THE South China Morning Post 's involvement in the life of Hong Kong has straddled almost all of the 20th century. Now it is geared up to enter the 21st century with gusto. With the opening of its new Tai Po headquarters, the newspaper is ready to move into the next century as it began the last - committed to the future. After 92 years as a powerful voice for progress, the Post has invested in further growth and expansion that will carry its editorial and advertising messages to an increasingly wider audience in Hong Kong, China and Asia. It is an expression of confidence as we move into a new era of challenge and change, through the end of the period of British rule and into the era of Hong Kong as part of China. But first and foremost, it is an expression of confidence in the strength of the newspaper as an independent organ of news and opinion. It was an audacious decision to invest $670 million in brand-new plant, facilities and the most up-to-date technology at Tai Po and at the company's city editorial offices in Quarry Bay. But it was a boldness born of an unshakeable belief in the company's ability to maintain the newspaper as the best English-language daily in the region. However, what is planned is not simply more of the same. A new financial daily and a new China edition of the Post are exciting possibilities for the future. The extra capacity already installed at Tai Po and the room provided for additional printing presses there will permit the company eventually to achieve a circulation on the mainland to match that in Hong Kong. There is space and technology, too, for a move into new magazines and other publications. The new plant's position in the northern New Territories, close to the border with China, will be a great advantage in distributing the paper on the mainland in the years to come. Yet, because of Hong Kong's small size, it will not affect the company's ability to distribute the Post to its traditional readership in the territory. The company has provided the new plant and the vision to use it productively. Its top editorial and production teams have the skill and determination to meet the challenge of making the vision a reality. The Post believes in the future prosperity of Hong Kong and China and the dynamism of the region. It plans to share in that prosperity and has committed itself to a leading role in building it.