With half of Hong Kong’s households already hooked up to the Internet, the government is set to implement another phase of E-government services to boost government efficiency. According to the Director of the Hong Kong Information Technology Services Department Alan Wong, the government is determined to develop Hong Kong into a leading digitized city, as part of the global village.
The government’s move has been welcomed by the business community in Hong Kong. The department and the Chinese Manufacturers’ Association (CMA) of Hong Kong have just jointly held a symposium Thursday to encourage small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to adopt more advanced internet business strategies, such as, e-transactions.
Speaking at the symposium, President of the Chinese Manufacturers’ Association Chan Wing Kee said: “Apart from saving costs, enterprises should look further and adopt a higher level technology. They should especially deploy information technology to bolster efficiency to increase competitiveness.”
The CMA’s call came at time when the government’s latest surveyentitled “2001 Surveys on IT Usage and Penetration in the Household and Business Sectors” found that about 1.3 million or 60percent of the households in Hong Kong possess personal computers,and about 80 percent of them are hooked up to the internet.
A recent research undertaken by Intel Semiconductor Ltd recently revealed that 56 percent of teenagers and young adults inHong Kong are more connected to their personal computers, as are 65 percent of the college degrees. About 40 percent of those surveyed by Intel have also been found to prefer downloading pop songs from the internet for their MP3 players.
To match the growing digitized community in Hong Kong, the government is rigorously pursuing the E-government program for this year. In essence, it will strive to provide one-stop and joined-up government services to the community online, while nurturing a culture of cross-departmental collaboration.
Michael Stone, e-government coordinator of the Hong Kong Information Technology and Broadcasting Bureau, said that in the fiscal year 2002-03, the government will be implementing some 400 IT projects in government bureaus and departments.
Around 350 projects are scheduled for completion within the year, he said, adding that this will be achieved through cooperating with the private sector.
“We’ll continue our outsourcing policy to make the best use of private sector resources in developing E-government and bring morebusiness opportunities to the IT industry,” he said.
The government has set a target to carry out 80 percent of government procurement tenders through electronic means online by the end of 2003 in order to provide initiative in driving the private sector into adopting e-business, Stone added.
To assist various sectors in Hong Kong to understand their IT needs, the government and the Hong Kong Productivity Council have just jointly launched the Sector-specific IT Audit Program, said Frederick Wu, acting principal consultant for the e-Enterprises Solution Division of the Hong Kong Productivity Council.
At an affordable cost, a professional health check can be provided on the IT setup and usage at SMEs in various sectors, such as import and export, manufacturing, wholesale and retail, business services, financial services and insurance, and the tourism industries, he said.
Recommendations for improvement can also be provided after IT problems and needs have been diagnosed, he noted. The program will also promote success models with the industry sectors and establish benchmarking, he said.