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TDC NEWS(HKTDC Houseware,1998)

April 1998



Design Gallery Opens New Shop

VISITORS to the TDC Design Gallery will enjoy more shopping choices with the opening of its new shop.

Speaking at the opening ceremony last 5 February 1998, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council's (TDC) acting executive director Frederick Lam said the move represented an extension of the Council's effort to reinforce the promotion of Hong Kong brand names and designer labels.

"Capitalising on the new flow of business and tourist traffic brought by the new wing of the HKCEC [Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre], the shop will promote local brand names more effectively through the use of upgraded display facilities," Lam said. "It will help to serve the growing number of manufacturers, trade buyers and fair visitors looking for unique items.

"In this way the new gallery, like our original Design Gallery, will serve as more than just a retail outlet. With a steady flow of international customers taking products and designs home with them, Hong Kong manufacturers and designers will be able to reach out to markets overseas," said Lam.

Hong Kong is the world's leading supplier of gifts and premiums, with an edge in product design. From January to November 1997, Hong Kong exported HK$152.8bn worth of these products, a 5% increase over the same period the year before.

Lam said: "Because of this kind of success and because of the need to promote Hong Kong products and design capability, we now have the distinct pleasure of opening our second gallery."

He noted that good product design is crucial to competitiveness in the world market and TDC is committed to promoting better design capabilities among Hong Kong's manufacturers and exporters. It was with this aim that the TDC Design Gallery was launched, he added.

The new gallery is located on the ground floor of the HKCEC extension. Collections of Hong Kong products with brand names or designer labels, including gifts, toys, electronics, household products (excluding fashion items), are featured in the 1,200-square-foot gallery.

The TDC Design Gallery was established in 1991 to foster originality and creativity in Hong Kong product design. The shop has so far featured about 60,000 products from more than 1,600 Hong Kong companies, directly helping a wide range of small- and medium-sized enterprises and entrepreneurs.

Including the new shop, the TDC Design Gallery now has 5,500 items on display. For the year 1996/97, about 700,000 people visited the gallery. They made more than 70,000 purchases and over 2,000 enquiries about the products on display.

Among the visitors were buying agents, wholesalers, foreign importers and overseas buyers attending trade fairs in Hong Kong.

Joining Lam at the opening ceremony at the new shop were Miss Hong Kong 1997, Virginia Yung, and First Runner-Up, Vivian Lee; Alan Yip, vice-chairman of the Hong Kong Designers' Assn; and Tak Lee, chairman of the Chartered Society of Designers, Hong Kong region.

Business hours are 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. from Monday to Friday, and until 6:30 p.m. for Saturday. The shop is closed on Sunday.

Call For Closer Japan / Hong Kong Partnership

HONG Kong is one tiger with a lot of life left in it, even after the Asian financial turmoil, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council's (TDC) executive director Michael Sze reassured the Japanese business community recently.

Japan and Hong Kong, both leading in various economic areas across the region, should work more closely to lead Asia in the process of recovery, Sze said.

Sze was in Japan last January to address more than 500 business leaders at two Japan/Hong Kong Society's Chinese New Year lunches, which were held in Osaka on 29 January and in Tokyo on 30 January.

Coming at a time when the Japanese economy is slowing down, Sze spelled out the possibility of economic revival through a closer partnership between Hong Kong and Japan.

"The linkage between Japan and Hong Kong goes far beyond trade," he said. "In foreign direct investment, in capital markets, in providing sophisticated financial services and financial leadership — in all these areas Japan and Hong Kong lead Asia.

"1998 could be the most difficult year East Asia has faced in the last few decades. But, together, Japan and Hong Kong can, and will, provide the leadership that will help the region steer its way to calmer waters."

Sze also reviewed Hong Kong's development after the handover, including the challenges that Hong Kong encounters. "The Asian financial crisis has given Hong Kong a special opportunity to explain the economic role it plays in the Asia-Pacific economy and why we are different from other economies in the region," Sze said.

"Like Japan, Hong Kong is a high value-added economy, providing specialised services that help other economies compete. The massive devaluation around the region makes Hong Kong even more expensive than usual. But our long-term competitiveness does not rest on cost but rather value.

"Hong Kong is a premium product offering unique strengths to the region in services, manufacturing and our relationship with China," Sze concluded.

Sze's visit to Japan is part of TDC's promotional efforts to open up more business opportunities for Hong Kong companies in the market. The Japan/Hong Kong Society's Chinese New Year Lunch kicked off TDC's promotional programme in Japan in the Year of the Tiger. This year the Council will focus on expanding regional markets in Japan, including Sapporo, Fukuoka and Nagoya, in addition to traditional markets in Tokyo and Osaka.

TDC will also promote closer partnership between Hong Kong companies and small- and medium-sized enterprises in Japan. OEM business missions on toys, electronics and optical industries will also be organised to promote technology, design and ideas exchange.

The Japan/Hong Kong Society was formed in 1988 to promote economic and cultural exchange between Japan and Hong Kong. Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the society has 1,100 members representing all major business sectors. The society maintains offices in both Tokyo and Osaka, with TDC providing secretariat support for their activities.

Japan is Hong Kong's second-largest market in Asia and third-largest trading partner in the world. From January to November 1997, Hong Kong's exports to Japan exceeded HK$81.7bn. Major exports include clothing and clothing accessories, jewellery, watches and clocks, and semiconductors.

Exploring Future Society

WHAT will be the impact of the latest information technologies on our daily life in the future? At the Hong Kong Information Infrastructure Expo and Conference, the "Future Society" pavilion presented 10 simulated models of future home, office, street, government services, mobility, financial services, electronic world, transportation, community information and info-tainment.

Visitors were able to look at futuristic applications of information technologies, including online access to government information and services, electronic commerce, real-time video communication via mobile phones, electronic banking and interactive online investments, personal area network, compartment of the MTR airport express rail, video flat viewing, chroma key effects and intelligent workstations.

Entitled "Entering the Information Age", the Hong Kong Information Infrastructure Expo and Conference was jointly organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council and the Office of Telecommunications Authority. The event, which was the first-ever public exposition and conference on information infrastructure, was held last 12-15 February at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The exposition and conference were aimed at promoting public understanding of the importance of building Hong Kong's information infrastructure and its impact on daily life.

The "Future Society" pavilion, one of the event's highlights, offered visitors a chance to experience and imagine how IT applications will affect how they live and work in the future.

Co-organisers of the pavilion were the Hongkong Telecom and Television Broadcasts Ltd, and sponsors were the Business and Services Promotion Unit of the Financial Secretary's Office, New World Telephone, the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong, IBM China/Hong Kong Corpn, Mass Transit Railway Corpn and Centaline Property Agency Ltd.

In addition to the "Future Society" pavilion, the exposition included a commercial exhibition and a two-day conference. The commercial exhibition featured a wide spectrum of advanced information technology and telecommunications services and products from 70 exhibitors. The "TechWorld '98" pavilion, co-organised by the Hong Kong Industrial Technology Centre Corpn, was specially designed for start-up IT companies and SMEs.

A high-level conference held on the first two days of the exposition was a focal point for a number of renowned international speakers to exchange views on pressing topics in the industry.

On the first day, government officials discussed the latest developments on information infrastructure and their implications. Donald Tsang, Financial Secretary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, delivered a keynote address entitled "Hong Kong in the New Information Age". Day two presented five concurrent sessions on IT-related topics, including human resources, media, technologies and infrastructure, business applications, as well as policies and regulations.

The event was also supported by Hong Kong Article Numbering Assn, Hong Kong Computer Society, Hong Kong Electronic Industries Assn, Hong Kong Information Technology Federation, Hong Kong Institute of Engineers, Hong Kong Internet Service Providers Assn, Hong Kong Productivity Council, Hong Kong Society for Multimedia and Image Computing, Hong Kong Telecommunications Users Group and Telecom Assn of Hong Kong.

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