connect them with the best design brains in the world. For this, our designers have been participating in the Milan Design Week and interacting with remarkable designers here and other parts of the world. After the exhibition here, our next stop is to take our designers and the exhibits of C20+ eastward to Seoul and westward to Chicago, straddling land and ocean to different cities to enhance exchanges in culture and creativity.
     We have also organised the Business of Design Week to provide a regional platform for designers around the world to network, exchange and explore business co-operation. Every year we partner with a foreign country or city, and I am honoured to say that Italy is our partner country of the Business of Design Week this year. I look forward to seeing the innovative programmes presented by the Italian design community in Hong Kong during the Business of Design Week.
     Before I close, on behalf of the Hong Kong SAR Government, I wish to express our heartfelt gratitude to the Hong Kong Design Centre and our participating designers. I also wish to thank the Chinese Consulate General in Milan and the Office of the Mayor of the City of Milan for your kind support to the Hong Kong exhibition at Milan Design Week.
     May I wish C20+ a resounding success and all of you an enjoyable evening.
     Thank you.
Ends/Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Issued at HKT 7:51
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