Is Hong Kong still the springboard to the Pearl River Delta

This question is directed to outside designers who come the the Pearl River Delta (PRD) for manufacturing (not northern China).

Is Hong still a important in your visits to manufacturers? If the answer is yes or no, why is this so?

I ask this because in the early 90’s I would stay in hotels in Hong Kong and travel into the PRD to visit factories. Now I often see my friends at the beginning or ending of their trip using Hong Kong as a cultural decompression zone. Other friends go straight into the PRD and miss Hong Kong all together.

Tim, Agree with you that in the past HK was essential. I think now because of other gateways ,such as Guangzhou’s huge airport, anything on the Western part of PRD avoids HK - no one needs the traffic between HK and Shunde or Foshan. Also if we are in Northern China I’d prefer to fly into Shenzhen or GZ or Zhuhai to avoid cross border delays. Most companies also avoid agents these days (margins too tight) which use to be a reason to be in HK as they were based there. A tradeshow, part of a tour with a client, see family and friends are the only reason for us to be in HK.

Hi Timf,

Honestly I feel as time goes by HK will become less and less important in the china equation.

When I plan my trip, i only go to HK if i need to vist my head office or see my friends, otherwise its direct to Guang Zhou.

Furthermore its faster to GZ as you dont have the ferry issues, and the trip from the HK airport. I get picked up at the GZ airport and its direct to the factory. Just that the road trip is bumpy.

But as the amenities in china get better, its by past hk all the way.

I would say that HK is still important to our trips not for travel but future litigation. We will have factory directors meet us in HK so that when we make written agreements on anything to do with the manufacturing process we can use HK law to pursue the factory if the terms are not met.

Design coterie,

Good point. As long as hong Kong has “rule of law” instead of “rule of man” it will have some importance.

Another legal thing that the Hong Kong company that I worked for did was to get Hong Kong utility and design patents. Why you may ask? So they could go to Hong Kong trade shows and have copiers products removed from the show. Really helped reduce the number of copies making there way out of China.

I just got back from doing the Shenzhen/Dongguan circuit. I flew into HK and jumped on a door-to-door bus to my hotel in SZ. The hotel is 5 stars and probably 50% cheaper than a HK hotel. I took the TurboJet ferry directly back to HK at the end of the trip. Now that the infrastructure is decent in China there typically isn’t any reason to go into HK.

Having said that, I did in fact go into HK for a brief showroom meeting and dinner. In and out the same day. That’s usually the exception - not the rule. The showroom meeting could have taken place at their factory in Dongguan. It was a matter of scheduling.

I go to HK less and less every year. Don’t get me wrong, I like the shopping and food, but the cost of a visit is pretty steep and everything is improving in SZ. That wasn’t the case 10 - 15 years ago!!!

I see the new Venetian Hotel in Macau is trying to poach visitors to the HK Giftware Show next month by staging a parallel giftware show in their convention center. That should fragment the trade show scene even more every October:

  • Canton Fair
  • HK Show
  • Macau Show

Don’t know if this is the case of not, but I can tell you a few years ago, there was a wave of people from Hong Kong moving up here (mainland) and studying Chinese. Suppose this could be interpreted as a "sign of times. With that said, those guys have a long way to go in terms of understanding the mainland compared to those who simply set up base here right from the start. Of course, for a civiized environment, I don’t see the mainland beating out Hong Kong until very, very, very far into the future (maybe never).