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Government CIO points to Hong Kong as Asia’s leading digital nation

Tue 24 May 2016

Hong Kong

Speaking at this year’s inaugural Cloud Expo Asia in Hong Kong, Victor Lam, CIO of the region’s government, presented a keynote address in which he discussed the federal initiatives under way to boost cloud and data centre development – two markets he believes represent the ‘technology pillars’ in the digital economy.

Lam pointed to the Internet of Things and Big Data as new, disruptive forces, powered by cloud technologies, with the potential to transform Hong Kong into a leading digital hub and global smart city. “Cloud computing is the game-changer for business… offering greater scalability, utility-based pricing and ubiquity among applications, consumers and cloud service providers,” he said.

Giving an overview of Hong Kong’s approach to the trend, Lam noted the region’s ranking as first in Asia Pacific for cloud-readiness, and its position above countries such as Germany, the UK and the U.S. on a global scale. He explained that leveraging these opportunities is a priority for the government, which has launched several schemes to support infrastructure, establish standards and promote adoption, particularly among SMEs.

One such programme, Lam continued, is Hong Kong’s Government Cloud Infrastructure (GovCloud) set up in 2013. The set-up facilitates a more agile and cost-effective deployment of e-government services. “Currently, there are 12 application systems being developed or hosted on GovCloud. Riding on the cloud platform, the Government will continue with the development of e-government services for shared use by departments,” explained Lam.

More recently, Lam noted the government’s work on a project known as the Data.Gov.HK portal, which offers a platform for data providers from a range of departments and organisations to share and collaborate on Public Sector Information (PSI) datasets. He commented: “We will explore the further use of big data analytics within the Government to enhance operational efficiency for better delivery of public services.”

Turning his focus to data centres, Lam detailed the government’s commitment to the development of the industry in Hong Kong, with a particular interest in high-tier facilities. He described the data centre as the technology backbone to many of the region’s leading business operations, including banking, financial services and insurance sectors.

Alongside its cloud-readiness title, Hong Kong also ranks as a prime location for setting up data centres. Its geographical location, strategic trade links and regulations around safety, position the region as the most suitable setting for data centres in Asia Pacific, argued Lam.

“Together with a pro-business environment, robust telecommunications infrastructure, reliable power supply, free flow of information, low and simple taxation regime as well as the proximity and close ties with the Mainland, Hong Kong possesses superior competitive advantages and is an ideal place to set up data centres.”

Lam spoke of the success of the government’s 2012 measures to encourage the conversion and development of data centres on industrial sites. He noted that as of March this year, 14 applications have been approved, providing a total floor area of over 67,000 sq.m for new data centre use.

Concluding his address, Lam looked to the future development of Hong Kong as a global smart city. He explained the government’s plans to implement a digital framework and comply with international standards to promote big data projects and public-private collaboration to drive its smart city agenda.

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