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In Foreigners' Eyes : Collaboration key to the future of HK's creative industries

【明報專訊】THE UK and Hong Kong are both leaders in the fields of design. Strengthening ties will offer mutual economic and cultural benefits: the UK's creative economy has been the fastest growing sector in the UK for two decades, delivering over £100 billion to the economy, while Hong Kong's cultural and creative industries have been valued at HK$109.6 billion, representing around 4.5% of Hong Kong's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The growth of Hong Kong's creative goods and services sector, particularly in areas such as film, TV and Artificial Intelligence, and the enduring strength of Britain's creative industries present opportunities to innovate more through enhanced collaboration.

Creativity is the impulse to build something new, to innovate and will be a driving force in tomorrow's economy. Scientific and technological advances are essential — but it's what's done with new inventions and discoveries that's important. This is where design comes in. Design is key to building successful creative economies and is one of the biggest earning powers.

The UK is renowned as a creative nation that's great to work with. Countries across the globe are looking for creative partners, wishing to work with the most creative people and companies. For instance, at the start of this year, the UK's Department of International Trade launched "Great British Design", a yearlong campaign that will see the biggest delegation of world-famous British designers come to Hong Kong led by Sir John Sorrell and will include Thomas Heatherwick, designer of iconic structures including Hong Kong's Pacific Place, and Anya Hindmarch, fashion accessories designer with three standalone stores in Hong Kong, and creative force behind show-stopping (令人欽佩的) public art interventions such as Chubby Hearts and Weave Project. The programme of events will culminate in (以……告終)Business of Design Week (BODW) in December, where the UK is the official Partner Country.

In Hong Kong, Chief Executive Carrie Lam has placed design and the creative industries at the heart of her policy address. Through various activation campaigns, the city is making steps towards ensuring creative industries are recognised as an important economic driver that enhances capacity for innovation.

For example, it has taken a "bigger picture" approach to investment in the creative industries with links to trade which is shown through major creative events such as BODW and CENTRESTAGE which focus on trade and exports. BODW is Asia's premier design event organised by Hong Kong Design Centre, and has named the UK its official Partner Country for its 2019 edition. As part of BODW, a British architectural firm has designed a 1,000m² pavilion which will be the centrepiece of the Partner Country collaboration, inspired by the geography of the UK. The firm was the creative mind behind Hong Kong International Airport Midfield, North Satellite Concourses and West Kowloon Station.

We are living in a new age of creativity where ideas are currency and creative partnerships are key to successful growth. In the ever-evolving Hong Kong, and the ever-expanding cities of China more broadly, infrastructure and development projects require innovators and problem solvers from a variety of disciplines, ethnicities, and nationalities. Creativity and innovation thrive on diverse communities. So the UK and Hong Kong have unbelievable potential for continued high-value-added cultural and design knowledge exchange.

■By Paul McComb, Director General Trade & Investment at Department for International Trade, British Consulate General

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