Promoting New Growth
27. We must continue to consolidate
our core industries. Judging from our experience of
repeated exposure to the impact of external factors,
we must also seek to broaden the base of our economy
and consolidate our existing strengths to promote new
areas of growth. This will require people from all sectors
and enterprises to innovate and to branch out into new
areas. The Government will actively provide the necessary
support and co-ordination in respect of policy, infrastructure
28. CEPA has brought new opportunities
for industrial development in Hong Kong. As CEPA allows
273 items of Hong Kong products to be imported into
the Mainland tariff free, new industries and high value-added
production processes may be attracted to Hong Kong.
We have an advantage in areas such as intellectual property
protection, design and innovation, finance and marketing.
Our products have long enjoyed the confidence of Mainland
consumers. Of course, due to cost and other factors,
a revival of manufacturing locally will not be easy.
The key is to apply new technology and innovation to
develop high value-added products. Since the signing
of CEPA, many Mainland and foreign enterprises have
explored the prospect of setting up factories in Hong
Kong. Our own enterprises are exploring the location
of high value-added production processes in Hong Kong
and some traditional manufacturing industries now have
the opportunity to re-launch locally. We particularly
welcome the development of the more competitive, high-technology
manufacturing industries in Hong Kong. We will make
policy adjustments to facilitate as necessary.
New and High-tech
29. A key to promoting economic restructuring
is the introduction and application of new and advanced
technologies to enhance Hong Kong's longterm competitiveness.
This has always been our long-term view. The application
of technologies to products, services, infrastructural
building and processes can generate many business opportunities.
Over the past few years, we have built facilities such
as the Science Park and Cyberport. We have promoted
research and development through the Research Grants
Council, the Innovation and Technology Fund, the Applied
Science and Technology Research Institute and the support
given to various technology enterprises and 'incubator'
projects. Of course, technological development cannot
be achieved overnight. Our investment in this area is
relatively limited and must necessarily concentrate
on developing a few areas where we have the strength.
Hong Kong has amassed a group of high quality researchers
who are capable of pursuing innovation in areas such
as integrated circuit design, photonics, wireless communications,
digital media entertainment, applied nanotechnology,
biomedicine and Chinese medicine. Local enterprises
have made progress in the application of new and advanced
technologies ¡V between 2001 and 2002, the total
number of local organisations and enterprises engaged
in research and development grew from 887 to 1 223,
an increase of 38%. The number of R&D personnel
employed by commerce and industry and spending on R&D
also registered appreciable increases and this trend
continued for 2003. We have made a good start and the
Government will continue to support the application
of new and advanced technologies, and promote the transition
to a knowledge-based economy.
30. For many decades, Hong Kong has
been a place where the cultures of East and West meet.
This is conducive to the development of creative industries,
which have already established a solid foundation. For
example, films, music, publishing, architecture, advertising,
various types of design and digital entertainment have
created their own markets overseas. Having regard to
the needs of the respective industries, the Commerce,
Industry and Technology Bureau and the Home Affairs
Bureau will promote the development of creative industries,
including their linkage with the resources and markets
in the Mainland so that they can reach new heights.
Following CEPA, local films can be released in the Mainland
without import quota restrictions starting from this
year. This provides an unprecedented opportunity for
our film industry to prosper. We will continue to provide
the necessary support.
31. Under the joint efforts of the
Home Affairs Department and District Councils in recent
years, many events and projects featuring unique district
characteristics have achieved good results. Sai Kung
is a typical example. Through beautification of the
environment and promoting creative leisure activities,
it has really lived up to its name as the 'Back
Garden of Hong Kong'. The Computer Festival
in Sham Shui Po, Tsuen Wan Jewellery and Goldsmith Square
and other creative activities organised for young people
have all been well received. There have been isolated
cases where we may not have achieved our objectives,
but overall, the local community economy has indeed
strengthened social cohesion and generated economic
benefits. Looking ahead, we will continue to facilitate
such projects hand in hand with our District Councils.
Education and Health Care Industries
32. As Asia's world city, Hong Kong
should be where talents from around the world congregate.
The Capital Investment Entrant Scheme has been well
received and since its implementation last year, overseas
Chinese and foreign nationals have applied to reside
in Hong Kong. We will continue to improve our living
conditions in such areas as environmental protection,
education, recreation and culture, and promote high
quality services to attract those who meet the criteria
to settle here. Hong Kong's education, medical and health
care services enjoy high professional standards. Apart
from catering for local needs, they can be further developed
into industries to serve people in the Mainland and
elsewhere in Asia. We will study how our immigration
and related policies may support such development.
33. The bulk of the world's savings
are generated within Asia. This is expected to be a
long-term trend. Located in the heart of Asia, Hong
Kong is well placed to further develop as an international
financial services and asset management centre such
as Switzerland. With the Mainland as our hinterland,
we are working on providing Asia with high value-added
services in fund management, corporate investment management,
personal banking, insurance sales and various investment
and savings instruments. We will work with the industry
to create even more favourable conditions for these
goals to be achieved.
34. The SARS outbreak last year reminded
all of us of the importance of good personal and environmental
hygiene. The efforts of Team Clean have produced outstanding
results, and various places in the city have become
tidier than before. We attach special importance to
building a high quality living environment in keeping
with our status as Asia's world city. The efforts we
have made to improve water and air quality have begun
to deliver results. Compared with 1999, the number of
hours during which air pollution levels at roadside
air quality monitoring stations exceeded the Air Pollution
Index dropped by 35% in 2003. Water quality in Victoria
Harbour has also improved. The declining levels of bacteria
have changed the living environment of marine life for
the better. Protecting the environment is a longterm
task. We will continue our efforts in this area.
35. The construction industry has always
been important in Hong Kong. Our achievements in urban
development have enjoyed a good reputation internationally.
However, we have to admit that many areas in our city
are showing signs of decay and there are many old buildings.
The urban renewal process includes redevelopment, rehabilitation,
revitalisation and preservation. Accelerating urban
renewal and improving our urban landscape and environmental
hygiene can provide the impetus for long-term sustainable
development as well as job opportunities for the local
construction industry. As this subject involves wide-ranging
implications, we will consider various options, promote
discussion in the community and put forward proposals.