Hong Kong's focus on advanced manufacturing

Advanced manufacturing involves using innovative tech like robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things and 3D printing to make production more efficient

Hong Kong's focus on advanced manufacturing
Researchers showcase the transparency of intelligent textiles, which integrate Polymeric Optical Fibres (POF), a material commonly found in the medical and automotive industries, with yarn, at their lab, in Hong Kong, China June 5, 2023. REUTERS/Joyce Zhou

The backstory: Advanced manufacturing involves using innovative tech like robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things and 3D printing to make production more efficient. Most people think it’s crucial when it comes to developing advanced technologies like semiconductors and electric vehicles (EVs).

Because Hong Kong doesn’t have a lot of land to spare, it’s not super big on traditional manufacturing. In fact, manufacturing typically makes up less than 1% of the city’s GDP. But advanced manufacturing doesn’t take up as much space, so Hong Kong is a good match for ramping up this industry. It’s also ideal because of its world-class talent and access to China and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. 

Last year, Hong Kong's economy contracted by 3.5%. But, Chief Executive John Lee laid out plans to give the economy a boost by attracting more businesses and talent.

More recently: In August, Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po announced that over 25 tech companies were gearing up to expand in Hong Kong, initially expected to invest HK$17 billion (US$2.2 billion) and bring 4,000 jobs to the city. In October, the government said it would set aside HK$10 billion in funds for emerging industries, including advanced manufacturing.

Hong Kong is becoming a go-to spot for tech companies, especially in the chip industry. In October, J2 Semiconductor threw HK$6.9 billion (US$883.5 million) into the ring to set up a global research and development (R&D) center and wafer fabrication facility in the city. Then in November, Black Sesame Technologies said it planned to set up its own R&D center in Hong Kong Science Park. Horizon Robotics has also said it will invest HK$3 billion (US$383 million) in Hong Kong over the next five years.

The development: This week, InvestHK held an Advanced Manufacturing Forum, where Hong Kong officials emphasized their commitment to the industry. Sun Dong, Secretary for Innovation, Technology and Industry, stressed the importance of integrating advanced manufacturing into the city for technological growth. Sun also said boosting Hong Kong’s advanced manufacturing sector is a top priority for the government and revealed plans for new development offices in 2024, specifically focused on advancing the city’s industrialization efforts, including research in advanced manufacturing.

 Key comments: 

“Over the past year, we have been working closely with [Hong Kong’s] Office for Attracting Strategic Enterprises in attracting strategic investments from top-notch mainland and overseas R&D companies, including in semiconductors and new energy vehicles, to set up or expand businesses in Hong Kong,” said Sun Dong, Hong Kong’s Secretary for Innovation, Technology and Industry.

“They will soon see the advantages brought by the clustering of these enterprises with [the city’s] advanced manufacturing industry, as well as its overall IT development,” said Sun.

“We’re seeing AI, data, advanced manufacturing, new energy – all these are the initiatives and directions of how we want to develop I&T to leverage the strength of Hong Kong,” said Chairman of the Productivity Council Sunny Tan in October.