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THE INTERVIEW | DANIEL LAI, HONG KONG GOVERNMENT CIO

F.Y. Teng | Sept. 23, 2013
After an illustrious 45-year career in the private sector, Hong Kong's CIO opted for public service and is now leading the charge for ICT-enabled collaboration across borders and onto the Cloud.

Then there are other responsibilities that you would find very rare opportunities to learn in the private sector. One example is the work of facilitating data centre development in Hong Kong. Of course, it is nothing like building a data centre for ourselves. It is coming up with appropriate measures to attract overseas companies to set up data centres here, and facilitating their efforts here-such as helping them find land or convert buildings into data centres. We have a dedicated team providing a one-stop shop to do that work, which goes beyond facilitation and support and actually extends somewhat into marketing, promoting Hong Kong as a data centre investment destination.

Another example is in the area of Mainland collaboration, working with our counterparts in the Mainland though a Hong Kong-Guangdong cooperation framework. An instance of this is the Hong Kong/Guangdong Expert Group on Co-operation in Informatisation, which is jointly led by my counterpart in Guangdong and I, and which crafts measures that facilitate the entry of Hong Kong IT companies to the Mainland and that of Mainland companies to Hong Kong, and other collaborative efforts, such as the facilitation of mutual recognition of electronic signature certificates [that sees to the legal protection of such certificates in Hong Kong and Guangdong "within the scope of related laws and regulations"], which we completed last year.

Right now, one particular area we're particularly keen on exploring together is cloud computing-we're constantly looking for opportunities to collaborate on the cloud.

Please tell us more about what you're spearheading on the cloud front.
The government is taking the role of leader, facilitator and sponsor when it comes to the cloud. We have established an expert group on cloud services and standards. In the past year, we have done quite a bit. The response from the public, the market, has been good. We put out a call for proposals for public cloud services last year. In the middle of this year we already had a catalogue of more than 300 types of services by 40 service providers for the various agencies within government.

Another initiative is putting e-government services onto a cloud platform-essentially an infrastructure-as-a-service platform. Because this platform is more elastic, we can provide increasingly more services off it as we move forward. We have already started this.

The third initiative is creating the government cloud platform, which is a platform for shared services. This is a private cloud from which we'll be providing services to around 30 departments, and from where they can share common applications, such as human resource management, electronic information management, e-procurement and e-invoicing. We awarded the tender in March to Atos, which will be the service provider for this platform.

 

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