On Tuesday officials depicted Hong Kong as an important gateway bringing the world of telecommunications nearer the Chinese mainland which was a fast growing and profitable market in the eyes of the industry.
At the opening ceremony of China Day at the Hong Kong International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Telecom World 2006 Henry Tang, Secretary for Finance of the Hong Kong government, said with China's information and communication technology (ICT) market nearing the final stage of liberalization in 2007 through a World Trade Organization agreement Hong Kong’s role was set to change.
As a gateway for telecommunication investors to the mainland market Hong Kong was gaining more leverage and the Secretary of Finance cited the recent successful listings of major Chinese enterprises on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, their subsequent access to global markets and funding as examples.
China Day, the first in the history of the ITU's Telecom World exhibition in 34 years, is seen as the climax of exchanges between the Chinese telecommunication industry and its counterparts around the world.
Hong Kong Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology, Joseph Wong, was in agreement with Henry Tang and noted that the ‘Closer Economic Partnership Agreement’ (CEPA) enabled Hong Kong to enjoy the strong economic growth of the Chinese mainland which was a large and lucrative market for the ICT industry.
He said under the CEPA Hong Kong service suppliers could enjoy preferential access opportunities in 27 service areas in mainland markets including information technology and telecommunications.
According to a survey, the amount of investment in the mainland encouraged by the CEPA in the ICT service areas amounted to some $29 million US dollars in the first two years after the CEPA came into effect.
Wong said what was more important was that the criteria for enjoying the CEPA preferences could be applied to foreign-owned companies operating in Hong Kong. They could enjoy the same preferential treatment as Hong Kong-owned companies.
(Xinhua News Agency December 6, 2006)