LCQ14: Measures to promote the development of the textile and apparel wholesale industries
Following is a written reply by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, to a question by the Hon Chung Kwok-pan in the Legislative Council today (December 12):
For many years, the textile and apparel wholesale markets in the area of Cheung Sha Wan and Sham Shui Po have attracted quite a number of merchants from Southeast Asia, the Mainland and overseas to buy merchandise there, similar to the situation of Dongdaemun in South Korea, and South Korea has even developed Dongdaemun into a tourist attraction. The Chief Executive indicated in his election manifesto that he would draw up an overall economic development strategy and industry policy after assumption of office. He also indicated that he would take steps to enhance and promote wholesale businesses, for example, electronic products in Sham Shui Po, and apparel and textiles in Cheung Sha Wan; that he would "introduce tourists to visit the wholesale markets and in so doing bring vitality to such neighbourhood businesses; and that he would study and identify a site for constructing a major and long-term exhibition venue so as to promote the industry". In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(a) whether it has compiled statistics on the trade volume of the wholesale of textiles and apparel in Hong Kong in the past five years; whether it has studied how to help the industry grasp business opportunities for the full development of the textile and apparel wholesale markets in Hong Kong;
(b) whether it will formulate afresh the policy on the development of the textile industry to promote innovation in the industry, e.g. promoting the development of the textile and apparel wholesale markets in Sham Shui Po, nurturing talents for fashion design, building exhibition venues, recasting the textile industry as a trendy industry, and studying whether it will follow the practice of Dongdaemun in South Korea to repackage such wholesale markets as tourist attractions with characteristics, for the mutual benefits of various industries such as the textile and tourism industries, etc., which interwine closely; and
(c) how it will honour the pledge made by the Chief Executive in his manifesto to enhance and promote the wholesale businesses; what the specific ideas are and when it will introduce the related measures?
Our consolidated reply to the Member's question is as follows -
The Textiles and Clothing (T&C) industry has all along been one of the pillars of Hong Kong's economy, making significant contribution to the economic development of Hong Kong. Statistics on the exports of Hong Kong T&C products in quantity and value from 2007 to October 2012 are set out in the Annex.
The Government attaches great importance to the development of industries in Hong Kong, including the T&C industry and the wholesale industry. As regards collaboration with the tourism industry, the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) has been actively promoting the trend-setting edge of Hong Kong to visitors through various channels. In promoting the strength of Hong Kong as a shoppers' paradise, the HKTB does not only promote major shopping malls and department stores, but also publicises outdoor markets and themed shopping streets including the "Fashion Street" on Cheung Sha Wan Road, along which a large number of shops engaging in clothing wholesale and retail businesses are located. Depending on the development of these clothing wholesale markets, we will explore with the HKTB the feasibility of re-packaging these wholesale markets for tourism promotion.
On the nurturing of talents and promotion of innovation, Create Hong Kong (CreateHK) has been providing funding support to worthwhile projects that promote fashion design. Such projects include competitions, awards programmes, exhibitions and fashion shows. These programmes provide exposure for the local up-and-coming fashion designers and their works. For example, work attachment opportunities in the United Kingdom were provided to the winners of the EcoChic Design Awards held in 2011 and 2012 to enrich their portfolios. Another example is the World's Greatest Catwalk 2012 Hong Kong held on December 9, 2012, which featured one of the world's longest catwalks and attracted lots of international media attention. The event showed the works of local young designers, winners of local fashion awards, and student winners of graduation shows of various local design institutes. Their works were paraded together with those of the design masters.
Apart from those projects which exclusively focus on fashion design, other signature design events funded by CreateHK also cover fashion design from time to time. For instance, the annual Business of Design Week and Knowledge of Design Week organised by the Hong Kong Design Centre often feature topics and speakers from the fashion design field in the conferences and workshops. These exchange sessions help the local fashion designers hone their skills and expand their networks with local peers and international counterparts.
As for nurturing design start-ups, the Government-funded Design Incubation Programme (DIP) provided the incubatees with financial subsidies and incubation services. As at end October 2012, 118 incubatees have been admitted to the DIP, with about 18 per cent of them being fashion design start-ups.
We will continue to promote Hong Kong's existing industries and also explore new advantages and develop new strengths. As the Chief Executive (CE) has stated clearly in his Manifesto, we would draw up an overall industry policy with a view to creating jobs and improving people's livelihood. As announced by the CE, an Economic Development Commission (EDC) would be established to provide visionary direction and advice to the Government on the overall strategy and policy to broaden Hong Kong's economic base and to enhance Hong Kong's economic growth and development, and in particular, to explore and identify growth sectors or clusters of sectors which present opportunities for Hong Kong's further economic growth, and recommend possible policy and other support for these industries. The EDC will be led by the CE. The preparatory work for the establishment of the EDC has commenced and it is envisaged that the EDC would be set up shortly.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012