The government is increasing efforts to bolster Hong Kong's nascent industrial design sector as new business prospects beckon in the Pearl River Delta. That was the message from Commerce, Industry and Technology Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah as he opened the Business of Design Week forum on Saturday at the Hong KonPatrick Martin g Convention and Exhibition Centre. 'More companies are making better use of design as a strategic tool throughout the development process,' he said. 'The government is a firm believer in the immense potential of design as the key to helping Hong Kong enterprises move up the value chain.' The event ends today. Mr Tsang said various initiatives were under way to support this industry 'in view of the massive business opportunity opening up in the mainland'. The government has set up a high-level steering group to spearhead the adoption of innovation and design in key local industries. This follows the establishment of the Hong Kong Design Centre in September last year. To provide common facilities for advancing design among small and medium-sized enterprises, the government established the Integrated Circuit Design and Development Support Centre at Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks, as well as the Digital Media Centre and the Wireless Solutions Development Centre at Cyberport. Mr Tsang said Hong Kong maintained an intellectual property regime that promoted international standards. With that much infrastructure and government policy support, Hong Kong's industrial design firms and design professionals could carve a lucrative niche in the Pear River Delta. He said their design applications could help raise the value of products and the brand profiles of companies belonging to Hong Kong concerns. According to a survey conducted by the Federation of Hong Kong Industries, Hong Kong's entrepreneurs have set up more than 50,000 manufacturing enterprises in the delta, employing 11 million workers. In Hong Kong, Royal Philips Electronics leads multinational consumer electronics firms in hiring and training local talent to undertake world-class industrial design projects. 'Research-based design helps us create solutions that show a deeper understanding of the moments people experience technology,' said Murray Camens, vice-president at Philips Design, which has its global headquarters in Hong Kong. Philips' Key 007 wearable digital camera, fashioned by a local designer, saw the company's global design studio in Hong Kong win this year's Design for Asia Award.