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Keynote Speech by Mr Tony Wong, JP, Acting Government Chief Information Officer, at the “So French So Innovative” Conference (with photos)

Consul General DRULHE (Mrs Christile DRULHE, Consul General of France in Hong Kong and Macau), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

Good afternoon! It’s my honour to join you all in this year’s “So French So Innovative” Conference. I would like to extend a warm welcome to our speakers and guests especially those coming from France. Welcome to Hong Kong. I would also like to express my heartfelt thanks to the Consulate General of France in Hong Kong and Macau, The French Trade Commission - Business France, French Foreign Trade Advisors, Smart City Consortium and Choose France for organising this remarkable conference.

In its fifth edition, the two-day “So French So Innovative” provides an excellent platform for top French companies with international presence as well as young SMEs and startups showcasing together expertise and creativity for building smart cities. Today’s conference with the theme of “France in the game – Sustainable development for the Cities of Tomorrow” provides good opportunities for key industry experts and leaders to share France's innovative technologies especially in the fields of construction innovation, waste management, urban planning and transportation. It will provide much food for thought on developing Hong Kong into a smart city.

Digitalisation is an inevitable trend in driving toward high-quality economic development, as well as a foundation for building a smart city. The Hong Kong SAR Government spares no effort in accelerating the digital transformation of public services, enhancing operational efficiency, and optimising user experience through the application of innovation and technology (I&T) to enhance citizens' quality of life and inject new impetus to economic development. Since December 2020, we have launched the “iAM Smart” platform, providing reliable digital identity authentication for the public to access various government and commercial services, as well as conduct transactions online, all in a simple and secure manner. Over 270 commonly used government, public and private online services are now available on the platform. More than 1.9 million Hong Kong residents have registered for the “iAM Smart” with over 33 million accesses to different online services through the platform. Looking ahead, the Government will fully adopt “iAM Smart” for the provision of one-stop digital services for the public to realise the goal of offering “a single portal for online government services” by 2025. The Government will also leverage advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, geospatial analytics, etc., to implement and revamp over 100 digital government initiatives by 2025 to expedite the building of smart government.

As you can see, AI will be an important backbone to empower smart city and digital government development. With a view to strengthening the local research and development (R&D) capabilities and advancing the AI industry ecosystems in Hong Kong, the Financial Secretary announced in the Budget this year that the Government would conduct a feasibility study on the development of an AI Supercomputing Centre in Hong Kong. This major strategic technology infrastructure shall provide advanced computing resource to local universities, research institutes, government departments and industry sectors to enhance the local R&D process. We aim to kick start the study very shortly and complete it within this financial year. Noting the huge potential of the third generation Internet (Web3), the Financial Secretary also announced in the Budget this year to expedite the Web3 ecosystem development by, among other things, organising major international seminars, to enable the industry and enterprises to better grasp frontier development and to promote cross-sectoral business co-operation, as well as arranging a wide array of workshops for young people.

Hong Kong is marking a new page in our digital transformation journey to break new grounds and scale new heights by leveraging the huge potential of AI and other emerging potentials like Web3. I look forward to welcoming more French companies to participate in Hong Kong’s vibrant I&T development. Lastly, I would like to wish you all a very fruitful and inspiring experience at the “So French So Innovative” Conference today. Thank you very much.

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