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Wednesday, March 01, 2000, updated at 11:09(GMT+8)


Knowledge-based Economy Provides Opportunities for Hong Kong

The Hong Kong government will lead to usher in the knowledge-based economy supported by innovation and technology and will give everyone in the society a hand to sign on, said Tung Chee Hwa, chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), Tuesday. Speaking at a gala dinner after receiving the 1999 Leader of the Year Award, Tung said Hong Kong was quite well prepared for a knowledge-based economy and Hong Kong had open and highly efficient markets and its IT infrastructure was already among the best.

The government will, in particular, play its part by creating the best environment to support innovation and technology; revamping the school systems and multiplying the educational opportunities for everyone; and further opening up our markets to the benign forces of competition, the chief executive said. In the race into the knowledge-based economy, Tung expected that the middle class would benefit most relative to the rest as knowledge, brain power, or innovative human capital, were worth more than physical or financial capital in a knowledge-based economy.

Acknowledging that the knowledge-based economy would be a challenge for people without adequate education or whose skills were outdated, Tung promised that no one who was willing to work hard to move up would be denied a fair chance. The government would play its part to help by providing ample opportunities for those who were determined to improve themselves through learning, training and re-training. The "lifelong learning " concept espoused by the Education Commission would be a most important step.

Turning to the business sector, Tung noted that there might be some froth in high-tech stocks everywhere, and perhaps in Hong Kong too, and he reminded investors to be prudent and invest within their means. Referring to those companies that had not integrated IT fully into their management practices or had not even begun to embark on the road to the knowledge economy, Tung urged them to come out from the sideline. "We will become truly and totally successful as a community if all our businesses, big or small, embrace the information technology as the way forward. Only then will our competitiveness be second to none in Asia," he said.

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