4 November 1997

Miss Choy So Yuk
Provisional Legislative Councilor
Legislative Council Building
8 Jackson Road
Hong Kong

Dear Miss Choy,

In reply to your letter dated 23 October 1997, the British Computer Society (Hong Kong Section) would like to give the following views and suggestions on the future information technology development as set out in the Chief Executive's 1997 Policy Address.

Information Technology Coordination

We support the direction of regrouping several bureaus to be led by one Bureau Secretary to coordinate all areas of information technology. However, we wish that someone with substantial management experience in information technology will be appointed this important position. Please note that IT covers a broad spectrum of computer related business, professional bodies, computer education, and telecommunications. The scope may be too complex for an administrative officer to manage. It is ideal if an information technology professional is being appointed, but someone with solid managerial experience in IT could be a good compromise.

Information Technology in Education

We are delighted to see the huge investment made by the Government although it is a bit late. It is no doubt that the investment will improve the standard of our primary and secondary education. However, we wish that the investment will also serve the purpose of cheering up our local information technology business.

With this kind of huge investment, the Government often award a single contract to a large computer supplier (usually foreign company) from an open tender, in order to negotiate for a good deal. In this situation, we can foresee the following potential problems:

Lengthy negotiation between the Government and the supplier may not end up with a win-win situation but a loss-loss situation. The supplier may accept the very low margin at the expense of the support service, while the inexperienced school teachers are in need of the after sale service.

  1. Like seafood, computer price fluctuates a lot. A good deal today may not be as good tomorrow.

  2. Each school has its unique requirement, in terms of hardware and software configuration. A single contract with one supplier may provide little flexibility to the school teachers.

  3. Due to the readiness of computer rooms and power supply, they may require very different delivery time. We must prevent the situation where the computers are kept in the store room before the classroom is ready, ended up with computers being obsolete.

We urge the Government to fund the schools to purchase their own computer equipment, under a central direction and guideline in selecting suppliers and computer configurations, for the following reasons:

  1. Train the school teachers to purchase and manage their own equipment.

  2. Encourage small to medium local companies to compete for the business. It will motivate the companies to source more variety of hardware and software equipment at competitive price. They will serve the school teachers to gain reputation for repeating business from the same or other schools.

  3. The growth of local computer vendors will encourage more people to invest in information technology business, resulting in more rapid growth of using IT. The Government has not done enough to support the local computer business. Information technology education can be a good starting point.

Thank you again for inviting us to submit our suggestions and we look forward to meeting you on 28 November 1997 to present our views to the Panel.

Yours sincerely,
British Computer Society (Hong Kong Section)
Kenneth Lau
Vice Chairman

Last Updated on 7 December 1997