In the 1970s, Hong Kong was a manufacturing powerhouse churning out everything from toy trains to microchips. Over the 1980s and 90s, the factories migrated north into Mainland China.
In recent years, the Hong Kong SAR Government has been actively promoting re-industrialisation through science and technology, adding impetus to Hong Kong's future economic development.
Many Hong Kong SMEs are eager to use innovative technology to improve production efficiency and become the pioneers of the new generation of “Made in Hong Kong”.
To help SMEs further reshape operating models and draw on the Hong Kong SAR Government’s reindustrialisation policy, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) Research Department held a webinar From Logistics to Healthcare: Hong Kong Manufacturing Revitalises.
SMEs shared insights and experiences, while an Innovation and Technology Commission (ITC) representative explained details of the New Industrialisation Funding Scheme.
Terry Chiu saw an opportunity in the post-COVID reordering of supply chains and founded Easy Health International in 2019, specialising in health-care product OEM, packaging and logistics business, helping health-product distributors and medical and pharmaceutical companies cope with logistics challenges.
As the global logistics market gradually returns to normal, the company has also ushered in further growth opportunities and is making plans to explore the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and overseas markets.
Opting for health food to enhance immunity is a common preventive tactic in Chinese medicine.
He believed there was great potential for health food production and processing in Hong Kong because many local companies as well as clinics and health centres hoped to launch customised own-brand health foods to meet market needs. OEM production services are also beneficial to start-ups and trading companies.
After entering the health field, “our business has successfully transformed from logistics packaging to OEM manufacturing and brand development, aiming to help Hong Kong brands expand into the Greater Bay Area and overseas markets with the aura of ‘Made in Hong Kong’.”
To support manufacturers transforming into smart producers in Hong Kong, the ITC of the Hong Kong SAR Government allocated funds under the Innovation and Technology Fund to launch the New Industrialisation Funding Scheme.
Crystal Yan, Innovation and Technology Fund Manager, said: “We will subsidise eligible companies to open new production lines in Hong Kong on a government and company matching basis.”
If a project or a large part of it meets the “smart production” criteria, it can receive a subsidy capped at one-third of the total expenditure of the approved project, or a maximum of HK$15 million (US$1.9 million).
She explained the smart production line concept: “The relevant project should actually set up a production line in Hong Kong; and the whole or most of the production line should comply with the criteria of 'smart production'. That is, the application of smart technology in the production process through an integrated and intelligent way, including the Internet of Things, real-time data, data analysis and advanced human-machine interface, AI, machine learning or deep learning, automation and robotics as well as sensors and actuators."
Applicants would be evaluated based on the application of intelligent technology in the new production line, financial, technical and business management capabilities of the applicant company, and based on the feasibility of the project and its impact on Hong Kong's economy.
“We have approved more than 20 applications so far, with funding amounts ranging from HK$100,000s to HK$10 million-plus.”