I recently finished a trip to Hong Kong to attend the International ICT Expo as part of a Canadian Trade Mission. The trip really opened my eyes to the focus and resources that Hong Kong is putting behind becoming a big player in the tech space.
Historically, Hong Kong has been a prosperous shipping port due in part to its deep water access for large vessels. It has also become a key financial center for the region. Just as a reminder, control of Hong Kong reverted back to China (from the UK) in 1997. However, the Chinese have wisely implemented a 50-year transition period to ensure stability until the move is completed.
The local government and residents alike lovingly refer to this period for Hong Kong as “One Country with Two Systems." Of course, those two systems are the Chinese legal system and the UK influenced international legal system used in Hong Kong for the past several decades. It will be interesting to see the amount of influence that China will exert on HK in the near future, but even more interesting will be how much influence HK can exert and make changes in Chinese system.
Fortunately, I was sitting by the window as we prepared to land in Hong Kong. Seeing the beauty of the outlying islands on approach reminded me why over seven million people find this a great place to live. After the 14-hour flight from Vancouver, all I could think about was getting to my hotel. When there, I fought the urge to sleep, showered and headed to the Dim Sum restaurant right there in my hotel. For someone like me from North America, it was a big deal to have a dim sum place that close, but I soon found out that dim sum was on almost every corner in Hong Kong’s Central district.
Hong Kong has long been known as the gateway to China, but here are a few fun facts about the state of technology in Hong Kong:
· Hong Kong has over 7.15 million inhabitants, and is one of the most densely populated cities in the world.
· Its ICT sector has roughly 17,000 companies that generate CAD $197.4 billion in revenue, representing 6.1% of Hong Kong’s GDP.
· There are 20,000 public Wi-Fi access points covering 426 square miles of the metropolis.
· The Hong Kong government will spend nearly CAD $1 billion on IT expenditures during 2013-2014.
· 4G LTE was rolled out by all five mobile network providers in 2012.
· 87% of homes have broadband with an average speed of 60 Mbps, ranked as one of the world’s highest in a recent report by Akamai Technologies. In some cases, the speed reaches 1,000 Mbps, and provides inhabitants with access to over 700 TV channels in this metropolitan market.
The International ICT Exhibition was held in conjunction with a huge consumer electronics show. It was Asia’s version of the annual CES show in Las Vegas. The first day of the show was Sunday, and tens of thousands of Hong Kong’s residents visited the Convention Center that day to see the latest gadgets. There was a sea of young people that packed the aisles that day of the show. I even saw young families with their kids making a Sunday afternoon excursion to attend the show.
Tech Reviews by The Corliss Group