SCED's opening remarks at Startup Launchpad Opening Ceremony (English only)
Following is the opening remarks by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, at the Startup Launchpad Opening Ceremony today (April 11):
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
It is indeed my great pleasure to be here today, and for good reasons. First, today we are all here to celebrate the thriving of the startup ecosystem in Hong Kong. Global Sources launched the Startup Launchpad in October last year and attracted some 40 technology startups to showcase their products and technologies. I am delighted to learn that within less than six months, Global Sources has brought in nearly 100 hardware startups to showcase their latest products to buyers worldwide. This is indeed a testament to Hong Kong being one of the fastest growing startup hubs in the region.
Second reason, today also marks the beginning of an eight-day Global Sources Electronics Show that is one of the largest in the world. I understand that there are some 5 500 booths exhibiting here today, and that last year, the Global Sources trade shows attracted more than 200 000 visitors to Hong Kong.
It is really numbers like that that have earned Hong Kong our reputation as Asia's trade fair capital. These trade fairs provide the most efficient and cost effective one-stop sourcing platforms for buyers and suppliers to establish contact, exchange experience and explore business opportunities. And that's why many international trading houses and major retailers have established their buying offices here in Hong Kong for sourcing high quality products. In 2015, Hong Kong was home to a record number of about 7 900 Mainland and foreign companies, and among them, about 3 800 served as regional headquarters.
Sourcing business is all about "just-in-time" delivery to the destination. Location is therefore a very important factor in the industry. Hong Kong is strategically located at the heart of Asia and on the doorstep of Mainland China. This makes us an ideal springboard to reach out to the prosperous markets in our neighbourhood.
Nonetheless, location is not the only factor in our success. We could not have played our role as a "super-connector" if Hong Kong did not have one of the world's freest economies, a truly business friendly environment, world class communication and logistics infrastructure as well as a diversified talent pool.
Building on our success as an international sourcing hub, we should not lose sight of new challenges and opportunities looming ahead. We need to be vigilant and look out for new growth prospects.
One of the notable examples is the Belt and Road Initiative, a grand strategy that promotes closer economic and cultural ties among some 60 countries in Asia, Europe and Africa.
The Belt and Road Initiative will generate demand and increase the volume and intensity of international trade and investment flow among countries along the routes, as well as two-way traffic in and out of China. As a highly open economy with extensive and strong external connectivity, Hong Kong is best placed to serve as the "super-connector" linking up various parties to take part in these exciting developments. We stand ready to help enterprises identify business partners, and provide an ideal platform to facilitate trade and logistic along the Belt and Road. We welcome all of you to join hands with us in exploring the enormous possibilities and opportunities presented by the Belt and Road Initiative.
Ladies and gentlemen, our long history as an entrepôt has helped make Hong Kong an international marketplace, a magnet for traders, for buyers, sellers and sourcing entrepreneurs. Hong Kong has the experience, expertise and connections to facilitate and help grow your businesses. I invite and encourage you all to make greater use of Hong Kong's unique advantages in terms of our physical proximity with the Mainland, as well as our first class infrastructure and our highly competitive business and professional services.
Last but not least, my congratulations to Global Sources for organising the Startup LaunchPad, and for once again putting together a magnificent electronics show. I wish you all the best of business and a memorable stay here in Hong Kong. And if you should have a chance to stray outside of the exhibition hall here, do shop a lot.
Thank you very much.
Ends/Monday, April 11, 2016