Hong Kong - Country Commercial Guide
ICT & Smart Cities

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country.  Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2022-01-20

Overview

 

2018

2019

2020

Jan-May 2021

Total Imports 

157,262

151,989

168,075

83,816

Total Exports 

132,614

135,102

153,094

78,970

Imports from U.S. 

2,182

1,742

2,029

1,035

Exchange Rates 

7.8

7.8

7.8

7.8

Units: USD million

Data Source: Hong Kong Census & Statistics Department

(Since there is not an agreed-upon definition of “smart cities”, and because there is considerable overlap regarding features from various types of machinery and products, market statistics for this sector are, at best, rough approximations.)

Hong Kong has a world-class information technology (IT) network infrastructure, and Hong Kong’s telecommunications sector has no restrictions on foreign ownership or limits to the number of market operators. According to the Hong Kong government, the mobile subscriber penetration rate is 283 percent, with the average peak internet connection speed at 129.5Mbps. The Hong Kong government continues to invest multiple millions of dollars in developing its IT infrastructure and provides incentive programs for enterprises in Hong Kong through organizations, such as the Innovation and Technology Fund, Hong Kong Productivity Council, etc.

The Hong Kong government attaches great importance to smart city development.  While companies should consider whether activities could inadvertently support authoritarian practices, there are still many smart city opportunities in Hong Kong that could improve quality of life for residents. In December 2020, the Hong Kong government released the Smart City Blueprint 2.0, which outlines a wide range of proposals for smart city development. The Hong Kong government is also investing in research and development centers focused on robotics and artificial intelligence with a goal to develop Hong Kong into an innovative smart city leader. Its current strong IT infrastructure, coupled with cloud computing and big data analytics, could enable real-time and efficient information processing that could make the city “smarter,” effectively managing new and potential challenges. The Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks (HKSTP) is the largest research & development base in Hong Kong. HKSTP provides a range of value-added services and support programs, such as access to early-stage investment/technology and business expansion, to drive innovation and nurture talents.

According to the Asia Cloud Computing Association’s Cloud Readiness Index 2020, Hong Kong was ranked first among cities in Asia. The outbreak of COVID-19 has boosted the usage of internet, mobile devices, and other virtual activities. Alongside with these changes, information security, as well as protection of personal data, are rising concerns to the local market.

Leading Sub-Sectors

  • Digital transformation solutions
  • Cloud Computing
  • Data Analytic solutions
  • Internet of Things (IoT)

Opportunities

Digital transformation solutions: As the pandemic continues to affect markets around the globe, many companies are speeding up their adaptability to manage the effects on their operations and workplaces. Companies are making the transition to telecommuting to maintain workforce productivity, create flexibility for their workforce, and firms are increasing their technological readiness to cope with these necessities.

This shift in working models has led to increased demand for hybrid-working solutions, such as laptops, monitors, video-conferencing tools, cloud-based collaboration applications, virtual desktop enablement, interoperability between enterprise IT systems, etc. With more business activities going virtual, digital transformation is of great importance for enterprises to keep organizations up and running. High-speed broadband connectivity is required to facilitate daily operations and to fulfill digital needs to maintain connectivity with their clients during the period of reduced human interactions and business travel. 

Cloud Computing: Gartner, a leading IT research company, estimates that the global percentage of remote workers will increase from 17 percent of employees worldwide in 2019 to 32 percent by the end of 2021. The increase in the number of remote workers requires companies to provide solutions that can adapt to a hybrid workplace. The adoption of cloud technologies is also increasing.

Data Analytic solutions: According to a report by Gartner, the overall analytics and business intelligence software market grew by 10.4 percent to US$24.8 billion in 2019. Modern business intelligence platforms continue to be the fastest-growing segment at 17.9 percent. Moreover, the pandemic accelerated the rise of digital economy. Companies in Hong Kong, Macau, and elsewhere in the region are more willing to make investments to upgrade their IT capabilities to enhance customer experience and loyalty, while improving efficiency and accuracy, as part of their digital transformation journey. This trend of digital transformation leads to opportunity of increasing use of data analytics solutions that help organizations harness their data and utilize the data to make decisions faster and better through the ability to analyze a large amount of data and information immediately.

Internet of Things: According to KPMG’s Global Technology Innovation Center, Internet of Things (IoT) is the top technology in which technology companies are currently investing, with plans to continue this investment in the coming years. IoT technologies play a critical role in smart city development. With the recent launch of 5G mobile communications network services in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong government also encourages the deployment of 5G projects through a range of different approaches, such as subsidies for encouraging early adoption of 5G and public education programs, etc. U.S. companies with innovative and mature solutions could tap into these business opportunities.

Resources

Major Trade Shows/Events: 

HKTDC International ICT Expo

This is a tradeshow organized by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council featuring the latest IT development in Hong Kong and providing network opportunities for international attendees. More industry information could be found at HKTDC’s website.

Associations: 
Hong Kong Information Technology Federation Ltd. 
Smart City Consortium 

Hong Kong Government Agencies:
Innovation and Technology Bureau, HKSAR Government
Office of Communications Authority, HKSAR Government 
Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data
 

U.S. Government Agencies:

U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security

U.S. Department of State – Business and Travel information in Hong Kong and Macau

 

For more information about this industry sector, please contact:

U.S. Commercial Service, Hong Kong

Boris Meyer, Commercial Specialist

Email: boris.meyer@trade.gov