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Speech by Mr. Victor Lam, JP, Government Chief Information Officer, at the “Cloud Expo Asia Hong Kong 2019” (with photos)

Distinguished speakers, guests, ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning.  I am very pleased to join you all at the Cloud Expo Asia Hong Kong 2019.  Organised for the 4th year running in Hong Kong, this annual conference cum exhibition is a large-scale ICT event for industry stakeholders to share knowledge and expertise, and explore the latest trends in cloud computing, data centre and related technologies.

Cloud computing is no longer a new concept to the business world.  Indeed, with the benefits it brings in terms of flexibility, agility and cost-effectiveness, cloud computing will continue to create huge value for enterprises in the era of disruptive technology.  Gartner predicts that the worldwide public cloud services market will continue to grow by 17.5 per cent this year to over US$200 billion.

Hong Kong has a robust telecommunications infrastructure with a fast Internet connection, a pro-business environment and a thriving innovation and technology sector, making it an ideal place to set up cloud services to serve the business needs of over 8 700 business operations in Hong Kong whose parent companies are situated overseas or in the Mainland. 

Apart from the existing submarine and overland cable systems as well as satellites for external communications, several other high-speed submarine cable systems are now under construction.  They connect Hong Kong to different places of the world and will further boost our communications capacity upon completion.  Besides, preparatory work for the fifth generation (5G) mobile network is underway and it is expected that commercial 5G services will be available in Hong Kong around next year. 

All these factors make Hong Kong ranked 2nd in the Cloud Readiness Index 2018 of the Asia Cloud Computing Association.  We have indeed attracted several major global cloud service providers to set up cloud regions and centres in Hong Kong, and new cloud platforms continue to come into operation to serve the regional and local business communities.

Hong Kong is also well-known as an ideal location for setting up data centres.  Although land is at a premium in Hong Kong, the Government spares no effort in identifying land sites for sale and introducing incentive measures for redevelopment or conversion of industrial buildings into data centres.  Last December, the Government awarded the tender for a large site designated for high-tier data centre development in Tseung Kwan O to a local data centre operator who has outbid eight other parties.  The enthusiastic response from the market is again an indication of the business potential of data centre and cloud services in Hong Kong.

Within the Government, cloud is a vital infrastructure to develop new IT systems, improve public services and implement smart city projects.

We are dedicating our efforts to building the Next Generation Government Cloud (GovCloud), which is a central digital platform adopting a hybrid cloud design.  Apart from implementing a reliable private cloud, we will also make good use of the public cloud with better scalability to expand the system hosting capacity so as to meet the increasing demand of public services.  With this shared and secure cloud platform, the lead time for government departments to procure, install and maintain the required resources can be greatly reduced.  We expect that the lead time for system development can be shortened by at least 20% as a result.

To facilitate government departments in implementing various data analytics projects for smart city management, a Big Data Analytics Platform will run on top of GovCloud.  It will be equipped with advanced features like big data analytics tools, artificial intelligence cognitive tools, parallel computing system, and a “Digital Highway” to facilitate the exchange and sharing of real-time data across government departments.  The “Digital Highway” can also facilitate the opening up of government data through the “” portal to the general public for creating innovative smart city applications.

Another project to be implemented on GovCloud is the Electronic Identity (eID) which is scheduled for launch in the middle of next year.  We will provide an eID for all Hong Kong residents free of charge.  With a single digital identity and authentication means, citizens can perform online transactions with the Government and commercial entities anytime, anywhere.  In addition to bringing convenience to the public, eID will foster the development of new customer service models and digital transformation in both the public and private sectors.

To speed up the adoption of innovative technology in the Government, we will soon open the Smart Government Innovation Lab to match the needs of departments with innovative solutions offered by the industry.  All industry stakeholders, including local small and medium enterprises and start-ups, are welcome to submit proposals for innovative applications and products to tackle city challenges.  Let’s join hands to build a smarter Government.

I would like to thank the organiser for putting together an excellent programme for this event.  I wish you all a fruitful experience in the coming two days.  Thank you.

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