Following is a speech by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mrs Rita Lau, at the opening ceremony of the Hong Kong International Computer Conference 2009 this morning (November 5):
Sunny (Lee), Dr (Kennedy) Wong, Professor (Paul) Cheung, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Good morning! It gives me great pleasure to join you here at the opening ceremony of the Hong Kong International Computer Conference 2009. Since 1978, when the first Hong Kong International Computer Conference was organised, this annual conference has become the pre-eminent platform for local and overseas information and communications technology (ICT) business leaders, professionals and academia to come together to share their experience, insights and vision on ICT development.
The theme of the conference this year – IT Innovation – Value Creation and Economic Transformation fits in well with the Governments vision as announced by the Chief Executive in his Policy Address to promote innovation and technology to help sustain our future growth as a knowledge-based economy.
To underscore our commitment to support and incentivise private investment in research and development (R&D), we will launch a $200 million R&D Cash Rebate Scheme providing a cash rebate equivalent to 10% of their investments. I hope this scheme will go some way to encourage our enterprises to establish long-term partnerships with research institutions thereby enhancing our overall R&D capabilities. In the process, our enterprises can also create value for themselves and enable them to stay competitive. The ICT sector is a great enabler and partner to the six creative industries which we have identified for further promotion and development.
On ICT development, the Government has worked hard over the years to ensure that Hong Kong has a world-class environment with a sound telecommunications infrastructure, a clear legal framework, key public infrastructure for secure electronic transactions and market-oriented Internet domain name registration services. All these elements are in place to foster the growth of the industry but we will not rest here. We will continue to explore more facilitation measures in the interest of sustaining ICT development in Hong Kong.
To speed up the development of our creative economy and encourage innovation, Create Hong Kong was set up in June this year to co-ordinate the work of different departments in support of the creative industries through provision of one-stop services. The Government has allocated $300 million for the CreateSmart Initiatives with a view to providing funding support for projects that are conducive to creative industries development. As ICT plays an important role in respect of creative industries, especially in sectors like on-line games, animation and digital effects, I am pleased to say that some of the early projects to receive CreateSmart funding have been ICT ones. This shows that the ICT industry players are already important contributors towards the further development of our creative industries.
To ensure that there will be an adequate supply of innovative ideas and talent, the Government will continue to support internship and exchange programmes to better equip our young people as they pursue their career in the ICT profession. We will also continue to work with the industry to enhance the professional competency of the ICT workforce that the industry requires. I am delighted to see that with support from the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer, the ICT Human Resources Consortium, comprising 10 local ICT associations/bodies including the Hong Kong Computer Society, launched an ICT Career Centre last month to help ICT professionals broaden their career opportunities.
The Government will continue to work closely with the local ICT industry and Mainland partners to define a collective brand proposition for Hong Kong and the Mainland as a source of innovative ICT products, services and software development. Hong Kongs business- friendly environment and familiarity with international best practices combined with the Mainlands abundant supply of talent will enable us to become a preferred destination for such partnership.
The 2010 Shanghai Expo is fast approaching. I am looking forward to this as an excellent opportunity to showcase Hong Kongs strengths in ICT and creativity in the international arena. My bureau is responsible for the Hong Kong Pavilion in the Urban Best Practices Area, titled Smart Card, Smart City, Smart Life. This will showcase Hong Kongs ground-breaking use of innovative smart card and RFID technology in everyday life. We are delighted to have such strong support from the local ICT industry including but not limited to the Hong Kong Wireless Technology Industry Association, Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks, Internet Professional Association, GS1, Octopus and E-Mice, for this project. I want to thank them for their efforts.
Finally, I would like to express my gratitude to the Hong Kong Computer Society for staging the Hong Kong International Computer Conference 2009.