Maintenance sector dominates industry

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 September, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 September, 2001, 12:00am

The number of people employed in the property maintenance management industry has increased significantly in the past decade.

The sector now makes up almost 70 per cent of employees in the property industry.

But the number of people employed in development and leasing fell modestly during the 1990-1999 period, according to a report in the Hong Kong Monthly Digest of Statistics.

The report looked at business performance and operating characteristics of the property sector.

Strong demand for maintenance and management services supported the sector's continued growth during the decade, despite the property market's fluctuations, analysts said.

The number of people working in the sector rose by 174 per cent, to 53,280 in 1999 from 19,469 in 1990 - representing an average growth of 12 per cent each year.

There were 465 companies in the maintenance management field in 1999, representing an average annual growth rate of 7 per cent since 1990. The added value by the sector recorded a 374 per cent increase during the 10 years, or an average annual growth of 19 per cent.

Its share of the total number of people working in the property industry increased to 69 per cent in 1999 from 48 per cent in 1990. Its corresponding share in added value increased to 11 per cent from 3 per cent.

Analysts said the growth was best illustrated by the aggressive expansion of property-management divisions within property development firms during the 10-year period.

They included the big guns such as Sun Hung Kai Properties and Sino Land, which have boosted management muscle to take on contracts in both private and public projects.

The development and leasing sector saw its workforce hit a peak of 13,123 in 1997 before falling sharply to 9,464 by 1999. This was a clear reflection of the property market slump following the Asian financial crisis.

Over the 10 years, it represented a 7 per cent decrease against the 10,829 people employed in the sector in 1990.

These people accounted for 12.2 per cent of the industry's workforce in 1999, less than half the level - 26.8 per cent - in 1990.

The added value by development and leasing personnel in 1995 saw its first downturn since 1990 due to a slackening of the property market evident since the second half of 1994.

The market became buoyant in 1996 and 1997. But the added value was down again in 1998 and 1999 due to contraction of property assets. However, during the decade there was a positive annual growth rate of about 3 per cent in added value.

Overall, the property sector contributed HK$86.2 billion in terms of added value, or 7.6 per cent of Hong Kong's gross domestic product in 1999.

There were 6,006 companies in the property industry - of which 60 per cent were engaged in development and leasing. It accounted for 84 per cent of the industry in terms of added value, down from 94 per cent in 1990.

A few companies dominated the property-development industry - measured by the gross floor area of projects completed - with the top 10 developers supplying nearly two-thirds.

Projects developed by the 10 largest developers accounted for 62 per cent of total development in 1998 and 61 per cent in 1999.

The dominance was most obvious in the residential sector. The top 10 companies supplied 68.7 per cent of residential buildings in 1998 and 63.8 per cent in 1999.

They accounted for 33.3 per cent of commercial buildings in 1998 and 44.9 per cent in 1999. Their share of industrial buildings in each of those years was 55 per cent and 70.8 per cent respectively. The government figures showed that the scale of the projects undertaken by the big developers was generally larger than other developers.

Graphic: forc26gwz