Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, San Francisco
Hong Kong
HK a creative hub

Chief Executive Carrie Lam
Many people today associate the word "design" with the products of our everyday life: sneakers and T-shirts, kitchen appliances, mobile phones and other electronic gadgets brought to stylish life. That's true, of course, but only as far as it goes. Steve Jobs took a smart step further, when he said, "Design is how it works". In short, for Steve Jobs and for the design industry in general, design is about creating things that work, turning ideas into efficient, practical and pleasing products and offerings for us as the end users. This is the business of design, which is what this week-long global gathering of design professionals is all about.

In its 16th edition, BODW (Business of Design Week) has become the largest design event in Asia, attracting over these years some 120,000 design professionals and aficionados, including all of you here. You are here to be informed and inspired by more than 70 high-profile speakers from 16 countries and regions, together with a creative windfall of forums, seminars and plenary sessions. There will also be designer displays, product showcases and collective spotlights - from design-driven cities, companies and institutions to this year's partner country and its "Italy Makes a Difference" exhibition.

Italy always makes a difference when it comes to design - to the function, form and endless delights of design. As partner country at BODW 2007, Italy presented a master class on design, style and craftsmanship. This year, Italian creativity and innovation, together with its resplendent cultural heritage, returns along with 24 BODW speakers who are all design and brand leaders. We are indeed most grateful for Italy's support.

Hong Kong also has what it takes to excel in design. Not only in organising one of the world's great design gatherings, but in serving as a creative hub. Hong Kong, at the heart of Asia, where East meets West, has always embraced diversity, welcoming the best things in life and the beauty, sophistication and style that underlies them. My Government believes in design and the creative industries in general - in their power to boost our economy and to add value, to make Hong Kong a destination city.

Design is amongst the fastest-growing of our creative industries and my Government will expand our support of those industries, particularly design. We are doing that not only for their economic value, but also because they open up massive opportunities for our young people. In my maiden Policy Address delivered in October this year, I offered a wide range of support measures for our creative industries. Among others, we will inject an additional $1 billion into a fund known as the CreateSmart (Initiative), to fast-track the development of our creative industries. We will also expand our promotion of creativity and design thinking throughout Hong Kong - in our schools as well as in government and industry. And Hong Kong Design Centre, which is our long-term partner as well as BODW's organiser, will be actively involved in helping to nurture Hong Kong's design talent.

While BODW has already become the largest design event in Asia, I know that the Design Centre has the ambition to elevate BODW into a global design and tourism event in collaboration with the Hong Kong Tourism Board. I invite you to return, next year and beyond, to witness and to take part in this wonderful transformation.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam gave these remarks at the opening ceremony of Business of Design Week 2017 on December 7.

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