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Speech by John C Tsang, JP Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government of the People's Republic of China at the Launching Ceremony for ITU Telecom World 2006 on 8 September 2004

Vice Minister Jiang, Secretary-General, Your Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am delighted to be here today to take part in the Launching Ceremony for ITU Telecom World 2006 to be held in Hong Kong. We are honoured to have been selected to host the Olympics of telecommunications. We will do everything possible to ensure that the results will fully meet the expectations of everyone concerned.

2. Hong Kong is a place where the world converges. Half of the world's population, in fact, lives within five hours' flight time to Hong Kong, and there are many direct flights connecting Hong Kong to every destination imaginable around the globe. As the "Events Capital of Asia", Hong Kong has both the "hardware" and "software" to support large scale global events and exhibitions, providing good value for money spent for organisers and participants alike.

3. In hosting ITU Telecom World 2006, Hong Kong enjoys unique advantages as the gateway to the China market. Hong Kong combines the benefits of a first class business hub with a location and network that make it the ideal launching platform to China. More than one third of the multinational firms active in the Asia-Pacific region have chosen Hong Kong as their regional headquarters. Some 40% of China's imports and exports pass through Hong Kong. Moreover, over 500 top Chinese corporations have set up their regional or local offices in Hong Kong to leverage on the services available there, and to tap into the marketing networks worldwide. The "Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement", or CEPA for short, which began implementation in the beginning of this year, will further strengthen Hong Kong's strategic position as the gateway to China.

4. ITU Telecom World 2006 provides a great platform for participants to meet, to network and to do business with leading names from across the globe. As the host city, we will add further value to the experience in Hong Kong for our participants. For those looking for development opportunities with Chinese companies, we intend to organise specific seminars, forums and study tours to foster participants' understanding of the latest market trends and relevant polices and regulations in the Chinese market. We also intend to provide business facilitation services before, during and after the event to assist participants in forming partnerships with Chinese and Hong Kong companies. In sum, we aim to give participants a fruitful experience that would lead to productive outcomes as part of their participation in the ITU Telecom World 2006 in Hong Kong.

5. Ladies and Gentlemen, we have been delegated a very important task. My good friend, Vice Minister Jiang, and I will work closely together employing all the resources available to us to ensure that ITU Telecom World 2006 will be a resounding success for all concerned. I look forward to welcoming everyone of you to my hometown, Hong Kong, Asia's World City.

6. Thank you.