VICTOR Fung Kwok-king, chairman of trading house Li & Fung and the Trade Development Council, has been voted Businessman of the Year. The award, sponsored by DHL International and the South China Morning Post, is given in recognition of excellence in business. In accepting the award, Mr Fung said Hong Kong was going through a smooth and well-organised transition. Mr Fung was selected by a panel of 12 of the territory's top businessmen, chaired by Brigadier Ian Christie. The panel assessed the financial performance of the companies under the businessman's control, his overall management skills, and his contribution to the territory's development. Po Chung, chairman of DHL and a member of the panel, said Mr Fung had made major contributions to his company's development. Brig Christie said: 'Mr Fung met very clearly the demanding criteria for that category [Businessman of the Year] and was unanimously acclaimed by the judges for the award.' Mr Fung has transformed Li & Fung, Hong Kong's oldest Chinese trading company, into a multinational export trading organisation with more than 2,000 staff and a turnover of HK$6.13 billion last year. Mr Fung said he was honoured to have been chosen for the award and pledged to continue to promote Hong Kong as a world business centre through his public role as chairman of TDC and private role at Li & Fung. 'The key message I'll give to the global community is that Hong Kong will be open to [global] business to the year 2001 and to tell people that Hong Kong is going through a very well-managed and smooth transition. 'Our future challenge is to ensure that we continue to develop our skills and talent to safeguard Hong Kong's unique global position. 'The most important asset we have is our people and we must increase our investment in support of their development.' Mr Fung said he was confident Hong Kong's external trade would continue to perform well. External trade was US$310 billion last year and he expected this year's figure to rise 20 per cent. The greatest challenge he perceived was the acquisition of Inchcape Buying Services by his company in July. He said Inchcape Buying Services would contribute profit in three years.