Category for HK is dropped from annual awards Hong Kong design standards are now considered good enough to go head to head in competition with Asia-Pacific's best. As a result, for the first time they will no longer feature in a special category in the Hong Kong Designers Association's annual regional awards. Organisers of the awards said the Hong Kong category had been eliminated, with local entries being judged directly against those from across the region. 'We can't be protective all the time,' said Charles Ng Chau-chuen, chairman of the association, which has organised the event since 1976. 'We feel that the standard has reached a level where we are brave enough to challenge others. In this way we can see the strengths and weaknesses of Hong Kong designs. If Hong Kong wants to be the design centre of Asia, this is what we should do.' The head of the event's organising committee, Kelly Sze Ka-lai, admitted there was a risk of Hong Kong entrants walking away empty-handed. 'But we have to face the reality. Competing with international designers helps improve the standard of local designers. We hope this can attract more young talent to take up the challenge.' The competition will be divided into four main categories - graphic, new media, product and spatial designs - with a panel of international specialists judging each one. Mr Ng said Japan was still the region's design leader, especially in the interior and spatial categories. Hong Kong also had to watch out for emerging talent from the mainland and South Korea. 'Because of the increasing commercial activities on the mainland, logo designs by mainland designers have improved a lot. 'Hong Kong is the leading centre for character designs such as action figures, but the whole creative industry in South Korea is becoming powerful,' he said. More than 3,000 entries are expected. The deadline for submissions is July 16, with results to be announced on November 20.