Speeches and Presentations

Speech by SCED at Hong Kong International Computer Conference 2011 opening ceremony

Following is the speech by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, at the opening ceremony of the Hong Kong International Computer Conference 2011 this morning (November 23):

Mr (Stephen) Lau, Mr (Sunny) Lee, Mr (Nicholas) Yang, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning! It gives me great pleasure to join you today for the Hong Kong International Computer Conference 2011.

First of all, I would like to congratulate the Hong Kong Computer Society for staging this inspiring conference. Since 1977, this conference has become the most prominent event on the information and communications technology (ICT) calendar each year. It creates the platform for local and overseas ICT industry leaders, professionals and academia to share experience, exchange views and pass on knowledge on the latest ICT development, reflecting the theme of this year's conference - "Delivering Sustainable Value in a Knowledge Economy".

Early in the seventies of the last century, the influential management guru, Peter Drucker, popularised the term "knowledge economy" when he predicted the emergence of knowledge as the new capital and as the central resource of an economy. Today, the Hong Kong SAR Government embraces "building an inclusive, knowledge-based society" as one of the five key thrusts in our Digital 21 strategy.

According to the World Bank, information infrastructure is one of the four pillars of a knowledge economy. Hong Kong possesses one of the most sophisticated and advanced telecommunications infrastructures in the world. Currently, Hong Kong has nine submarine cable systems, 17 overland cable systems and eight satellites for external communications. Our broadband networks cover nearly all commercial and residential buildings in the territory. Our household broadband penetration rate of about 85 per cent is among the highest in the world.

It has long been recognised that economic prosperity grows upon knowledge and its liberal application. Today, I would like to share with you three key areas where the Hong Kong SAR Government creates new knowledge, applies it to provide quality e-services to the public, and facilitates the free flow of information within and via our excellent information infrastructure.

The first key area is the formulation of a Pan-Government IT Strategy.

The Government has formulated an IT strategy to adopt the cloud computing model incrementally to deliver our e-government services and information. This cloud computing model will enable us to launch e-government services through rapid prototyping at a much lower cost than before. It will also allow us to deliver services more flexibly and timely.

The second key area is the development of data centres in Hong Kong.

The fast adoption of cloud computing and growing needs of the pillar industries and other business sectors have spawned the demand for data centres. Against this background, we have established a Data Centre Facilitation Unit in the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer to provide one-stop services and information to enterprises interested to set up or expand data centres in Hong Kong. Since the Unit’s establishment in July this year, we have received very positive responses from the local industry and renowned international IT enterprises. To further facilitate the development of data centres, the Chief Executive announced in the 2011-12 Policy Address that the Government has reserved about two hectares of land in Tseung Kwan O for data centres. In addition, we are exploring measures to encourage the revitalisation of industrial buildings for data centre use.

The third key area is the opening up of public sector information.

Let me also tell you of another successful case on delivering sustainable value to the citizens by opening up the Government's knowledge to the public. The Government has been capturing from and disseminating to the public a great variety of public sector information. These include demographic, social, economic, geographical and meteorological data. Internet and mobile data networks give the impetus to innovative minds to enhance the value and re-use this repertoire of public sector information. In March this year, the Government launched a pilot scheme to make available geo-spatial data of public facilities and real-time traffic data in machine-readable and re-usable format. The response is very encouraging. The number of downloads of traffic snapshot images alone exceeds 500 000 per day. Over 10 mobile applications using this data have been developed on various smartphone platforms in the public domain, making aspects of daily life more convenient to the public and winning much applause from them.

To conclude, I would like to thank the Hong Kong Computer Society and the organisers for putting in place a broad range of topics for this two-day conference. I am certain that you will benefit from the insights of the speakers and wish you all a very fruitful conference.

Thank you!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011