Hong Kong 2003
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The Manufacturing Sector

Innovation, technology and relocation of lower value-added operations to the Mainland have accelerated the development of more knowledge-based and higher value-added manufacturing activities, as well as manufacturing-related services or producer services. Expansion of manufacturing activities offshore since the 1980s has turned Hong Kong into a strategic control centre of an increasingly globalised production network. In spite of Hong Kong's economic restructuring, the manufacturing sector remained an important sector of the economy, providing employment to 168 300 persons (7.6 per cent of the total private sector employees) in December 2003.

The printing and publishing industry was the largest employer in the manufacturing sector in 2003, followed by the clothing industry. Chart 1 shows the breakdown of employment within the manufacturing sector in 2003.

Chart1:Number of Persons Employed by the Manufacturing Sector as at September 2003

number of persons employed by the manufacturing sector as at September 2003

The manufacturing sector remains export-oriented and its excellent performance contributed to Hong Kong's ranking as one of the world's leading exporters of textiles, clothing, watches and clocks, toys and jewellery. Domestic exports amounted to $122 billion in 2003 with clothing, electronics, textiles, chemical products and jewellery being the major export items. Chart 2 shows the value breakdown of domestic exports in 2003.

Chart 2: Value of Domestic Exports of the Manufacturing Sector in 2003

value of domestic exports of the manufacturing Sector in 2003

The manufacturing sector is dominated by SMEs. Of the 16 270 manufacturing establishments in 2003, 16 060 (98.7 per cent) employed fewer than 100 persons, accounting for 64 per cent of Hong Kong's total manufacturing employment. Many SMEs are linked with larger factories through an efficient and flexible sub-contracting network. This arrangement has enabled the manufacturing sector to respond swiftly to market changes.

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