Sharing community, the Gov’t blueprint

Chief Secretary Carrie Lam

After decades of economic growth, Hong Kong has become a renowned international financial hub and, in general terms, an affluent city. However, under the breath-taking skylines, there are unmet societal needs. Great wealth and opportunity in some quarters is offset by increasing uncertainty and constraints in others. Swift development of technology is altering possibilities in education, social connection and business. Young people are concerned about opportunities for upward mobility, while rapid ageing of the population is changing patterns of need.

 

To meet these challenges, fresh ideas and a renewed willingness to test out different ways of creating value for individuals, businesses and the community are needed to foster the continuous growth of our city.

 

Over the past five years, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government has worked to strengthen social safety nets and to build an environment that provides a catalyst for new ideas. We have introduced the old age living allowance which is pro-security in retirement; the low income family allowance which is pro-work; the use of vouchers for social services which is pro-choice; and the pre-school on-site rehabilitation services for children with special education needs which is pro-cross-sector collaboration. These are measures that give full respect to the individuals and allow them to develop their opportunities.

 

In addition, through the work of the Innovation & Technology Commission, the recent establishment of the Innovation & Technology Bureau, and the Commission on Poverty’s initiative to set up the Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship Development Fund, we have been building the ecosystem of support both for the creation of new businesses and for existing business to rethink the way that they operate.

 

I am particularly interested in two of the themes that the Task Force on the Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship Development Fund, chaired by Professor Stephen Cheung, has been pursuing, the ideas of “Creating Shared Value” and of “Collective Impact”.

 

The first of these themes, “Creating Shared Value”, challenges established businesses with the fact that no business simply creates profit for shareholders through providing goods or services needed by customers. Every business also creates impacts on the people it employs, the society in which it operates and the environment in which it exists. By thinking about how business value can be created in ways that increase social value and reduce or avoid harm to the environment, shared value can be created that serves to enrich society and further improve both the business environment and individual opportunity.

 

Overcoming the inertia of entrenched business practices and assumptions in order to find shared value is not an easy task – just as it is not an easy task in public service or any other domain of life – but I have been heartened by the response of numerous businesses to the call to rethink, to experiment and to find ways to work better for our city and our society.

 

The second theme, “Collective Impact”, takes us beyond business to the collaboration between business, community and government to address complex social problems. It is built around three ideas. The first is that each partner brings unique capability and insight to help address an issue. The second is that no one partner can address an issue effectively alone. The third idea, which is the key, is that no one plan into which each partner is slotted can address an issue effectively either, that instead there needs to be an agreement on a common purpose, freedom for each partner to experiment and try out ideas, and a mechanism to share experience and learn together how to improve the effectiveness of combined action.

 

Such an experimental approach to addressing complex issues can be hard for businessmen, politicians and the public to accept. We clamour for quick wins and assurance of solutions. We assume that we know what the problem is that needs to be solved. But a complex system – which any city of 7 million people must certainly be in – does not give rise to easily defined problems. Tackling one problem can uncover more, indeed, often it can cause new and unexpected difficulties. Learning through a variety of experiments, trial and error is the sensible way to navigate through the currents of complexity.

 

But, people who are in need, who face great frustrations and difficulties in their lives, grow impatient with talk of learning and experiments. They want to see hands reaching out, doors opened, barriers lifted. That is where the Sharing Good Values initiative you are launching today comes in.

 

The best advocate for good values is the evidence of those values being put into practice whether in businesses, in non-profits, in institutions of education and development, or in families and between friends and neighbours in the community. By your advocacy and action to advance good values, to encourage businesses to seek to create shared value, and to develop collaboration to improve collective impact you can do much to bring inspiration, ideas and opportunity to our community. My presence here today is evidence of my good wishes to each of you and you can be assured of my continuous support, and that of my colleagues in the Government and the public service.

 

Hong Kong has proven its value in the past to millions of people who have come and made their homes here. Hong Kong in the past and today creates great value for the region and even the world. I believe that in the sharing and the exercise of good values lays the source from which this city and its people will continue to create abounding value for ourselves, for our neighbours, for many years to come. Let me end by wishing the Hong Kong Shared Good Values movement every success.

 

Chief Secretary Carrie Lam gave these remarks at the launching ceremony of Hong Kong Shared Good Values on August 30.

via Moroccan Trader Sharing community, the Gov’t blueprint

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Hong Kong needs diverse talent

Chief Executive CY Leung

Over the past decades, Hong Kong has become an increasingly active player in global affairs, in business and in other sectors. We no longer focus merely on light manufacturing for example, but also in a broad range of other sectors such as mining, agriculture, energy, railways, telecommunications and financial and professional services, also outside of Hong Kong. Our footprint in the world is now much bigger than the 1,100 square kilometres that make up Hong Kong. Our professional firms in architecture and surveying, for instance, have projects all around the world, including countries such as India, Thailand and Malaysia. Commerce and trade aside, we also engage in extensive international activities such as in health, environment, culture and education.

 

For Hong Kong to compete successfully in the 21st century, we must continue to embrace the outside world. Our young generation must get to know the world, and must feel as comfortable in any overseas setting as they are in Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, or the New Territories.

 

With this in mind, your Government is actively promoting exchanges between our young people and those from other countries. We have the Working Holiday Scheme, various funding schemes for youth exchange and internship outside Hong Kong, as well as the Hong Kong Scholarship for Excellence Scheme.

 

Every year, we award up to 100 scholarships for our top students to receive education in great universities outside Hong Kong – to learn, to understand and to befriend in this global village.

 

Last year, 92 outstanding students were awarded this scholarship to pursue undergraduate or postgraduate studies abroad. I myself met some of them during my visit to London last October. I was impressed. Not only by their talent and vision, but also by their dedication to Hong Kong. I was delighted that these young people had kept in touch with the Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office in London. I hope they will continue to care about Hong Kong – not only during their study abroad, but also after they graduate, and after they start their careers.

 

This year, 78 scholars were selected from 681 applicants, and 49 will pursue undergraduate study and 29 postgraduate study at world-renowned institutions of their choosing. Some more students may be added to the list later this year.

 

The scholars have diverse interests and talents, ranging from law, engineering, architecture, natural and social sciences, liberal arts and literature, to music and fine arts. Some will pursue less traditional disciplines – forensic science, neuropsychology and music therapy.

 

I applaud their passion and ambition. Hong Kong needs a pool of diverse talents to address our varied needs.

 

The Hong Kong Scholarship for Excellence Scheme is part of our effort in encouraging top students to study overseas. This is one side of the coin. The other side is to attract top foreign students, particularly those from less familiar countries, to study in Hong Kong. Currently, the ratio of foreign students in UGC-funded universities is only about 4%, which definitely does not match our international connections. We should certainly encourage more to come, so that our young people can gain wider exposure even if they do not study abroad. This is one reason behind the Government’s proposed Belt & Road Scholarship Scheme – to give our campus a greater international flavour, to broaden their outlook and to tease out their curiosity about the world beyond our 1,100 square kilometres.

 

Chief Executive CY Leung gave these remarks at the Hong Kong Scholarship for Excellence Scheme Award Presentation Ceremony on August 26.

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HK in full steam to promote FinTech

Secretary for Innovation & Technology Nicholas Yang

Since 2014, Cyberport has been working with Accenture to set up the FinTech Innovation Lab Asia Pacific in Hong Kong. We are the third host city to set up such an Innovation Lab, after New York and London. The project is pivotal and timely for the future development of the financial services and the innovation and technology sectors here in Hong Kong.

 

Financial services is no doubt one of Hong Kong’s pillar industries. In 2014, it accounted for over 17% of the Hong Kong’s GDP. We have 74 of the world’s top 100 banks operating in Hong Kong today and our global competitiveness is well-recognised. The Global Financial Centre Index published this year ranked Hong Kong as the fourth most competitive global financial centre in the world.

 

Apart from a strong business culture which has made what Hong Kong is today, information and communications technology or ICT has also helped our city to become a renowned international financial centre. This includes a robust telecommunication and broadband infrastructure as well as a vibrant ICT sector with talents from all over the world and more recently, an increasingly growing and active technology start-up community. Looking ahead, ICT will certainly play a bigger role in strengthening Hong Kong’s position in the FinTech sector.

 

According to results released last month by the Collinson Group, four in five affluent consumers in Hong Kong use finance apps to engage with their financial services providers. Another study conducted by Ernst & Young in 2015, which surveyed the percentage of digitally active consumers in the financial services sector of six economies around the world, shows that Hong Kong has the highest percentage of FinTech use at 29.1%, followed by the United States at 16.5% and Singapore at 14.7 %.

 

In recent years, the Government has been taking active steps to facilitate the development of FinTech in Hong Kong. Earlier this year, the Steering Group on Financial Technologies chaired by the Secretary for Financial Services & the Treasury released its report, setting out a package of recommendations for developing and promoting Hong Kong as a FinTech hub. In the 2016-17 Budget, the Financial Secretary has also announced a number of measures, which represent early adoption and implementation of the Steering Group’s recommendations. These include the setting up of FinTech platforms under the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the Securities & Futures Commission and the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance to enhance communication between regulators and the FinTech community, and the initiatives by Cyberport to support the FinTech start-up community, including incubation support for start-ups and a dedicated FinTech Smart Space.

 

With more than a hundred FinTech companies now in its community, Cyberoport is well-positioned to become a major FinTech cluster in Hong Kong. Last month, Cyberport organised the “Blockchain Strategies for Business” Conference to help the start-up community acquire an in-depth understanding of this emerging technology and seize the opportunities to apply blockchain technology in FinTech and other new market areas. In addition, earlier this month, Cyberport launched its $200 million Marco Fund to provide funding from seed to Series A stage to the Cyberport entrepreneurs. This will certainly help strengthen the ecosystem for Hong Kong’s start-up community, including FinTech start-ups.

 

With the set-up of FinTech Innovation Lab Asia Pacific, together with the concerted efforts and collaboration from the community and industry, I am confident that Hong Kong will find its place as one of the world’s leading FinTech centres very soon.

 

Secretary for Innovation & Technology Nicholas Yang made these remarks at the FinTech Innovation Lab Asia Pacific Welcome Cocktail on August 22.

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Sport for all, bring it on

The Arnold Classic Asia Multi-Sport Festival opens for its premiere two-day run tomorrow. This festival is a celebration of sports, fitness and health, bringing professionals, amateurs and enthusiasts together in an atmosphere of competition, learning and sharing. It is a festival for the whole family to participate in. I am very pleased to note that the event will provide support to Operation Breakthrough, which is formed by a group of local volunteers with the shared vision to provide sporting and related activities, as well as positive interaction with role models, to young people at risk.

 

Established in the United States 40 years ago, the festival has an international following on six continents including North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Australia and now Asia, with Hong Kong as the home base. I must thank the Governor for choosing our city of seven million people to reach out to 4.4 billion people in Asia. Over 500, 000 people around the world have attended an Arnold Classic this year, with over 40, 000 athletes competing in some 55 sports and related events.

 

The event in Hong Kong is indeed the final piece of a quest to globalise the Arnold Sports Festivals. And for hosting such a major and popular event, there is no place better than Hong Kong, Asia’s world city and a champion of globalisation. Arnold chooses Hong Kong to be the permanent Asian home of the festival as he notes that Hong Kong is more than an international business and financial centre in the heart of Asia. Hong Kong enjoys broad diversity in sport as well, and in Arnold’s words, which I quote, “making it the ideal city to unite the Asian sports community at one event”, unquote. I am sure Arnold will share with us more at this luncheon later.    

 

The Arnold Classic Asia Multi-Sport Festival in Hong Kong will see global and local sports stars coming together over one weekend. The debut festival will feature unique, non-stop sports competitions and interactive workshops covering over 20 sports. From mind sports such as chess and Rubik’s Cube, to table tennis, skip rope, rugby, arm-wrestling, weight lifting, cycling, martial arts like tai chi and kung fu, and more. 

 

The timing of this event is impeccable. Sports development is a priority of the Hong Kong SAR Government. Hong Kong has nurtured a good league of elite players. Right now about 40 of them are competing in Rio de Janeiro for the Olympics, which will conclude this weekend. Regardless of the results, our athletes inspire young and old alike and make us proud.

 

Development of sports facilities is crucial to achieving the target of “sport for all”. In recent years, the Government has built a world-class Velodrome and completed the redevelopment of the Hong Kong Sports Institute. We are now pushing ahead with the Kai Tak Sports Park, a key investment of the Government in sports infrastructure, and pre-construction work is in full swing. On completion, the Park will be the largest of its kind in the city, and will offer a great variety of multi-purpose facilities across an expansive 28 hectares. It will feature a 50,000-seat stadium, together with a public sports ground, an indoor sports centre, a health and wellness centre and a landscaped park. The area will include jogging and cycling tracks, outdoor sports courts and a fitness area. It might even be a great venue for a future Arnold Classic.

 

We are also hosting major international sports events. The Hong Kong Rugby Sevens, the Hong Kong Marathon, the Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Races and the lately added Hong Kong Cyclothon all draw big crowds to Hong Kong. Golf and tennis opens, badminton, squash, volleyball, track cycling and dance sport also keep Hong Kong on the global circuit. And now we can add the Arnold Classic to the mix. 

 

Chief Secretary Carrie Lam made these remarks at the Arnold Business Lunch on August 19.

 

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