1 Sept 1998
Hong Kong Jewellery Collection - TDC News
Clinton Meets Business Leaders
HONG Kong Trade Development Council (TDC) chairman Victor Fung gave US President Bill Clinton, on his July visit, a message that Hong Kong a year after reunification continues to be open, international, strong and forward-looking.
He added that Hong Kong, a bastion of the free market in Asia, is resolved to emerge even stronger from the region's economic crisis. Fung spoke at a business community event organised jointly by TDC and the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, and attended by more than 900 business and community leaders. President Clinton delivered a wide-ranging keynote address on US policy on mainland China and the region.
Fung told Clinton that Hong Kong was heartened by his initiatives to lift US relations with mainland China to a higher plane and to work together across a broad spectrum.
"Hong Kong is a catalyst for engagement between the Chinese mainland and the world," said Fung, adding that the relationship between the US and China touches the lives of everyone in Hong Kong. "Early entry by China into the World Trade Organisation [WTO] would enhance this relationship and bring widespread economic benefit to the region, including Hong Kong," Fung said.
AmCham chairman Jeff Muir said the issues surrounding China's WTO accession are complex and involve painful choices. "However, strategic partnership with China will not be complete until China is a WTO member, meeting the important obligations of membership while also enjoying the benefits including permanent Most Favoured Nation status," Muir said.
Muir said the candour and co-operation of the summits between President Jiang Zemin and President Clinton had put US-China relations on a much more promising path "one that bodes well for Hong Kong".
Spotlight On Young Fashion Designers
YOUNG designers' talents have been recognised at the Hong Kong Young Fashion Designers' Contest '98 (HKYFDC), the major highlight of the Hong Kong Fashion Week for Spring/Summer '99 held from 14-17 July at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Winners of the five prestigious awards were selected among the 16 finalists of the event, organised by TDC.
Mabel Li Shuk Chong, scoring the highest mark in the contest, won the Overall Winner prize. She will represent Hong Kong in the Asia-Pacific Young Fashion Designers' Show, to be held in January 1999 Hong Kong Fashion Week.
Kevin Choy Sau Hung, accumulating the highest mark in the Knitwear Group, was the Knitwear Group Winner. Pansy Wong Ping Yee was the Non-Knitwear Group Winner. The Wool Prize, sponsored by The Woolmark Co, went to Eunice Lee Chun Sze. Coney Ko Yin Shan was the winner of the Hong Kong Fashion Designers' Assn (HKFDA) Award. She was selected by the HKFDA as the most talented contestant.
Wayne Hemingway, designer of renowned British label Red or Dead, was one of the judges, joining a panel of fashion VIPs including: Simona Melegari, fashion editor of Collezioni Italy; Kenneth Fang, chairman of TDC's Garment Advisory Committee; Genevieve Lam, partner of Hillier Fashion; Peter Law, managing director of Pine Link Knitting Fty Ltd; Magdalena Lee, managing director of M Magtague Co Ltd; Candy Leung, product manager, womenswear greater China region, The Woolmark Co; Gemma Choi, director of merchandising and product design at Shanghai Tang; Pacino Wan, fashion designer at She & He Ltd; Benny Yeung, fashion designer of Ben Yeung Ltd; and Kevin Yeung, chairman of the HKFDA.
Hemingway also held a house show featuring his Autumn/Winter '98 collection, which included his latest shoe selection.
To show their support to the contest, 14 past winners and finalists also paraded their latest designs at a presentation titled Made by Hong Kong. The participating designers were Pacino Wan, Melanie Lam, Henry Lau, Grace Choi, Yeelin Yeung, Anna Leung, Simone Ng, Amy Mok, Ivy Yip, Florence Tse, Tony Chow, Eiffiel Tsang, Harrison Wong and Barney Cheng.
TDC Backs Trade Declaration Cuts
TDC supports the Government's move to reduce the official declaration charge on imports and domestic exports.
Council chairman Victor Fung says this will help ease the cost of doing business in Hong Kong. "The measures will bring relief to manufacturers, importers and exporters, and particularly to Hong Kong's small- and medium-sized enterprises, who carry out most of our trade. Lower charges will also help enhance Hong Kong's competitiveness as a trading hub," Fung says.
The reduction in the two declaration charges will have a direct impact on funding for the Council.
TDC used to receive about 30% of its funding through government subvention, which is drawn from import and domestic export charges. The reduction in charges from 0.035% to 0.025% for imports and 0.05% to 0.025% for domestic exports, which took effect on 1 August, is expected to reduce the subvention by HK$136m for the first year, from HK$581m to HK$445m. The impact on a full year is expected to be more than HK$200m.
Over the years, TDC has been receiving less money from the Government and funding more services through revenue from its own business activities. The proposed shortfall is expected to be covered without a reduction in the level of service, by increased activities from the expanded Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, and by drawing on its reserves.
"The Council also remains committed to our recent pledge not to increase fees for our business services and our trade fairs," Fung says.
Film Show Reels In More Buyers
MORE than 600 film and entertainment product buyers from 27 countries and regions rolled up for the Hong Kong International Film Market (FILMART '98), further strengthening Hong Kong's lead as the production and distribution hub of films and television programmes in the Asia-Pacific.
Organised by TDC, FILMART '98 was held from 24-26 June at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre and featured 62 exhibitors from 10 countries and regions introducing their new titles.
"FILMART '98 was attended by 610 buyers, up 22% over the debut event in 1997. In the face of Asia's economic downturn, the significant growth in buyer attendance confirms that FILMART is well on its way to becoming Asia's premier marketplace for film and television productions," said TDC director of services promotion Alan Wong.
"Buyers from mainland China represent 27% of the total. Their strong participation in FILMART '98 indicates that they are keen to look for products for their expanding TV sector," Wong said.
At the exhibition, Golden Harvest Entertainment Co Ltd arranged two screening sessions and also took the opportunity to organise a production preview of its coming release Stormriders, featuring Hong Kong stars Aaron Kwok and Ekin Cheng.
Gordon Cheung, vice-president of Golden Entertainment Co Ltd, says: "This year, we have achieved the same results as last year. Buyers, especially those from Europe, have lots of interest in our coming releases. This film market is useful to us."
Carrie Wong, director of Golden Network Ltd, said, "Many buyers came to our booth and we have concluded deals and made new contacts."
Beyond Films Ltd of Australia was a first-time exhibitor. General manager Gary Hamilton said: "We had great success in Cannes with the movie Forever Fever. So we came here to introduce it to Asian buyers. So far, we have made contacts with buyers from Hong Kong, Japan, [South] Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan."
Producer of Patriot Pictures Michael Mendelsohn said: "We are going to be allocating some US$10m to produce English-language films in conjunction with Hong Kong and [mainland] Chinese film directors as the first step for us to step into the Asian production market."
Tian Shan (PR China) Film Studio, a member of the China Film Producers' Assn, is active in co-productions with Hong Kong film companies. "We see an increase in co-production opportunities with Hong Kong film-makers who eye the mainland China market. We are naturally their ideal partners because we offer scenic spots for location shooting, skilful technicians and equipment," said chief manager and producer of the studio's Shanghai branch Yao Guoming.
President of the Import and Export Branch of the China Film Corpn Zhang Runchang said he will continue to support FILMART. "Despite Asia's financial crisis, our business is quite good at the show. We have met television buyers from Japan, Singapore, Germany and Sweden. For the first two days of the show, we signed 3-4 contracts and some other deals are under negotiation."
Head of Chinese language programming of ASTRO (MBNS) Billy Wong said: "I managed to touch base with many of the important movie suppliers and producers from Hong Kong and have concluded some very important deals. I am looking forward to the next FILMART."
This year's FILMART was supported by the Hong Kong, Kowloon & New Territories Motion Picture Industry Assn Ltd and the Hong Kong Motion Picture Producers and Distributors Assn Ltd, and sponsored by City Entertainment magazine.
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