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Speech by Mr K C Kwong, Secretary for Information Technology and Broadcasting at the Inaugural Ceremony of HongKong-Silicon Valley High Tech Community

28 October, 1999

Good evening, Pauline, ladies and gentlemen,

First of all, I would like to extend the warmest greetings from us all here in Hong Kong to our friends in the Silicon Valley. I am very pleased to join you via cyberspace at the Inaugural Ceremony of the HongKong-Silicon Valley High Tech Community, the first organisation set up specifically to foster closer links between the high tech sectors of Hong Kong and the Silicon Valley. I am particularly grateful to Pauline and the Board of Directors for their dedicated and outstanding work in making today's event possible.

2. Pauline visited us in Hong Kong recently. She talked to you about it just now. I am deeply touched by her reminiscence of her life as a youth in Hong Kong and the strong emotional attachment she still harbours about Hong Kong.

3. Indeed, there are many people in the Silicon Valley who have similarly close ties with Hong Kong and vice versa. And, apart from these personal ties, we have a lot in common. For example, we are both reputed for our entrepreneurial spirit, our cosmopolitan outlook within which individual expression is welcome, our staunch support for the rule of law, the free-flow of information and the free exchange of ideas, our reliance on the market and, of course, our whole-hearted embrace of information technology as an engine of growth for the economy and as a means towards the betterment of the lives of our citizens.

4. Shortly after the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in 1997, we have set out our vision to make Hong Kong a leader, and not a follower, in the information world of tomorrow. To achieve that vision, we have worked out the Digital 21 Information Technology Strategy, with the mission of enhancing and promoting Hong Kong's information infrastructure and services so as to make Hong Kong a leading digital city in the globally connected world of the 21st century. And we have embarked on a comprehensive package of initiatives under that strategy. The key ones include -

  • progressive liberalisation of our telecommunications market to encourage investment in both local and external capacities and services;
  • liberalisation of the broadcasting market to encourage the introduction of diverse and innovative content and services;
  • creation of a pro-business and facilitative legal environment to encourage the development of electronic commerce;
  • extensive use of IT in education to ensure that our people are skilled in the use of IT; and
  • implementation of a series of public educational activities to change people's attitudes so that the community will as a whole embrace IT.

And last but not least, we have worked hard to strengthen bilateral ties between Hong Kong and other communities which are advanced in IT.

5. It is therefore most encouraging for us to see the positive response which Mr Tung received from you during his visit to the Silicon Valley last July. And, consistent with the entrepreneurial spirit and speed of action for which you are so famous, we see your response being turned into a tangible form with the setting up of the HK-SV High Tech Community in just a few months.

6. We fully support the goals of the HK-SV High Tech Community, which are to provide awareness, stimulate collaboration and facilitate networking in high-tech activities and business opportunities between Hong Kong and the Silicon Valley.

7. I am glad to say that the setting up of the HK-SV High Tech Community has met with enthusiasm here in Hong Kong. Quite a number of companies which we have approached have expressed an interest in joining the community.

8. In addition to the ones which have been able to join you physically in the Silicon Valey, some of those which can't are represented here today to join me in this meeting in cyberspace to show our support to this exciting venture. They include -

  • Champion Technologies Ltd which is one of the leading manufacturers of wireless telecommunications equipment and provider of value-added services via the wireless telecommunications networks;
  • HKNet Co. Ltd, one of the first and most successful Internet services providers in Hong Kong;
  • American Pacific Technology Group, an international company with interests in venture capital and other forms of investment in the IT sector;
  • Pacific Century Group, a leading IT and IS company, which is also our development partner in the Cyberport project;
  • Computer & Technologies Ltd, an indigenous software developer of Hong Kong; and
  • Group Sense Ltd which is expert in manufacturing electronic dictionaries, translating machines, pagers and educational toys.

9. In addition to companies, we have also received positive response from our industrial support bodies. Here with me today are representatives of the Growth Enterprises Market (the Hong Kong equivalent of NASDAQ), the Hong Kong Productivity Council and the Federation of Hong Kong Industries.

10. With efforts from both sides, I am confident that the HongKong-Silicon Valley High Tech Community will grow from strength to strength.

I wish the Community every success.

Thank you.