On behalf of the International Telecommunication Union, its 189 member states and members from our industry, it gives me great pleasure to invite you to Busan (Republic of Korea) and ITU TELECOM ASIA 2004.
Since our last regional ASIA event was held in Hong Kong, China, in 2002, the ICT industry within the Asia-Pacific region has been characterized by steady levels of growth and ongoing development of cutting-edge new products and services. The region has truly cemented its position as a communications powerhouse, be it in terms of broadband Internet, next generation mobile, manufacturing or services.
Asia-Pacific tops the global league in terms of broadband penetration, and has also witnessed a healthy uptake of IMT-2000 mobile services. Indeed, the Asia-Pacific region has become a byword for technical innovation, with products and services such as VoIP, Wi-Fi, online gaming, wireless and fixed wireless providing just some examples as to how this progressive region has lead the way in ICT terms.
A region as huge and diverse as the Asia-Pacific region is, on the one hand, at the forefront of technical innovation, spearheading the rollout of the latest technologies. On the other hand, however, a significant proportion of countries within the Asia-Pacific region are still struggling to provide affordable telecommunications services to their citizens.
Our ASIA 2004 event will provide an unrivalled set of opportunities for visitors and participants to discover and examine the types of technology that are driving growth across the region. Meanwhile the Forum will delve deeper into the factors behind the region's ICT growth, and will address key areas relating to ICT development. In particular, it will explore the kinds of technology that can be used, for example, to reach the millions of people that are still unreached and to narrow the gap between the least and most developed countries within this region.
Under the theme "Asia Leading the Future" ASIA 2004 will seek to provide a platform to explore, debate and shape the future direction of the region.
Thank you for joining us. I hope your experience at ASIA 2004 will be an enjoyable and beneficial one.