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Environmental Technologies


Environmental Technologies Market in Hong Kong Unit: USD thousands




2014 (estimated)



Total Market Size





Total Local Production





Total Exports





Total Imports





Imports from the U.S.





Exchange Rate: 1 USD





Total Market Size = (Total Local Production + Total Imports) – (Total Exports)
Data Sources:
Total Local Production: Hong Kong Census & Statistics Department & Industry Sources
Total Exports: Hong Kong Census & Statistics Department & Industry Sources
Total Imports: Hong Kong Census & Statistics Department & Industry Sources
Imports from U.S.: Hong Kong Census & Statistics Department & Industry Sources

Since there is no agreed upon definition of “environmental technologies” and considerable overlap regarding environmental features from various types of machinery and products, market statistics for this sector are, at best, rough approximations.

Hong Kong relies heavily on imports to satisfy its environmental needs. Total environmental technology imports in 2013 amounted to US$4.56 billion. United States suppliers are active in the high-end segment, capturing about 10.2 percent of the total import market in 2013. Imports from the United States decreased from US$639 million in 2012 to US$465 million in 2013, representing a reduction rate of more than 20 percent.

Hong Kong is also a sourcing agent for environmental products for mainland China, where heavy green tech investments and tightening environmental regulations have emerged as major drivers of the industry regionally, if not globally. In 2013, re-export of environmental technologies to China through Hong Kong amounted to US$3.5 billion; accounting for approximately 61 percent of Hong Kong’s total environmental technologies re-exports.

The Hong Kong Government has allocated significant resources toward tackling waste treatment, air pollution, and water pollution problems. Opportunities exist in the thermal and biological treatment of municipal solid waste, water & wastewater treatment, energy efficiency, green building and electric vehicles.

With vigorous IPR protection and the proximity to and experience in trading with mainland China, Hong Kong is an ideal entrepot for U.S. environmental companies (especially small- and medium-sized firms) interested in the China market.

Sub-Sector Best Prospects


  • Analytical instruments
  • Vehicle emissions particulate reduction devices
  • Desulphurization / De-nitrification technologies for vehicles and ships


  • Desalination technologies
  • Water filtration equipment
  • Disinfection technologies
  • Analytical instruments

Waste Management:

  • Incineration technologies
  • Biological treatment technologies
  • Recycling technologies

Energy Efficiency:

  • Instruments / automatic controls used in monitoring energy usage
  • Green building and energy efficiency training service


Hong Kong has set a target of achieving new air quality objectives by 2020. To achieve this goal, Hong Kong has set emission reduction targets with neighboring Guangdong Province of China and will enact legislation to further tighten the emission caps for power plants in the coming years. Furthermore, the authorities will likely mandate ocean-going vessels at berth in Hong Kong to switch to low-sulphur diesel in the near future. The Hong Kong government has set aside funding for franchised bus companies to experiment with electric buses and is subsidizing the testing of electric taxis, coaches and goods vehicles. To encourage greater use of electric vehicles, the government has pledged to establish 100 new medium-speed chargers in 2014 to lower the charging time. In addition, the government has set aside US$1.5 billion as part of an ex-gratia payment scheme to phase out 82,000 older diesel commercial vehicles by 2020.

Hong Kong disposes of more than 9,000 tons of municipal solid waste per day. The per-capita municipal solid waste disposal rate per day was 1.30 kg in 2012. Owing to landfill shortages, the Hong Kong government has set ambitious targets of reducing this number to 1 kg by 2017 and 0.8 kg by 2022, and will further encourage waste recovery and recycling of materials. The government will invest US$3.8 billion in waste recycling and treatment facilities and is currently pursuing electrical and electronic waste processing facilities and community green stations to encourage public participation in waste reduction and recycling. Additionally, the government has set aside US$128 million to establish a Recycling Fund in support of sustainable recycling.

The Hong Kong government is planning to build two Organic Waste Treatment Facilities (OWTFs) to deal with food waste and an Integrated Waste Management Facility (IWMF) to treat municipal waste and expand current landfills. The proposed OWTFs will be able to handle 200 and 300 tons food waste whereas the waste-to-energy IWMF will have a capacity of 3,000 tons per day. The Legislative Council has recently approved the construction of the IWMF on Shek Kwu Chau and the first OWTF in Siu Ho Wan.

Sewage treatment is largely handled by a centralized sewage treatment facility on Stonecutters Island under the Harbor Area Treatment Scheme (HATS). Stage 1 of the scheme has been in operation since 2001 and Stage 2A is set to complete in 2014. The sludge treatment facility, which turns sludge into energy, will also come on line sometime in 2014. Further development of HATS will depend on water quality improvement in the Victoria Harbor and the result of a study to be conducted in 2014 to explore options for near shore pollution reduction.

Hong Kong obtains the majority of its fresh water supply from mainland China. To ensure a sustainable water supply, Hong Kong is currently in the planning stages for constructing a desalination plant. The plant is set to begin operations in 2020 with a capacity of about 50 million cubic meters per annum.

To develop Hong Kong as a low-carbon city, the Secretary for the Environment is leading an inter-departmental steering committee to promote green building. Since buildings account for 90 percent of Hong Kong’s total electricity consumption, the Hong Kong government enacted the Buildings Energy Efficiency Ordinance, which came into effect on September 21, 2012, to promote building energy efficiency. Under this legislation, the air-conditioning, lighting, electrical as well as lift & escalator installations of all new buildings need to comply with the design standards of Hong Kong’s Building Energy Code. Furthermore, energy audits for the four aforementioned installations are now mandatory for all commercial buildings.

U.S. companies could consider forming consortia to bid for the design and construction for the above major environmental projects, or becoming an equipment supplier / sub-contractor. U.S. energy service and green building consultants, as well as green tech suppliers, could consider taking advantage of this growing market.

Web Resources

Trade Shows:

Eco Expo Asia
Date: October 29-November 1, 2014
Description: Organized by the HK Trade Development Council, Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd. and the Environmental Bureau, Hong Kong Government, Eco Expo Asia is Hong Kong’s international trading platform and showcase for the latest environmental protection technologies.
Website: http://www.hktdc.com/fair/ecoexpoasia-en/

Macao International Environmental Cooperation Forum & Exhibition (MIECF)
Date: March 26-28, 2015
Description: MIECF is a promising, new international environmental conference and trade fair held in Macau annually. The theme of the event is low carbon living and sustainable urban development in South China. AmCham Macau is a prominent supporter of the show, whose international agent is KoelnMesse.
Website: http://www.macaomiecf.com/

Trade Associations

Environmental Contractors Management Association
Website: http://www.ecma.org.hk
Description: Membership is mostly comprised of waste management and janitorial service companies.

Green Council
Website: http://www.greencouncil.org
Description: The Green Council is a non-profit environmental organization promoting environmental protection.

Hong Kong Environmental Industry Association
Website: http://www.hnenvia.org
Description: The Hong Kong Environmental Industry Association promotes communication and collaboration among environment-related businesses.

Hong Kong Waste Management Association
Website: http://www.hongkongwma.org.hk
Description: The Hong Kong Waste Management Association’s members consist of organizations or individuals who advise the Hong Kong Government on the city’s waste management policies.

U.S. Commercial Service Hong Kong

For more information, contact our colleague who covers this industry sector:

Contact: Ms. Olevia Yim, Sr. Commercial Specialist
U.S. Commercial Service Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 2521-1467
Fax: (852) 2845-9800
Email: olevia.yim@trade.gov
Website: http://export.gov/hongkong

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