The Growth of Construction, Property and Engineering in Hong Kong

When we look at the Construction, Property and Engineering (CPE) market globally, we see massive growth and even bigger potential. The size of the global construction industry market is anticipated to reach USD17,247.96 billion by 2029, a report by GlobeNewswire shows.

When we look at Hong Kong solely, the fragrant harbour has always been acknowledged for its rapid and high-quality construction projects including railways, buildings, bridges such as the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, iconic buildings such as the International Commerce Centre & International Finance Centre, M+ Museum, and more. Hong Kong also takes pride in playing a major role in engineering in the APAC region. HKTDC research points out that Hong Kong’s adoption of specialised construction techniques and experience in high-rise buildings, and its success in being able to innovate puts Hong Kong at the forefront of this industry.

In 2021 itself, the Hong Kong construction market size stood at an impressive USD30.1 billion and is projected to have an annual growth rate of more than 2% from 2023-2026. Despite the global pandemic, mega projects continued in Hong Kong amidst massive lockdowns and restrictions – and the industry is expected to be boosted further especially since the borders have just reopened. With notable commercial projects in progress, rapidly growing job scopes are expected. It was also reported by RTHK that, after a 3-year freeze on salary increments, October 2022 saw the announcement of workers in CPE subsectors receiving salary hikes of up to 12.5%.

Notable projects to watch out for

The past few years have been busy for Hong Kong with massive projects making their way in both public and private sectors. Home to “world-class construction practitioners”, as the Chief Executive puts it, Hong Kong is set for future growth as annual capital expenditure is expected to reach HKD100 billion on average.

All projects above began in 2022 and are currently Hong Kong’s 5 biggest ones. The MTR – Lohas Park Residential Development Phase XIII is expected to take the longest to finish and is given an estimated completion date of Q4 2025 as of now. Apart from new lines being constructed, the MTR will also see its existing lines being extended further across Hong Kong.

Other notable projects include the Lantau Tomorrow Vision, a land reclamation project, and Northern Metropolis – which will make up two district administration areas in Hong Kong. If approved, Lantau Tomorrow Vision will turn into Hong Kong’s third business district and housing hub. The Northern Metropolis could remedy Hong Kong’s housing crisis, as it is expected to see an estimated 2.5 million living in the area. As the Northern Metropolis will bring about a stronger integration with the tech hub that is Shenzhen, this will also mean more development not just in Hong Kong, but the Greater Bay Area as well.

Events make a comeback in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is embarking on some of the most ambitious projects in infrastructure that have been propelled by the further easing of restrictions in the city. 2022 saw the comeback of some of Hong Kong’s biggest events such as the Hong Kong Monetary and Authority Financial Summit and HK FinTech Week.

As John Lee Ka-chiu explains, “Hong Kong remains the only place in the world where global advantage and the China advantage come together in a single city” making it a hotspot for major financial and tech summits where the brightest players from around the world fly in. For example, Hong Kong has started preparing for the largest tech gathering in Asia, RISE 2024, showing that there is strong potential in CPE as manpower is continuously required. The fight for manpower stays, as demand overtakes supply, meaning companies will need to pay attention to sourcing for functions that are high in demand.

The future of CPE in Hong Kong

The CPE industry has seen a talent shortage even during the pandemic, as developers rush to complete projects that have been delayed. As such, with there being a high demand for manpower, the market is a candidate-driven one, and is expected to remain so in the foreseeable future.

A report by McKinsey explains that it is crucial for Hong Kong to reinvent the CPE workforce as active labourers are close to retirement and the number of new entries into the industry are decreasing which will in turn increase hiring rapidly. It is reported that Hong Kong might face a labour shortage of more than 300,000 full-time equivalents by 2031 if quick action is not taken.

On that note, the HKSAR government has also announced several plans to ensure continuous, strong growth of the infrastructure and construction industry, especially over the next 5 years. For starters, a report by South China Morning Post explains that Hong Kong’s construction sector can expect 27,000 semi-skilled and skilled workers in the next few years as a part of the HK$1 billion training program. With more projects being carried out, including the Northern Metropolis and Lantau Tomorrow Vision projects, the government is set to strengthen the promotion of professional skills and development opportunities in the industry.

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