Twenty-five years ago

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 27 June, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 27 June, 1999, 12:00am

HONGKONG (June 27): SIGNS that Hongkong may be achieving a significant change in its export pattern, leading to a much sought-after degree of market diversification, are apparent in recent trading figures.

This claim is made in the the Bulletin, the monthly magazine for the Hongkong General Chamber of Commerce.

For the first time in recent years, Hongkong is now relying appreciably less on the US market, which in the past years has come dangerously close to taking half of our entire manufactured output.

Although exports to this market increased by 11 per cent, the US last year took only 37 per cent of the total exports of Hongkong-made goods.

At the same time, Hongkong's exports to its regional trading partners have shot up dramatically.

South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore - often thought of as competitors rather than major export markets - last year increased their exports of Hongkong goods by 181 per cent, 67 per cent and 53 per cent, respectively. Singapore has now overtaken Canada to become our sixth largest customer, says the magazine article.

A similar pattern is apparent with Australia and Japan, Hongkong's largest regional customers. Exports to these countries were up by 135 per cent and 74 per cent last year.

The 'secondary' countries of the region - those with economies that have not yet made substantial strides towards industrialisation or towards an export-oriented economy - have also been buying Hongkong goods in substantial quantities.

Exports to Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand grew by 94.24 and 37 per cent, respectively.

'It is difficult to find one country within the region that did not buy more from Hongkong last year than in 1972.'