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Technology makes our economy and lives more vibrant

The Global Information Technology Report 2014 newly released by the World Economic Forum brings good news to Hong Kong. Among the 148 economies assessed, Hong Kong ranks eighth in the Networked Readiness Index (NRI), leaping from 14th last year and overtaking the Republic of Korea (10th) and Taiwan (14th) to take second place in Asia.

The NRI measures and ranks the capacity of major economies to leverage information and communications technologies (ICT) to boost economic growth and improve people's well-being. Of the 10 pillars of the NRI, Hong Kong performs better than last year in "skills", "political and regulatory environment", "government usage", "business usage", "economic impacts", "social impacts" and "infrastructure and digital content".

The Report shows that Hong Kong's capacity to leverage ICT for economic growth is highly recognised internationally. All the major economies attach great importance to technology and regard it as a core competitive advantage. Given Hong Kong's sound technological foundation, our economy and our lives will certainly become more vibrant so long as the Government is appropriately proactive in enhancing co-operation among the government, industry, research and academic sectors.

Although this authoritative international report affirms our progress, Hong Kong is only placed eighth in the world. As last year, we still lag behind Singapore, which ranks second in the world and first in Asia. While we celebrate our leap in the rankings, we must maintain our efforts to improve.

The Government plans to set up a new policy bureau - the Innovation and Technology Bureau - to formulate policies on and promote the development of innovation and technology, as well as information technology, in Hong Kong. The proposal is now being considered by the Legislative Council. I sincerely hope that the Honourable Members will take note of this authoritative international report and finish the deliberations on the proposal as soon as possible.

April 24, 2014