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Speech by the Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology, Mr Henry Tang, at the opening of Motorola's Silicon Harbour Centre

Following is the full text of the speech by the Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology, Mr Henry Tang, at the opening of Motorola's Silicon Harbour Centre today (September 16): (English only)

Joe, Pete, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to be here today. In fact, this is my first visit to the industrial estate in my official capacity since I became the Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology two-and-a-half months ago.

I am particularly excited to see my first official visit being associated with one of our long-time friends of the industrial estate - Motorola - and with a technology which is impacting on us tremendously and will be even more so in future - wireless technology.

The potential of wireless technologies in Hong Kong is certainly indisputable. We have 5.8 million mobile phone users, many more than that for fixed business and residential lines combined. This means 86 per cent penetration rate - one of the highest in the world.

The Government is totally committed to making Hong Kong a leading digital city in Asia. In particular, we are committed to maintaining a fair, transparent and pro-competition regulatory regime which creates a win-win situation for network operators, content and service providers as well as consumers.

We have adopted a progressive liberalisation policy under which there is no restriction on the number of mobile licences to be issued, subject to the availability of spectrum only. Currently, six mobile operators are offering services with 11 networks operating on practically all technical standards. This has created a highly competitive mobile market with a variety of value-added services and applications at affordable prices.

We are also one of the first in Asia to introduce General Packet Radio Services (GPRS), or 2.5G. We are the first in Asia to launch multimedia messaging service (MMS). We have also issued four licences for 3G services to be rolled out next year.

To facilitate e-commerce, or indeed m-commerce in the wireless environment, Hongkong Post already launched mobile digital certificates in October 2001, bringing Hong Kong to the forefront in mobile commerce with the creation of the world's first public mobile Certification Authority.

All in all, the development of a world-class telecommunications infrastructure in Hong Kong, a community with arguably the most trendy and fashion-conscious consumers as well as the compact size of our city make Hong Kong the ideal test-bed for the introduction of new technologies and services.

We are also at the doorstep to one of the fastest growing economies in the world, the Mainland of China. The mobile phone penetration rate there is only around 14 per cent. In other words, only 180 million people out of a population of 1.2 billion are mobile phones users. The market potential is just enormous.

With our unparalleled expertise and experience in doing business with the Mainland, our cultural, geographical and linguistic advantages, Hong Kong has much to offer to business partners from all over the world. New technologies and services, after customisation and adaptation, can be readily rolled out in the Mainland, or even other parts of Asia Pacific markets.

Today's establishment of a wireless design centre by an industry giant speaks volumes for what Hong Kong can offer.

Wireless technology is undoubtedly going to unfold a new era for all of us. With all the features of global roaming service and high speed data communications, we are poised to benefit from numerous value-adding voice communication services, mobile Internet services, video-phone services, mobile data services, interactive services, so on and so forth. It will allow us to access all kinds of digital information, like music, video and television, anytime and anywhere.

Allow me to express my very best wishes to this wireless design centre. I look forward to hearing many success stories emanating from the centre as well as high value-added services that are "Made in Hong Kong"!

Thank you very much.

Monday, September 16, 2002