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OGCIO
24-05-2017

Speech by Ir. Allen Yeung, JP, Government Chief Information Officer, at “Cloud Expo Asia 2017”


Philip (Soar), Charles (Mok), distinguished speakers and guests, ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning! It gives me great pleasure to join you all today at the Cloud Expo Asia, which provides an excellent opportunity for cloud experts across different industries to share their insights and knowledge in applying the latest technologies in their businesses.

First and foremost, the emergence of cloud computing is among the key disruptive technologies in recent years. Cloud has fundamentally changed the delivery model of computing provision. It requires low capital investment, while offering flexible and agile capability in designing IT applications/services and allocation of resources. As more enterprises shift their operations to the cloud, provision of on-demand cloud computing platform is now a major source of revenue growth for cloud service providers. On the other hand, cloud computing also spurs many new applications, such as A.I. and big data analytics.

According to the forecast from the International Data Corporation (IDC), worldwide spending on public cloud services and infrastructure will reach USD123 billion in 2017, an increase of 24.4% over 2016. By 2020, IDC forecasts public cloud spending will reach USD203 billion worldwide. Apart from the US and Western Europe, Asia/Pacific will be the 3rd largest market in 2017.

Hong Kong is an advanced ICT hub in the region with top ranking in the Cloud Readiness Index compiled by the Asia Cloud Computing Association. This achievement comes with a whole list of rationals, particularly attributed to our world-class ICT infrastructure. We have a robust telecommunications network connected by ten regional and trans-Pacific submarine cable systems and ten satellites for external communications. Many of you should also aware that Facebook and Google have announced their plan to build a new submarine cable with a capacity of 120 Tbps, connecting Hong Kong and Los Angeles. It will be the first direct link between Hong Kong and US. Upon its completion in 2018, our equipped capacity of external communications facilities will reach 200 Tbps.

The Hong Kong Government spares no efforts in promoting the adoption of cloud computing in Government departments’ operations and public services to meet rising public demands and community expectations on e-government services and reap the benefits of contemporary technologies.

Over the past few years, OGCIO has acquired a funding of more than HK$390 million to progressively implement the Government Cloud Platforms. These platforms have provided government departments the IT resources in a more flexible, agile and cost effective manner to help expedite the development and provision of quality e-Government services and enabled the shared use of common e-government services. Government departments are also required to accord priority to adopting government cloud services having regard to their respective information security and project needs when developing new or revamping existing systems.

At present, we have more than 180 e-government services running on the Government Cloud Platforms. Some newly launched examples include Dutiable Commodities System from the Customs and Excise Department, eHealth Record Sharing Online Enrolment from the Department of Health, Electronic Planning Application Submission System from the Planning Department, and the “Pay e-Cheque” portal from the OGCIO. There are also common services implemented on the Government Cloud Platforms for the use of government departments. Examples include Electronic Procurement System, Government Human Resources Management System and Electronic Record Keeping System. Meanwhile, we are planning to implement a centrally managed messaging platform in the government that rides on cloud computing technology to meet the needs of our future operations.

Cloud computing is no doubt an enabling technology for various Government’s strategic initiatives. For example, riding on cloud, we have set up a portal “data.gov.hk” opening up public sector information for free re-use. It now has almost 7 000 datasets on different areas such as weather, transport and population from government departments as well as public and private organisations. To facilitate the development of innovative ideas through data mesh up, we will increase the number of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) on the portal currently at 700 to 1 000 by mid-year. We will also implement a pilot big data analytics platform to facilitate government departments in data sharing and collaborative development of big data applications.

To promote the benefits of cloud computing to the business community, especially SMEs, cloud experts from Hong Kong and Mainland collaborated and published the Hong Kong/Guangdong Practice Guide for Procuring Cloud Services in 2014. Last year, OGCIO and Cyberport joined the Cloud Computing Working Group of the National Information Technology Standardisation Committee to formulate national standards on purchase guidelines for cloud computing services. Currently, the Working Group is drafting the national standard with reference to the one we issued in 2014. It is planned to complete the drafting process and submit the draft Guidelines for approval by the end of this year.

Looking ahead, we have engaged a consultant to conduct a holistic review on the Government Cloud Platforms. Our objective is to build the next generation of government cloud infrastructure making best use of the latest cloud computing technologies to better support the various e-government initiatives.

We have not overlooked the global trend of big data analytics, which should be another cornerstone of smart city development. We are now conducting a consultancy study for formulating a smart city blueprint for Hong Kong. The study is expected to be completed in mid-2017.

Cloud will continue to evolve and play a key role in fueling development of new technologies like big data and A.I. and drives innovation and high-value added economic activities. The Government will continue to promote cloud adoption, and in spite of Hong Kong’s small size, we will continue to implement measures to support development of cloud in Hong Kong, e.g. by facilitating the setting up of high-tier data centres in Hong Kong through incentive measures to encourage the private owners of eligible industrial buildings to convert them into data centres and streamline the administration procedures.

Before closing, I would like to thank the organiser for providing an excellent platform for participants to share the best practices and latest trends in cloud computing and applications. I wish you all a fruitful conference in the coming two days.

Thank you!