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Speech by FS at Hong Kong ICT Awards 2017 Awards Presentation Ceremony cum International IT Fest Opening Ceremony

Following is the speech by the Financial Secretary, Mr Paul Chan, at the Hong Kong ICT Awards 2017 Awards Presentation Ceremony cum International IT Fest Opening Ceremony today (April 7):

Ladies and gentlemen, innovation and technology (I&T) lovers, all,

Good evening.

It is a pleasure to join you all, tonight, for the 11th Hong Kong ICT Awards Presentation Ceremony and the opening of the 2017 International IT Fest. Let me first congratulate all the winners of this prestigious award. I can tell you that I am looking forward to presenting the coveted trophy for Award of the Year - and to honouring this year's winner.

This annual ICT Awards event is a welcome opportunity to applaud the considerable achievements of your sector and, while doing so, to take stock of where you are, and where you want to be. For yourselves and the ICT sector, of course. But, no less important, for Hong Kong.

Hong Kong's future will be built on innovation and technology. And the ICT sector plays a pivotal role in powering the development of an Internet-driven, knowledge-based economy.

In 2015, 23 per cent of the world's economy was digitally driven, according to a report by professional services firm Accenture Strategy. That share, according to the report, will grow to 25 per cent by the year 2020.

And for good reason, says the World Economic Forum in its 2015 "Global Information Technology Report". And I quote, "ICTs are vectors of economic and social transformation. By improving access to services, enhancing connectivity, creating business and employment opportunities, and changing the ways people communicate, interact and engage among themselves and with their governments, ICTs can transform our world."

ICTs, and innovative technology in general, will, indeed, transform Hong Kong's world. Our economy. Our community, and our future.

That is why this Government injected HK$18 billion into I&T programmes and initiatives last year. It is why, in November 2015, we established the Innovation and Technology Bureau.

We have, as well, introduced measures to enhance our technology infrastructure, promote mid-stream R&D institutes, support start-ups, build a connected Wi-Fi city, and nurture talent. Tomorrow's technological titans.

Our latest initiative is the HK$500 million Technology Voucher Programme. Launched in November last year, it was designed to encourage our SMEs to make wider use of technology and technological services. The goal, of course, is to improve their productivity.

The response to the programme has been very positive. Some 1 100 companies have already registered their interest.

In the coming months, we shall roll out the HK$500 million Innovation and Technology Fund for Better Living, as well as the HK$2 billion Innovation and Technology Venture Fund. I am sure that we all look forward to the better living funding proposals. After all, the Fund was created to enhance the quality of our everyday lives. And we can all use a little more of that. As for the Venture Fund, it will boost funding sources for our technology start-ups in their critical growth phase.

And that's only the beginning. In this year's Budget Speech, I earmarked another HK$10 billion to support our I&T development. And we have invited Cyberport to look into the potential of developing e-sports.

There is much more to come, as well, from our ICT Award winners. And indeed, from all of you.

I am pleased to note that previous award winners have also received accolades in such prestigious international competitions as the World Summit Award Mobile, the World Information Technology and Services Alliance Award, and the Asia Pacific ICT Alliance Awards.

More important, many have attracted the necessary venture capital investment to continue developing their businesses.

This year's award winners will, I am confident, continue to reach for creative, and commercial excellence, setting new standards for others to emulate. In short, I have no doubt that they, and those that follow them, will help build tomorrow's Hong Kong.

Tonight's awards ceremony is, of course, the first of the International IT Fest's more than 30 high-profile events spread out over the next three weeks. They include next week's Internet Economy Summit, which will feature renowned speakers from the Mainland and around the world.

My thanks to the organisers of the Hong Kong ICT Awards, as well as our esteemed judges and all those who had participated in this year's awards.

I know you will enjoy this very special evening. And I wish this year's International IT Fest a resounding success.

Thank you very much indeed for having me. Thank you.

7.4.2017


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