Top Page | English | 简体中文 | 繁體中文 | 한국어 | 日本語
Thursday, 14 March 2019, 19:00 HKT/SGT

Source: HKTDC
HKTDC Export Index 1Q19: China-US trade talks prompt improved exporter sentiment
HKTDC advises tapping Russian Far East & ASEAN opportunities

HONG KONG, Mar 14, 2019 - (ACN Newswire) - The HKTDC Export Index 1Q19, for the first quarter of 2019, rebounded four points from the previous quarter to 39.2, indicating that confidence among exporters is growing across all sectors and markets.

HKTDC Director of Research Nicholas Kwan (2nd from L) calls on Hong Kong companies to diversify their business in the face of uncertainties in 2019. Joining Mr Kwan at the press conference today (14 March) are HKTDC Assistant Principal Economist (Global Research) Louis Chan (2nd from R) and HKTDC Economists Doris Fung (L) and Jacqueline Yuen (R)

"Progress in the trade talks between Mainland China and the United States has led to an improved sentiment. However, it is still expected the dispute will not be resolved imminently, so we are calling on local exporters to expand their business into new markets such as the Russian Far East and ASEAN countries," HKTDC Director of Research Nicholas Kwan said at a press conference today.

The HKTDC Export Index gauges near-term export prospects. Readings above and below 50 indicate positive and negative sentiment respectively. Mr Kwan noted that the indices remained below the watershed mark of 50, but expansion has been satisfactory, especially in the toys sector and European Union market, which rose 17.1 and 5.6 points respectively.

"Our forecast for export growth in 2019 remains unchanged - an increase of 5% in value and 3% in volume," Mr Kwan said, adding that machinery is the most promising export sector, with a score of 42.2 points, followed by toys (41.4) and electronics (39.7). In terms of specific export markets, Japan (48) and the EU (47.4) enjoyed the most positive short-term market outlook, followed by the United States (46.1) and Mainland China (45.7).

Smaller orders from US buyers

HKTDC Economist Doris Fung said Hong Kong exporters were slightly more optimistic than before on the outcome of the Sino-US Trade dispute. Fewer respondents - 51.7%, compared with 54.4% in the last quarter - were concerned that it might adversely affect their export performance over the near term.

But despite the increase in optimism, almost half of the respondents (48.5%) reported they had already experienced a negative impact related to the trade dispute, particularly in relation to reduced order sizes (69%). Other impacts include price bargaining (34.9%), cancelled orders (22.7%) and sharing or bearing part of the tariff costs (16.2%).

Responding to the trade friction, over half of the respondents (54.1%) said they had considered developing markets outside the US. Other plans included moving the production or sourcing base (27.4%) and downsizing the company (19.9%).

Russian Far East: an alternative manufacturing base

HKTDC Assistant Principal Economist (Global Research) Louis Chan said that with its rich natural resources, abundant land, upgraded infrastructure, unfettered access to the markets of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the availability of generous tax incentives, the Russian Far East District - also known as the Far Eastern Federal District (FEFD) - is an attractive destination for manufacturing investment.

"The FEFD is an especially suitable market for Hong Kong traders who are operating in the food processing, paper and pulp, rubber and plastics, electrical equipment, medicine and jewellery industries," Mr Chan said.

Over the past five years, the FEFD has set up a ministry and four government agencies to accelerate infrastructure improvement and increase industrial capability in the region. One of the most important initiatives is the establishment of the Far East Development Corporation (FEDC) which oversees 18 Advanced Special Economic Zones (ASEZs) and 22 Free Ports of Vladivostok (FPVs) municipals.

"Amid the lingering Sino-US trade tension, the FEFD not only offers emerging manufacturing investment opportunities with unfettered access to EAEU markets, but also alternative sources of agricultural products currently affected by US tariffs." Mr Chan said. "For example, some Mainland China and Russian investors have already started soybean processing in the FEFD's Amur Region and Jewish Autonomous Region to supply the mainland market."

Aquaculture and tourism potential

Mr Chan added that Hong Kong business can also consider importing a range of products from the FEFD. "The district has access to the waters of North Pacific, which are a paradise for cold water seafood such as crabs and scallops. A range of cosmetics and health supplements has also been developed including face masks derived from sea cucumbers and medicinal products made using the chaga mushroom."

The FEFD is also planning to develop an entertainment zone, incorporating resorts and casinos, to boost tourism. "There are plenty of opportunities for Hong Kong companies to participate in the development of the tourism industry in the FEFD. In addition to investment and project management, they can also provide marketing support for the FEFD to promote its tourism to potential Asian visitors," Mr Chan explained.

Growing ASEAN e-commerce opportunities

With their young and tech-savvy populations, countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia are seeing rapid growth in business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce. "The ASEAN middle-class is increasingly familiar with shopping online or through multi-channel platforms for travel and leisure, fashion and entertainment, as well as consumer electronics, health, beauty and wellness products and services, and their purchase decisions are heavily affected by online reviews," said HKTDC Economist Jacqueline Yuen.

Ms Yuen said the market is fragmented and there is keen competition among e-commerce platforms, adding that social media is growing in popularity and is an ideal selling platform for small suppliers and new brands. She advised Hong Kong traders to consider penetrating these markets through the omni-channels provided by department stores or speciality shops, or the B2C platforms and social media shops.

She also mentioned the rise of "mompreneurs", women who share experiences with other new mothers at the same time as promoting baby and maternity items. "Breastfeeding is becoming more widespread in ASEAN countries and consumers are looking for natural, organic and chemical-free products, offering new opportunities for Hong Kong traders," Mr Yuen said.

For the fashion and accessories sector, she advised local companies to target young consumers who are less brand-conscious, adding that e-tailers will source at trade shows for innovative, stylish and unique items. "Hong Kong exporters can connect with ASEAN e-tailers by exhibiting at local trade fairs that also offer a customised business-matching service," she said.

- HKTDC Research website
- HKTDC Export Index 1Q19: China-US Trade Talks Prompt Improved Exporter Sentiment
- E-Commerce Opportunities in ASEAN - Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand:
- Business Opportunities in Russia Far East
- Photo download:


The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is a statutory body established in 1966 to promote, assist and develop Hong Kong's trade. With 50 offices globally, including 13 in Mainland China, the HKTDC promotes Hong Kong as a two-way global investment and business hub. The HKTDC organises international exhibitions, conferences and business missions to create business opportunities for companies, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in the mainland and international markets. The HKTDC also provides up-to-date market insights and product information via trade publications, research reports and digital news channels. For more information, please visit: Follow us on Twitter @hktdc and LinkedIn.

Beatrice Lam, Tel: +852 2584 4049, Email: [email protected]

Mar 14, 2019 19:00 HKT/SGT
Source: HKTDC

Topic: Research / Industry Report
Sectors: Daily Finance, Banking, Local Business
From the Asia Corporate News Network

Copyright © 2020 ACN Newswire. All rights reserved. A division of Asia Corporate News Network.


May 7, 2020 15:00 HKT/SGT
HKTDC to host Summer Virtual Expo
Apr 6, 2020 15:00 HKT/SGT
Start-up Express 2020: A Journey to Success for HK Start-ups
Mar 26, 2020 19:00 HKT/SGT
HKTDC to launch Spring Virtual Expo and Guided SME Support
Mar 17, 2020 18:00 HKT/SGT
HKTDC Export Index 1Q20: Exporter confidence hits record low amid COVID-19 outbreak
Feb 26, 2020 20:00 HKT/SGT
Hong Kong Trade Development Council welcomes new Budget
Feb 13, 2020 16:00 HKT/SGT
HKTDC helps SMEs amid unprecedented challenges
Feb 4, 2020 09:00 HKT/SGT
HK designers unveil collections at London Fashion Week
Jan 24, 2020 11:00 HKT/SGT
Fashion Hong Kong arrives at New York Fashion Week
Jan 21, 2020 19:00 HKT/SGT
HKTDC Education & Careers Expo opens early February
Jan 15, 2020 19:00 HKT/SGT
3,500+ finance, business leaders join Asian Financial Forum
More news >>
 News Alerts
Copyright © 2020 ACN Newswire - Asia Corporate News Network
Home | About us | Services | Partners | Events | Login | Contact us | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | RSS
US: +1 800 291 0906 | Beijing: +86 400 879 3881 | Hong Kong: +852 2217 2912 | Singapore: +65 6304 8926 | Tokyo: +81 3 6859 8575

Connect With us: