Business / Economy

HK plans to rejuvenate industrial estates

By Deng Yanzi (China Daily) Updated: 2015-09-22 09:48

Hong Kong plans to rejuvenate its flagship industrial estates to attract more modern and specialized types of manufacturing, said Allen Ma Kam-sing, chief executive of Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation.

The first phase is likely to see the building of more multi-story factory buildings by 2020, he said, ahead of the 2015 International Association of Science Parks and Areas of Innovation World Conference to be held in Beijing from Tuesday to Friday.

The plan will prioritize high value-added tenants involved in industries such as advanced robotics, pharmaceuticals and biomedical devices, said Ma.

His corporation runs three major industrial estates, in Tai Po, Yuen Long and Tseung Kwan O, which have already updated their policies to attract more technology-based tenants.

"It's not the return of labor-intensive production, but rather modern manufacturing fueled by science and technology," said Ma.

"This will create new industries and job opportunities throughout the advanced manufacturing value chain."

Ma underlined Hong Kong's advantages as being its strong technology infrastructure, its rule of law and its system of intellectual property protection.

Economist Ken Davies wrote a commentary on such a subject in China Daily in April.

"The expansion of existing sectors such as finance, construction and tourism can play their part in creating more job opportunities, but what would make a real difference would be the development of a modern industrial sector," Davies wrote.

Ma said he believed that re-industrialization, powered by innovation and technology, is the remedy for what he called Hong Kong's "dangerous" reliance on finance and real estate, after the hollowing-out of its traditional manufacturing industries.

In the 1980s, many Hong Kong industrialists were encouraged to relocate their manufacturing bases to the Chinese mainland by lower land and labor costs, particularly in the Pearl River Delta region.

As mainland costs have risen, however, a large number of companies have started moving their production back to Hong Kong.

Research by the Federation of Hong Kong Industries released in February revealed the number of surviving Hong Kong-funded manufacturers in the PRD had fallen by over 40 percent since its peak in 2006 to 32,000 in 2013.

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