LCQ10: Promoting the development of fashion industry
Following is a question by the Hon Ho Kai-ming and a written reply by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Edward Yau, in the Legislative Council today (February 28):
In January this year, the Government announced that in order to fully capitalise on Sham Shui Po being a traditional garment and fabric wholesale and retail hub, it planned to set up a design and fashion base in the district. The plan aims to nurture a new generation of design talents and fashion designers for Hong Kong, and link up the design, manufacturing and retail elements of the fashion industry. However, many practitioners in the fashion industry have pointed out that fashion manufacturers have continuously relocated their production processes to other places over the years, leading to a decline of the local fashion industry. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) whether it knows the respective numbers of (i) establishments which and employees who engaged in the fashion industry and (ii) persons completing fashion design training programmes and clothing technology training programmes, in each of the past five years;
(2) whether the authorities will step up (i) the matching of fashion manufacturers with fashion designers and (ii) the technical support provided for the latter to develop local fashion products of original design; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;
(3) whether the authorities will adopt other measures to promote the development of the fashion industry, such as the granting of land for the construction of a fashion centre that gathers the design, manufacturing and retail elements, thereby giving full play of the clustering effect; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and
(4) as the Chief Executive stated in the Policy Address delivered in October last year that "there is much room for development by combining design and industry", whether the authorities will adopt concrete measures to encourage manufacturers to move back to Hong Kong to set up factories for the production of high value-added fashion products, in order to promote the collaboration between fashion designers and fashion manufacturers in manufacturing fashion products under the brand of "Made in Hong Kong"; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
In consultation with the Education Bureau, the Labour and Welfare Bureau and the Innovation and Technology Bureau, my consolidated reply to the Honourable Member's question is as follows:
(1) According to the Census and Statistics Department, the numbers of establishments and persons engaged in fashion design and the textiles and wearing apparel industry between 2012 and 2016 are tabulated as follows:
As regards manpower training for the fashion and clothing industries, the numbers of graduates from the relevant programmes in the past five years are as follows:
(2) and (3) The Government is committed to promoting the development of the fashion industry through various measures.
To strengthen the connection between fashion designers and fashion manufacturers, the Government has spared no efforts in, through sponsorship by the CreateSmart Initiative (CSI) or other channels, supporting various industry-related activities such as the Fashion Asia Forum sponsored by Create Hong Kong and organised by the Hong Kong Design Centre; the Hong Kong Fashion Week hosted by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC); as well as trade missions to stage exhibitions in the Mainland cities and other Asian countries. Through participation in a diverse range of activities such as exhibitions, forums and fashion shows, designers can expand their business networks and engage in more business discussion with manufacturers and other practitioners to explore more market opportunities.
The Government also actively encourages and supports fashion designers to participate in international fashion shows. For example, we subsidised the HKTDC to lead more than 15 Hong Kong fashion designers to participate in the Copenhagen Fashion Week in Denmark, the Tokyo Fashion Week, the New York Fashion Week and the Shanghai Fashion Week in 2017. A series of fashion shows were staged and short-term exhibition halls were set up to enhance the international profile of Hong Kong fashion designers, strengthen the interaction and establishment of business networks among Hong Kong fashion designers, local and overseas fashion manufacturers and buyers as well as other trade practitioners.
In addition, the Government launched the Fashion Incubation Programme in 2017 with CSI funding to nurture budding fashion talents and brands. Among other things, participating designers are provided with studio space at the Kowloon Bay Training Centre of the Clothing Industry Training Authority (CITA). Designers are also introduced to suitable companies or persons for networking and technical support necessary for fashion co-creation projects and collaborations.
As mentioned in the question, the Government has started the preparatory work for the design and fashion project in Sham Shui Po (the Project). We have obtained the support of the Urban Renewal Authority to earmark space for the Project in one of its redevelopment projects in the district. The Project will make full use of this long-standing garment and fabric wholesale and retail hub by combining design, fashion, garment and retail so as to boost clustering effect and create new synergy. The district will be turned into a local as well as territory-wide design and fashion landmark, thereby driving tourism development in Sham Shui Po district and boosting the local economy.
The Government is also committed to enhancing its technical support to designers. The SME Development Fund (SDF) administered by the Trade and Industry Department provides funding support to non-profit-distributing organisations for implementing projects that aim at enhancing the competitiveness of Hong Kong's small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in general or in specific sectors (including the fashion design and manufacturing industry). As at end-January 2018, 11 projects related to the textiles and fashion industry were approved under SDF, involving a total funding amount of about $20 million. In particular, SDF approved a grant of $5 million to the CITA in 2016 to set up a Sample Development Centre to help fashion design SMEs transform their ideas into prototypes with affordable budget. The Centre also offers studio space, equipment and facilities to support newly established fashion design SMEs to create their own collections.
(4) The Government's policy on support for industry is to create a business-friendly environment and provide timely and appropriate support for the trade so that it can flourish. Some enterprises, including those in the fashion industry, are well-positioned to consider carrying out high value-added production processes that are less land and labour-intensive in Hong Kong. Hong Kong enterprises, including those interested in relocating their operations back to Hong Kong, can obtain support through support schemes under various government departments and quasi-government organisations in areas such as financing and enhancing their overall competitiveness.
Moreover, the Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC) has been in cooperation with trade and industrial organisations in the textiles and apparel industry in the areas of fashion manufacturing and design, with a view to raising the industry's competitiveness and shortening the product development cycle through providing support for technology adoption.
The HKPC also facilitates the local fashion industry to carry out high value-added design process, sample production work and low-volume but wide-variety manufacturing processes in Hong Kong by providing the relevant technical support services, including Industry 4.0, automatic production machines and robotics, etc. In addition, the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation revised the Industrial Estate Policy in 2015 to advance Hong Kong's re-industrialisation, promote smart production and attract high value-added technology industries and manufacturing processes to Hong Kong.
Besides, the Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel (HKRITA) has been enhancing the international competitiveness of the local textile and clothing industry through research and development (R&D) as well as technological transfer activities. The HKRITA has conducted a lot of original and high value-added R&D activities in areas such as high performance materials (which can be used in sports, industry and healthcare, etc.), wearable electronics and green materials, which are conducive to the promotion of re-industrialisation.
Ends/Wednesday, February 28, 2018