HK green products have edge on mainland

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 October, 2011, 12:00am

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Hong Kong may be best-positioned in the mainland's booming green product market as locally made food and related products not only enjoy higher demand than those produced over the border but also have price competitiveness against foreign products.

A survey conducted by the Trade Development Council has found mainland consumers are willing to pay up to 11 per cent more for environmentally friendly products made in Hong Kong when choosing between them and unfriendly ones.

Green products made on the mainland had to be priced within 6 per cent of non-green ones to attract consumers. Green products made overseas carried the greatest margin, at 16 per cent.

'Although demand for overseas green products is the highest, their prices are usually two to three times higher than non-green items because their products were charged with high import tax,' said TDC economist Alice Tsang. This means they are more expensive than the 16 per cent mainland customers are willing to pay.

'Hong Kong has an edge in this regard as locally made products are tax-free in China under the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement.'

Ahead of a Hong Kong trade fair on eco-friendly products, and Guangdong's first green product trade show starting next month, the TDC polled 2,400 consumers from six mainland cities in June on their spending pattern on environmentally friendly products, such as food, clothing and electronic gadgets.

Ninety-five per cent of the respondents said they have bought green-labelled food, while 90 per cent have purchased energy-efficient appliances like power-saving light bulbs - a big hit on the mainland. The time frame for having made the purchases varied but extended to three years.

Nearly three in five said they had bought clothing made from natural materials and 53 per cent were interested in natural skin products. Less than half have spent money on green household cleaners. Among the food categories, parents are willing to pay the highest margin - 19 per cent - on green baby food.

Consumers also named a number of eco-friendly products they would like to try - including solar-powered re-chargers and water boilers, and mobile phone cases made from environmentally friendly material, Tsang said. 'At present, only a tenth of products sold in the retail market are eco-friendly products, and most of our respondents said they have only started buying these items in the past three years, so there is huge room for future development,' she said.