Speech by CS at opening ceremony of "Homo Ex Data - The Natural of the Artificial" exhibition (English only) (with photos)

     Following is the speech by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, at the opening ceremony of the exhibition "Homo Ex Data - The Natural of the Artificial" this evening (November 24):

Dr Clement Chen (Chairman of the Vocational Training Council), Professor Eric Yim (Deputy Chairman of the Vocational Training Council), Dr Carrie Yau (Executive Director of the Vocational Training Council), Professor Peter Zec (Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Red Dot Design Award), distinguished professors, guests, ladies, gentlemen and students,

     Good evening. It is my great pleasure to join you today at the opening ceremony of "Homo Ex Data - The Natural of the Artificial" exhibition. First of all, my congratulations to the Hong Kong Design Institute and Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (Lee Wai Lee Campus), in collaboration with the Red Dot Design Museum in Germany, for the successful launch of this year's product design exhibition.

     The words "natural" and "artificial" are often put on opposing ends and one might wonder how these two concepts can be combined and presented in a single exhibition. In this unique exhibition, I have been shown how "artificial" technology can become a "new, second nature" to people and how cutting-edge technology and better designs can help improve our daily lives.

     This exhibition showcases over 150 product designs of robots, drones and virtual reality that have won the prestigious Red Dot Design Award - an internationally recognised quality label for excellent designs. They will demonstrate how smarter and better technological designs have become and will continue to be an indispensable part of our daily life, and how they can be improved through user-centric designs such as addition of human elements in robots and adoption of interactive functions in virtual reality. 

     Creative industries in Hong Kong have immense development potential. They are not merely a cluster of emerging professions, mainly in the design, arts, cultural and communications sectors that are popular among young people, but are also a powerhouse that will drive the economy, add value and make Hong Kong a more attractive international city.

     Building on the strength of its wide applicability and potential for collaboration with other sectors, the design industry here has grown substantially in the past decade. From 2005 to 2015, the growth in value added in monetary terms surged from $1 billion in 2005 to $4.1 billion in 2015, representing an average annual growth of 15 per cent. The number of employees and establishments in the design industry had increased by 68.8 per cent and 125 per cent respectively during the same period.

     The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is committed to furthering the development of the creative industries, in particular the design sector. We believe that design thinking should become a problem-solving capability and a new way of thinking that promotes value adding and advocates inter-disciplinary collaboration.

     To this end, the Hong Kong Design Institute and the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education under the Vocational Training Council have played an important role in the promotion of professional design education. They brought together the strengths of the design departments to offer programmes spanning across Architecture, Interior and Product Design, Design Foundation Studies, Communication Design and Digital Media as well as Fashion and Image Design. The state-of-the-art campus in which we gather here tonight is another example to demonstrate how creative and innovative designs form an integral part of our life.

     To support the continuous development of the design industry and creative industries in Hong Kong, we have provided $300 million through the CreateSmart Initiative in the past three years for projects that promote the development of design. The Chief Executive, Mrs Carrie Lam, further announced an injection of $1 billion into the CreateSmart Initiative in her inaugural Policy Address last month to nurture young talents and enhance public awareness of creative thinking and design capability.

     With their international outlook and innovative thinking, Hong Kong's professional design talents are able to assist their clients in enhancing their competitiveness, branding and adding value to their products and services. We strongly encourage our design professionals to make use of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area to further open up the market and encourage investment, promote co-operation and exchanges among talents and fully capitalise on Hong Kong's role as a talent hub in the creative industries.

     On this encouraging note, I wish to express again my sincere gratitude to the Hong Kong Design Institute for staging this timely and innovative exhibition. I wish the exhibition every success and look forward to seeing our design industry continuing to scale new heights in the years ahead.

     Thank you very much.

Ends/Friday, November 24, 2017
Issued at HKT 19:23