One of the promises of the Internet is that it lowers costs by minimizing transaction costs and expediting distribution processes. Companies are able to cut purchasing and storage costs, for example, by more effectively managing supplier relationships, streamlining logistics and inventories, and shortening planning and production cycles. Another promise held out by the Internet is the elimination of intermediary institutions – in the jargon of the industry, the process of disintermediation. In addition, there exists the promise of reaching new customers, providing the possibility for firms to tap new and bigger markets around the world.
Seeing the potential for Internet-working technologies to contribute to the economy – particularly at a time of financial reform – many countries in Asia have attempted to put the development of their information infrastructure at the top of their development agendas. Countries such as Singapore are fiercely pushing ahead with such programs.5 This has provided Hong Kong with an important challenge: given that its neighbours are aggressively promoting the development and use of the Internet — and relatedly of electronic commerce – will this affect Hong Kong’s status as an international trade and financial centre? Can the Internet be used to leverage Hong Kong’s existing physical infrastructure strengths and locational advantages? Or, does the Internet revolution threaten to negate Hong Kong’s traditional advantages?
Session One: Can Hong Kong’s role as a financial hub be sustained in the electronic age?
Chair: John Ure, Director of Telecommunications Research Project
- Michael Blumer, Vice-President and Systems Director, Bank of America
- Raymond Li Ling-Cheung, Executive Director of Banking Policy, Hong Kong Monetary Authority
- Cody Cain, First eCom.com
Session Two: Where will the next wave of money come from for Hong Kong’s ISP market?
Chair: Charles Mok, Chairman of the Hong Kong Internet Service Providers Association
- Mahesh Sundaram, Marketing Manager, Business Desktop Platform, Asia Pacific, Intel Corporation
- Hanson Cheah, Executive Director, AsiaTech Ventures Ltd
- Matthew Richardson–CEO Property Market Intelligence Ltd