Speech by CS at Kick-off Ceremony of Entertainment Expo Hong Kong 2023 (English only) (with photos/video)

     Following is the speech by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Chan Kwok-ki, at the Kick-off Ceremony of Entertainment Expo Hong Kong (EEHK) 2023 today (March 13):
First-grade Counsel Zhou Jihong (First-grade Counsel of the International Cooperation Department of the National Radio and Television Administration, Ms Zhou Jihong), Deputy Director-General Zhang Guoyi (Deputy Director-General of the Department of Publicity, Cultural and Sports Affairs of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), Mr Zhang Guoyi) , Margaret (Executive Director of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), Ms Margaret Fong), Leon (Hong Kong Entertainment Expo Ambassador, Leon Lai), EEHK organisers, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, 
     Good afternoon. It gives me great pleasure to join and welcome you to Entertainment Expo Hong Kong.
     The return of EEHK, with a series of film, TV, music and digital entertainment events, this year could not be timelier. Your presence here, with happy faces clearly seen, is solid proof that Hong Kong has fully resumed normality after three years of the pandemic. Free from travel restrictions, Hong Kong has seamlessly reconnected to Mainland China and the rest of the world. Our city is truly back onstage globally.
     Friends from the entertainment sectors worldwide can gather and discuss business - again in person - through EEHK's signature platforms, including Hong Kong International Film & TV Market - or better known to you as FILMART - and Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum.  
     Yesterday evening, Asian Film Awards staged an award ceremony at our world-class cultural landmark, the Hong Kong Palace Museum, in the West Kowloon Cultural District. With internationally renowned director Zhang Yimou as Jury President this year, it gathered the best and the brightest of the Asian film industry and celebrated their achievements. 
     And there are many more events throughout EEHK's fruitful schedule. Earlier this month, ifva Festival was successfully held to showcase the diversity of Hong Kong and Asian creative talent in short film, animation and media arts. Alongside FILMART, Digital Entertainment Summit and EntertainmentPulse will be held. From later this month, Hong Kong International Film Festival and Hong Kong Film Awards will be staged one after another.
     With Hong Kong's return to normality, all these events are seeing wide participation of global entertainment practitioners to come experience the real Hong Kong. We warmly welcome them all - and visitors at large from around the world - to see for themselves Hong Kong's unique strengths as an East-meets-West centre for international cultural exchange, an important status underpinned by the National 14th Five-Year Plan.
     The HKSAR Government is committed to fostering the cultural development of Hong Kong. In July last year, we established a new Culture, Sports and Tourism Bureau to better integrate policies for the arts, cultural and creative industries, as well as sports and tourism.   
     With the creative and film industries being part and parcel of Hong Kong's vibrant cultural landscape, the HKSAR Government spares no effort to drive their growth.   
     We will inject an additional HK$500 million into the CreateSmart Initiative to strengthen funding support for the creative industries. In particular, to promote Hong Kong's pop culture, one of our key initiatives is to support co-production of television variety programmes by local television stations with Mainland or Asian production teams.
     Also, we have reserved HK$240 million under the Film Development Fund to enhance the influence of Hong Kong films in Asian markets and beyond. In particular, two new measures are in place. Since last month, the Hong Kong-Asian Film Collaboration Funding Scheme has been open for applications. It seeks to fund film projects co-produced by filmmakers between Hong Kong and Asian countries, and drive Hong Kong films to go global. Looking ahead, the Content Development Scheme for Streaming Platforms will be introduced from today to nurture cross-sectoral production teams in the new age of cinema, and expand new distribution markets for the film industry.
     With all these efforts and our unique strengths, we are determined to bring Hong Kong's creative and film industries to new heights, and enhance the influence of Hong Kong's pop culture regionally and globally. We look forward to closely working with our stakeholders in the industries to achieve these goals.
     Before I close, I would like to thank the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, as well as all other organisers, for putting together such a spectacular EEHK. My special thanks, also, to Leon for being our Entertainment Expo Ambassador once again. 
     I wish this year's EEHK every success, and every one of you the best of business and health. Thank you.  

Ends/Monday, March 13, 2023
Issued at HKT 16:40