Speeches and Presentations

SCED's speech at Asia On The Edge Hong Kong 2013

Following is the speech by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, at Asia On The Edge Hong Kong 2013 today (July 5):

Mr (Colin) Goh, Mr (Lyndon) Yeo, Mr (Benny) Chia, ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning. On behalf of the Hong Kong SAR Government, I extend my warmest welcome to our friends from Asia. I hope that you enjoyed the spectacular evening yesterday in this city that never sleeps.

Hong Kong is honoured to have been chosen as the place for hosting the Asia On The Edge programme this year. We are keen to foster deeper and broader collaboration with different parts of the world, particularly our Asian neighbours. I am also glad to share with you at today's conference our vision for Hong Kong's creative development.

Hong Kong is almost like the synonym of free port, free trade and the freest economy in the world. But what's more is that Hong Kong also possesses very vibrant cultural and creative industries, which are amongst the most dynamic sectors in our city, contributing to economic growth and job creation. In 2011, we had more than 36 000 cultural and creative industries-related establishments, which employed close to 200 000 practitioners. Together they contributed 4.7 per cent of our GDP.

Thanks to our strong tradition of freedom of speech and expression as well as the creativity of our people, Hong Kong has built up an edge in various creative sectors covering advertising, architecture, design, digital entertainment, film, television, music, publishing, etc. As a cosmopolitan and dynamic international city, we embrace borderless collaboration in different creative sectors. Not only is our city a creative hub, we also link up overseas companies to the business and investment opportunities in the Mainland of China to reach a large and fast-expanding market. This has been possible under our free trade pact, the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement, or CEPA, under which Hong Kong enjoys preferential access to the market in the Mainland of China. We expect that the links of our creative sectors with the Mainland of China will become stronger and deeper as the continuing development of the Chinese economy will generate an ever greater demand for creative products and services.

Our Government has been proactively promoting the development of our creative industries, which we regard as one of the powerhouses of our economy in future. We set up a dedicated agency, Create Hong Kong, to provide one-stop services for the creative sectors. Since Create Hong Kong was set up in 2009, we have provided some US$60 million to support various programmes that nurture creative talents, facilitate start-ups, and generate new business opportunities for the creative sectors. A great majority of these programmes have been undertaken by the trades with partial or full funding support from the Government. I understand that my colleague, Jerry Liu, who is the Head of CreateHK, will have a separate session with you tomorrow to introduce the work of his office. I will leave the time to him to give you more details.

Our Government is not alone in creating a favourable environment for the development of creative industries. The private sector also drives many exciting happenings in the local cultural and creative arena. One of them is the development of a creative cluster for designers. It will be based around the historic building of the former Police Married Quarters, or PMQ, which is located at the heart of this city - a 10-minute walk from here. Upon completion of the renovation works, the creative landmark will provide more than 100 studios for established and start-up designers as points of sale, retail space for design products and crafts, and exhibition space. This project exemplifies how we work closely with the private sector in promoting the development of Hong Kong's creative industries. While the Government provides the premises and shoulders the renovation cost, a private-sector operator, which is the originator of the project concept, will be responsible for running the facility by giving it the much needed vibrancy, energy and creativity.

The PMQ will be fully opened in 2014. I am sure this will be a very exciting venue dedicated to our design and creative community.

Ladies and gentlemen, I encourage you to make the most of your stay in Hong Kong to explore collaboration opportunities with Hong Kong's creative industries. I also wish you all a fruitful and rewarding experience during your stay in Hong Kong.

Last but not least, I would like to thank the Hong Kong Fringe Club for co-organising the Hong Kong edition of the Asia On The Edge programme.

"Creativity separates the leaders from the followers." On that count, our world needs the leadership of all who are present here today, to make it a better place. Thank you.

Friday, July 5, 2013