Findings of the "Household Survey on IT Usage and Penetration" and the "Annual Survey on IT Usage and Penetration in the Business Sector" for 2008 released
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     The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) releases today (December 18) findings of the two surveys on the usage and penetration of information technology (IT) in Hong Kong conducted during May to September 2008 on households and business establishments respectively.  The Household Survey focused on IT penetration amongst households and IT usage amongst household members, and the Establishment Survey focused on the patterns of IT usage and penetration amongst business establishments.

     According to the results of the Household Survey, personal computers (PCs) and Internet connections were very common in households.  Some 1,710,100 households, or 74.6% of all domestic households in Hong Kong, had PCs at home in 2008.  Amongst those households with PCs at home, some 1,625,700 (95.1%) had their PCs connected to the Internet, representing 70.9% of all domestic households in Hong Kong.  This represented a slight increase when compared to the situation in 2007.

     The usage of PCs and Internet services was also prevalent amongst persons aged 10 and over in Hong Kong.  The 2008 survey revealed that some 4,221,600 persons aged 10 and over, or 68.2% of all persons in that age group, had used PCs at least once in the twelve months before the survey.  The rates of using PCs were higher amongst younger persons, better-educated persons and students.

     In 2008, some 4,123,900 persons aged 10 and over, or 66.7% of all persons in that age group, had used Internet service in the twelve months before the survey via various media including PCs, Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) phones and Personal Digital Assistants (PDA).

     Utilisation of electronic business services was also high amongst people in Hong Kong.  About 98.0% of all persons aged 15 and over had used electronic business services of one form or another for personal matters in the twelve months before the survey, which was broadly the same when compared to the situation in 2007 (98.2%).  The electronic business services covered in the Household Survey included the use of Octopus card, Automatic Teller Machine (ATM), Easy Pay System (EPS), Payment by Phone Service (PPS), online searching for financial information/information on goods and services/information on job vacancies, etc.

     Regarding the usage of online purchasing services, the 2008 survey estimated that around 597,700 persons aged 15 and over, or 10.3% of all persons in that age group, had used one or more types of online purchasing services for personal matters in the twelve months before the survey, which was broadly the same when compared to the situation in 2007 (576,800 persons and 10.1%).

     Uses of online Government services and browsing of Government websites via Internet service were also more common.  In the twelve months before the 2008 survey, 2 418,400 persons aged 10 and over, or 39.1% of all persons in that age group, had used online Government services for handling personal matters.   In addition, amongst persons aged 10 and over who had used Internet service via non-mobile web device, 43.5% within the group (or 1,736,600 persons) had browsed Government websites/searched for or downloaded Government information online, representing an increase of 1.2 percentage points from 2007.

     According to the Establishment Survey, IT usage in the business sector has stabilised in recent years.  The percentage of establishments using PCs was 63.1% in 2008, representing a marginal decrease of 0.7 percentage point when compared with 2007.  Meanwhile, the percentage of establishments having Internet connection was 58.8% in 2008.  The corresponding figure in 2007 was 59.8%.  

     Analysed by size of the establishments, 99.1% of large establishments, 91.7% of medium establishments and 58.4% of small establishments were using PCs in 2008.  The corresponding figures for 2007 were 99.1%, 88.3% and 59.8% respectively.  Besides, 95.3% of large establishments, 85.1% of medium establishments and 54.4% of small establishments had Internet connection in 2008, as against 93.3%, 82.8% and 56.1% respectively in 2007.

     Amongst the major sectors, PCs were most popularly used in establishments in the financing, insurance, real estate and business services sector (84.0%) and the wholesale, retail and import and export trades, restaurants and hotels sector (65.8%).  The percentage of establishments with Internet connection also ranked the top in these two sectors, at 79.9% and 62.3% respectively.

     In 2008, 19.3% of the establishments had webpages or websites, being 1.1 percentage points higher than the figure in 2007.  The percentage was much higher for large establishments (75.3%) than medium establishments (45.0%) and small establishments (14.5%).  All establishments having webpages/websites provided information about their own establishments and the products and services they offered on their webpages/websites.

     In the twelve months before enumeration, 59.5% of the establishments had undertaken business activities through electronic means, which was broadly the same as the corresponding figure in 2007 (59.3%).  Analysed by type of the e-business activities conducted, receipt of goods, services or information through electronic means was the most common, followed by delivery of goods, services or information through electronic means.  Electronic means included Internet, interactive response system through telephone lines/mobile telecommunications network and designated private network.

     In 2008, 58.9% of the establishments had received goods, services or information through electronic means, slightly up by 0.6 percentage point over 2007.  In the Establishment Survey, goods received through electronic means were only confined to those products that could be transmitted through electronic media, such as software packages and songs.  Browsing information on the Internet was also regarded as receiving information through electronic means.

     About 19.4% of establishments had delivered their goods, services or information through electronic means in 2008, being 1.1 percentage points higher than that in 2007.

     The total amount of business receipts from selling goods, services or information through electronic means in 2007 was estimated at HK$98.3 billion, representing a significant increase of 51.4% over the corresponding figure of HK$64.9 billion in 2006.

Commentary

     A Government spokesman commented that Hong Kong has maintained its position as one of the leading digital cities with PC penetration and Internet service usage at a consistently high level.  Since the penetration and usage of PC and Internet amongst households are already at a high level, they have more or less stabilised. Nevertheless, there is an increase in the use of technology and e-government services by the public.  

     The survey also revealed that both PC usage and Internet usage in the business sector remain stable.  Amongst the major sectors, the high PC and Internet penetration rates in the financing, insurance, real estate and business services sector underscore the importance of leveraging IT to sustain the competitiveness of Hong Kong's key economic sectors.  In 2007, Hong Kong registered a rapid growth of 51.4% in monetary terms in the business receipts from selling goods, services or information through electronic means.  Other e-commerce activities such as receipt/delivery of goods, services or information through electronic means in the business sector had also shown a slight increase over the past year.  

     The Government will continue to collaborate with industry/professional bodies and non-government organisations in facilitating business sectors, especially the small and medium enterprises (SMEs), to exploit the full potential and benefits of IT so as to improve their competitiveness. Since launched in 2004, we have sponsored fourteen projects under the Sector-specific Programme (SSP) targeting ten business sectors at upgrading the technology awareness and adoption of SMEs.  Eight of the fourteen SSPs in sectors of travel agencies, medical and health, drugstores, logistics, accounting and beauty service were completed.  The other six SSPs aiming at driving the adoption of more advanced applications and improving the productivity of SMEs in trade, social service, watches and clocks, medical and health, beauty service, and supply chain sectors are expected to be completed by end 2009.

Background information

     The Household Survey was based on a scientific sample of households that represent the population of Hong Kong.  The survey successfully enumerated some 10,000 households, within which some 27,000 persons aged 10 and over were interviewed.

     The Establishment Survey was based on a sample of some 5,400 establishments covering all industry sectors except the agriculture and fishing sector and the mining and quarrying sector.  Specifically, the following industry sectors were covered: manufacturing; electricity and gas; construction; wholesale, retail and import and export trades, restaurants and hotels; transport, storage and communications; financing, insurance, real estate and business services; and community, social and personal services.

     The establishments were categorised according to their employment size as at end-March 2008 into large, medium and small establishments.  Large establishments referred to establishments engaging 100 or more persons for the manufacturing sector, and those engaging 50 or more persons for other industry sectors.  Small establishments referred to those engaging less than 10 persons for all sectors.  The others were regarded as medium establishments.

     Since results of the surveys are subject to both sampling and non-sampling errors, care should be taken in comparing the 2007 and 2008 figures, as a minor difference might not necessarily be statistically significant.

     More detailed results of the Household Survey and the Establishment Survey are set out in the "Thematic Household Survey Report No. 37: Information Technology Usage and Penetration" and the "Report on 2008 Annual Survey on Information Technology Usage and Penetration in the Business Sector" respectively.  The two reports are both in bilingual form.

     The publications are now available for download (in PDF format) free of charge from the website of the Census and Statistics Department (www.censtatd.gov.hk/products_and_services/products/publications/index.jsp).  The print version of these publications will be available for sale in end January 2009 at HK$160 per copy for the Household Survey Report and at HK$74 per copy for the Establishment Survey Report.  They can be purchased in the following ways:

* purchase in person at the Publications Unit of the C&SD (Address: 19/F, Wanchai Tower, 12 Harbour Road, Wan Chai; Tel.: 2582 3025).  

* through mail order by returning a completed order form which can be downloaded from the C&SD's website (www.censtatd.gov.hk/products_and_services/other_services/provision_of_stat/mail_ordering_of_publications/index.jsp).

* purchase online at the Government Bookstore of the Information Services Department (www.bookstore.gov.hk).

     The attached tables summarise the key results of the two surveys.  A summary of the results of the two surveys is also available on the "Digital 21" website (www.digital21.gov.hk).  Enquiries about the results of the Household Survey and the Establishment Survey should be directed to the Social Surveys Section (Tel: 2887 5103) and the Science and Technology Statistics Section of the C&SD (Tel: 2887 5559) respectively.

Ends/Thursday, December 18, 2008
Issued at HKT 16:31

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