Speech by FS at opening ceremony of CPA Congress 2017 (English only) (with photos/video)

     Following is the speech by the Financial Secretary, Mr Paul Chan, at the opening ceremony of the CPA Congress 2017 today (November 3):
Ivan (Divisional President 2017 of Greater China for CPA Australia, Mr Ivan Au), Consul-General Michaela Browning (Consul-General of Australia to Hong Kong and Macau), Mr Wong (Deputy President of CPA Australia Mr Wong Chin-aik), fellow members, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
     Good morning. 
     It's my great pleasure to be here today for CPA Australia's annual CPA Congress, once again taking place in Hong Kong.
     In the many sessions of today's Congress, you will be exploring together how innovation and digital technology can be a game changer, and be the driving force of business and economy in the 21st century.
     No doubt, one important pillar of Hong Kong's future and economic growth will be from innovation and technology (I&T). This is the reason why we established the Innovation and Technology Bureau in November 2015, and why we have injected $18 billion since then to further enhance our technology infrastructure, to encourage SMEs to make wider use of technology, to promote mid-stream research and development (R&D), to further improve our ecosystem for start-ups through venture capital funding and other support, and, last but not least, to nurture and attract talent of the right calibre.
     Our new Data Technology Hub and the Advanced Manufacturing Centre in Tseung Kwan O, as well as the expansion of the Science Park, will be completed from 2020 onwards. Hong Kong and Shenzhen are also collaborating to develop an Innovation and Technology Park for I&T enterprises, universities and research institutions from Hong Kong, overseas and the Mainland. The 87-hectare park will be the largest innovation and technology project in Hong Kong's history.
     In this year's Budget, I have earmarked another $10 billion to support innovation and technology development. Tax deductions for research and development expenditures will also be significantly enhanced, as recently announced by the Chief Executive in her Policy Address. We also aim to double the domestic expenditure on R&D to about $45 billion a year, accounting for about 1.5 per cent of our GDP, by the end of the current-term Government. 
     In light of our fast ageing society, and taking into consideration Hong Kong's strengths and capabilities in financial services and advanced medical research, going forward we will be focusing on four areas in the context of innovation and technology development: artificial intelligence and big data analytics, biomedicine, smart city, as well as Fintech.

     In particular, I am delighted that the Fintech community in Hong Kong is growing very fast, with some 140 Fintech-related start-ups operating here last year. That's up about 60 per cent over the previous year. These Fintech companies attracted about US$400 million in venture capital investment between 2014 and 2016. That all but triples what Singapore's Fintech companies took in over the same period. 
     Ladies and gentlemen, innovation and technology will play a pivotal role in powering the development of a knowledge-based economy. I urge the business community - and certainly that includes my fellow accountants - to capitalise on these opportunities. 
     I would like to thank the CPA Australia for organising this timely Congress, as well as its outstanding work in promoting the highest professional business standards and ethical conduct among members.  
     I wish you all a rewarding and fruitful Congress, and for guests coming from abroad, a pleasant and an enjoyable stay in Hong Kong, Asia's world city.

     Thank you.

Ends/Friday, November 3, 2017
Issued at HKT 12:27