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Environmental Technologies


Environmental Technologies Market in Hong Kong Unit: USD thousands






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 not an agreed upon definition of “environmental technologies”, and because there is 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 2014 amounted to US$5.07 billion. United States suppliers are active in the high-end segment, capturing about 9.2 percent of the total import market in 2014. Imports from the United States increased slightly from US$465 million in 2013 to US$471 million in 2014, representing a minor growth rate of 1.3 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 2014, re-export of environmental technologies to China through Hong Kong amounted to US$3.52 billion; accounting for approximately 58 percent of Hong Kong’s total environmental technologies re-exports.

The Hong Kong Government has been allocating 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 entry point for U.S. environmental companies (especially small- and medium-sized firms) interested in the China market.

Sub-Sector Best Prospects


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


  • Desalination technologies
  • Advanced water filtration technologies
  • Disinfection technologies
  • Analytical instruments

Waste Management:

  • Incineration technologies
  • Biological treatment technologies
  • Recycling (plastic, metal and glass) process expertise
  • Recycling expertise for waste electronic and electrical equipment (WEEE)

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 mandate ocean-going vessels at berth in Hong Kong to switch to low-Sulphur diesel with effect from July 1, 2015. 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, hybrid coaches and goods vehicles. Currently, there are a total of 1,100 chargers for electric vehicles in the city. To encourage greater use of electric vehicles, the government has launched a pilot scheme to enable electric taxi suppliers to set up quick chargers in the car parks administered by the Transport Department, and will set up low emission zones in city centers in the end of 2015, where franchised bus companies can only deploy electric or low-emission buses. 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 2019. To strengthen the control of emissions from petrol and liquefied petroleum gas vehicles, the authorities will be deploying additional roadside remote sensing equipment and dynamometer for surveillance purposes.

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 1.3kg in 2014. 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 is investing US$3.8 billion in waste recycling and treatment facilities and is pursuing electrical and electronic equipment waste (WEEE) 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 building two Organic Waste Treatment Facilities (OWTFs) to deal with food waste and an Integrated Waste Management Facility (IWMF) to treat municipal waste. 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 in 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 2015. The sludge treatment facility, which turns sludge into energy, will soon come on line. Further development of HATS will depend on water quality improvement in the Victoria Harbor and the result of a study to be commissioned to explore options for the development of the Harbor in the long run.

Hong Kong obtains the majority of its fresh water supply from mainland China. To ensure a sustainable water supply, Hong Kong will start working on the design of a desalination plant and the associated infrastructure in phases in 2015. 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 28-31, 2015
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 only international trading platform and showcase for the latest environmental protection technologies.
Website: http://www.hktdc.com/fair/ecoexpoasia-en/s/2989-General_Information/Eco-Expo-Asia-International-Trade-Fair-on-Environmental-Protection/Fair-Details.html

Macao International Environmental Cooperation Forum & Exhibition (MIECF)
Date: March 31 – April 2, 2016
Description: MIECF is an international environmental conference and trade fair held in Macao 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: www.ecma.org.hk
Description: Membership is mostly comprised of waste management and janitorial service companies.

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

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

Hong Kong Waste Management Association
Website: 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.

For more information about this industry sector, please 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

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