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Speech by the Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology, Mr Henry Tang, at the Topping-out Ceremony of Le Meridien Cyberport

Michael (Sagild), Robert (Lee), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to attend the Topping-out Ceremony of Le Meridien Cyberport today, the first landmark event of the Cyberport in 2003.

2. Le Meridien Cyberport is a key component of the Cyberport project, which itself is a comprehensive development designed to provide an ideal environment for IT and IT-related companies to do business.

3. Blending "art and tech" together, Le Meridien Cyberport fits in well with the creative culture of Cyberport. I would like to thank Mr Sagild for bringing Le Meridien to Hong Kong and to Cyberport in particular. I am confident that it will be an exemplary hotel that not only adds to the attraction and success of our Cyberport but also enhances Hong Kong's position as an outstanding business and tourist destination in the region.

4. 2003 will be an exciting year for Cyberport. This year, we will see the completion of Phases II and III of the Cyberport, comprising the whole of the Cyberport 3 office building, the shared facilities in the IT Street, the Cybercentre and, of course, Le Meridien Cyberport. The entire Cyberport project will be completed in mid-2004 when the last office building, Cyberport 4, is completed. We will continue to market the Cyberport aggressively overseas and in the Mainland, through our international leasing agent and SAR Government agencies such as Invest Hong Kong, our various Economic and Trade Offices overseas and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council.

5. A major mission of the Cyberport is to create a strategic cluster of quality IT and IT-related companies critical to the development of Hong Kong into a leading digital city. We have succeeded in building up the first IT cluster, which includes a good mix of like-minded companies of varying sizes and at different stages of development. But we need to and can do more. With its state-of-art infrastructure, we see great potential in the Cyberport as a catalyst for industrial and technological development in Hong Kong.

6. To this end we are working on two major initiatives which will enhance the leadership role of the Cyberport. First, we will set up a support centre in the Cyberport for SMEs engaged in the development of contents, applications and services for wireless and mobile communications, leveraging on existing and future networks, such as 3G. We will create a reference library of information on industry trends and standards and, with the support of operators and equipment vendors, central development and testing facilities.

7. Secondly, we will set up a Digital Media Centre to provide hardware, software and technical support for industry, particularly SMEs, to spearhead the development of the digital media industry, including electronic games, animation for entertainment, advertising, etc. Both initiatives serve to support the development of creative industries in Hong Kong, one of the key initiatives announced in the Chief Executive's 2003 Policy Address.

8. Software development is obviously a crucial element of our creative industries. To enhance the competitiveness of our software industry in international and Mainland markets, I would like to take this opportunity to announce that the Innovation & Technology Fund has endorsed in principle a $5 million project to assist local software companies to obtain certification in Capability Maturity Model, or CMM in short, which is the de facto international quality standard for software development.

9. A software company participating in the project will receive a maximum grant of $300,000 for it to obtain CMM Level 2 or above certification. Through this initiative, we hope to build up a cluster of software companies with world-recognized quality certification in Hong Kong to boost our image as a leading digital city in the region. It will also enhance the reputation of Hong Kong's software industry which will help local IT companies explore Mainland and overseas markets. We aim to roll out the project and invite applications within this quarter. We expect to build up a quality cluster of software companies in Hong Kong within 1 to 2 years.

10. I look forward to coming back to see this magnificant hotel when the Le Meridien Cyberport is opened in September. I wish you all a successful and prosperous Year of the Ram! Thank you.