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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Territory-wide network of public kiosks marks
the full implementation of electronic service delivery

A core initiative in the Government's Digital 21 strategy

(19 Jan, 2001, Hong Kong) ESDlife (www.esdlife.com), the first mega portal integrating both government and personal services, is in full strength, with the launch of public kiosks located throughout Hong Kong. In addition to PC, Hong Kong citizens can now access to an extensive choice and range of government and personal services provided by ESDlife through public kiosk anytime, anywhere.

The launch of electronic public services is a milestone in the Government's Digital 21 Information Technology strategy that brings innovation and convenience to the community and cultivates the local information technology environment as a means of catalyzing e-commerce in Hong Kong.

"Today, we are very pleased to witness the official launch of ESDlife after a year of hard work," said Canning Fok, group managing director of Hutchison Whampoa Limited at the official launch ceremony today. "Having won the government tender for the "Electronic Service Delivery" Scheme in November 1999, we've been working closely with various government departments and agencies in design and development of ESD infrastructure, as well as promotion and education programs of the scheme. We will continue to work hand in hand with the government for migrating more public services online and developing new delivery channels."

"Since the launch of ESDlife web site in December 2000, we have recorded an impressive figure of over one million visits. We are confident the launch of public kiosks will ensure ESDlife is widely accepted by the citizens of Hong Kong, " added Canning Fok.

In conjunction with the launch of ESDlife Internet version last month, public kiosks are now available at convenient locations around town, such as MTR and KCR stations, Park'N Shop supermarkets, major shopping malls, government buildings, cultural and exhibition centres. The network of public kiosks allows people to use ESDlife applications anytime, anywhere.

Well-equipped and easy to operate, each kiosk is web-connected and incorporates a printer, a scanner and a keyboard supporting Chinese & English word processing. It is also equipped with interactive touch screen, Chinese writing pad, e-cert smart card reader, payment card reader and additional touch pad specially designed for the physically handicapped.

ESDlife can also be accessed through any Internet-connected PC at home, in the workplace or in public areas such as community halls, libraries, post offices or cyber caf. A number of community cyber points are equipped with special facilities for the blind and visually impaired.

ESDlife is a dedicated platform offering government services to the community of Hong Kong. By integrating a host of commercial activities, it provides citizens with a convenient one-stop shop service that meets their daily needs. The first phase of the scheme covers over 60 public services and provides information from various government departments and public agencies. It covers advanced booking services, registration of personal documentation, payment of government bills, change of personal data stored in government archives, documents submission, and how to looking up government-related information and so forth.

ESDlife also offers access to the most up-to-date information on leisure, shopping, culture, entertainment, health and education. Seven ESD clubs, namely ESDbaby, ESDkids, ESDteens, ESD1822, ESDcouples, ESDprime and ESDseniors serve different sectors of the community and people of all ages. ESDlife has worked with various business partners to better serve the needs of the community. Recently, for example, ESDlife has secured exclusive partnership with Ticketek to offer ticketing services for concerts and other entertainment programmes.

ESDlife actively promotes education too. Through its co-operation with the University of Science & Technology and eEd Vision, ESDlife provides on-line learning opportunities for the e-business Certificate Courses for executives. ESDlife has also provided distance-learning courses from Global University Alliance, which provides accredited university courses from the US, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

ESDlife provides a number of secure electronic payment methods, including credit card, debit card and smart card, all allowing convenient and flexible settlement of government bills and other commercial service fees. ESDlife uses the most advanced SET and SSL Internet encryption technologies as well as the authorized e-Cert issued by Hongkong Post to ensure full protection of personal data privacy. ESDlife service can be accessed from public kiosks using a smart card embedded with Hongkong Post e-cert, adding convenience to citizens.

ESDlife also caters to the needs of special groups in society. The Virtual Vision task force was a key initiative in this respect. It gathered the opinions of a number of organizations working with the physically handicapped and visually impaired organizations to ensure ESDlife match the specific needs of these members of the community. The ESDlife portal is translatable by braille devices and text description is provided for visual or graphic elements, so that all icons, colour and text are as user-friendly as possible to the blind. To help the blind and visually impaired fully utilize IT resources, ESDlife has produced braille leaflets and audio tapes offering guidance on how to use the portal.

ESDlife will launch additional innovative services in the second half of the year. Targeted services include: booking of public sports facilities; setting up of on-line bookshops for purchasing Government publications; registration for public examinations; purchasing syllabuses and past examination papers from the Hong Kong Examination Authority; booking marriage registration dates; and enhancement of business registration procedures.

ESDlife is operated by ESD Services Limited, a joint venture between Hutchison Global Crossing Limited and Compaq Computer Limited. Having been granted the government tender for the "Electronic Service Delivery" Scheme in November 1999, the Company is dedicated to providing a one-stop shop environment for public and commercial electronic services via the establishment of a vast digital information infrastructure.

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For media enquiries, please contact:
ESD Services Limited
Sally Tsang, Public Relations Manager
Tel:2128 6708
Fax:2187 2055