Launches Voice

[Hong Kong, 16 May 02] The trade portal of Trade Development Council (TDC), launched a new voice edition ( today (May 16) to enable special user groups to get access to trade information and news on global markets more easily.

With up to 3 million hits per day, is Asia's premier online business resource hub with a rich pool of timely market intelligence and practical trade information. Due to time and resource constraint, some information (especially that on China trade) is only available in Chinese text, which may not be fully enjoyed by all users.

TDC's Deputy Executive Director, Anna Lai said: "With the launch of the voice edition, foreign business people like Indian traders and overseas Chinese, who can only listen but not read the Chinese language can enjoy more of the portal's content. As a corporate citizen, TDC also takes the initiative to facilitate visually or literately impaired people to get access to the latest news by using our voice edition."

TDC voice edition

Picture shows TDC Deputy Executive Director Anna Lai (right), Chief Executive Officer of inc. Lawrence Mo (left) and immediate past Chairman of the Indian Chamber of Commerce Hong Kong Raj Sital (middle) launch the voice edition of

"In addition, users in any part of the world, without computer and internet facilities at their fingertips can dial 852-1830600 to listen to's webcast highlights," Mrs Lai added.

With the pioneering voice edition, users can now listen to information under different topics:

  • China Trade
  • SME Highlights
  • Industry News
  • Webcast Highlights
  • Business Alert – China
  • Economic and Business Trends in China
  • SME News Flash

Born and raised in Hong Kong, the ex-Chairman of the Indian Chamber of Commerce Hong Kong and Director of Style Asia Limited, Raj Sital finds the voice edition very useful. He represents the new generation of Indians residing in Hong Kong who can speak fluent Cantonese but cannot read the Chinese characters.

He said: "The voice edition will definitely benefit members of our community and the chamber, especially those businessmen who are not formally educated in Chinese but need to get access to China trade information."

According to the statistics from the Indian Chamber of Commerce, there are approximately 28,000 Indians residing in Hong Kong and 575 of them are members of the chamber.

Visually or literately impaired people will also benefit from the voice edition. According to a survey done by the Census and Statistics Department in 2000, there were a total of 73,900 people with seeing difficulty in Hong Kong. Among them, 9,600 were employed in different sectors such as manufacturing, wholesale, retail, import/export, finance, insurance, real estate, business services, communication and others. 1,600 of them were managers, administrators, professionals and associate professionals.

The Division Head (Rehabilitation) of the Hong Kong Society for the Blind, Fred Leung said: "Visually impaired people especially the young generation now use the computer and surf the internet regularly in workplaces, for studies or information search. TDC's initiative to launch the voice edition will, to some extent, help them enjoy the useful content on the portal."

The software is developed by, a winner of IT Excellence Awards 2001. Its Chief Executive Officer, Lawrence Mo said: "This is the first time a website offers content in high quality machine voice with a selection of 3 languages – Cantonese, Putonghua and English. Through the 'text-to-speech' engine installed on the server, users can listen to a variety of news on instantly."

Mr Mo continued: "There are a lot of advantages in this engine. First, it allows instant conversion of any text on a website into machine voice so that users can listen to the latest news with no delay. Second, it saves cost as there is no need to arrange recording of human voice reading lengthy text. It's also very convenient for the users as they do not need to pre-install any additional software to use the voice edition. Any computer installed with standard browser and sound system will do."