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Speech by Mr K C Kwong,
Secretary for Information Technology & Broadcasting at the Internet Shopping Launching Ceremony of the Hongkong Post

4 March 1999

Mr Luk, Mr So, Mr Leung, ladies and gentlemen :

I am delighted to participate in the launching ceremony of the "Internet Shopping" service of the Hongkong Post which marks a big stride of Hong Kong into the Age of Information Technology (IT). The rapid and innovative development of IT and its optimum use will not only facilitate the growth of trade and business but will also bring improvements to our daily lives.

The most prominent feature in the development of IT is the use and phenomenal expansion of the Internet. Let's take Hong Kong as an example. The number of Internet users keeps on increasing and has exceeded one million now. And electronic commerce is also developing rapidly around the world. Recent industry estimates suggest that the total value of transactions via the Internet globally will exceed US$ 220 billion by 2001.

In order to maintain our leading position in the Asia Pacific region as a major international financial and commercial centre and our competitiveness in the world market, Hong Kong must continue to keep in the forefront in the development and application of IT and to promote the adoption of e-commerce. In this respect, the Government will take an active leading role and introduce the Electronic Service Delivery scheme, and will establish a public key infrastructure and a public certification authority through the Hongkong Post to ensure the conduct of electronic transactions in a secure manner.

The development of shopping through the Internet is now gaining momentum. I am very pleased to see the close co-operation of Hongkong Post with the Bank of China Credit Card (International) Co. Ltd. and the Hong Kong Telecom, to enable local and overseas philatelists to make direct purchase of postal products and souvenirs under a reliable and secure Internet environment. This innovative service will help stimulate the development of shopping via the Internet and e-commerce in Hong Kong.

Finally, I wish the Hongkong Post a very prosperous business in the days to come.

Thank you.