Hong Kong’s Top 10 Exports

Hong Kong's Top 10 Exports

by Flagpictures.org

Formerly a British Empire colony and now formally called the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong shipped US$550.2 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2017.

That dollar amount reflects a 2.8% gain since 2013 and a 6.5% increase from 2016 to 2017.

Based on estimates from the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook, Hong Kong’s exported goods plus services represent 191.9% of Hong Kong’s total economic output or Gross Domestic Product. Please note that the overall value of exported goods and services includes a sizable share of re-exports. The analysis below focuses on exported products only.

From a continental perspective, over three-quarters (77.1%) of Hong Kong’s exports by value were delivered to Asian countries while 11.3% were sold to European importers. Hong Kong shipped another 8.8% worth of goods to North America.

Given Hong Kong’s population of 7.2 million people, its total $550.2 billion in 2017 exports translates to roughly $76,500 for every resident in that country.

Hong Kong’s unemployment rate was 2.9% as of February 2018 compared to 3.3% in January 2017, according to Trading Economics.

Hong Kong’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Hong Kong global shipments during 2017. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Hong Kong.

From the more detailed four-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level, Hong Kong’s most valuable exported products are electronic circuits and microassemblies trailed by mobile phones, gold, computer parts or accessories, computers and diamonds.

  1. Electrical machinery, equipment: US$281.7 billion (51.2% of total exports)
  2. Gems, precious metals: $87.2 billion (15.8%)
  3. Machinery including computers: $67.5 billion (12.3%)
  4. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $17 billion (3.1%)
  5. Plastics, plastic articles: $10.6 billion (1.9%)
  6. Clocks, watches including parts: $8.4 billion (1.5%)
  7. Toys, games: $7.3 billion (1.3%)
  8. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $7.1 billion (1.3%)
  9. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $6.6 billion (1.2%)
  10. Leather/animal gut articles: $4.8 billion (0.9%)

Hong Kong’s top 10 exports accounted for 90.1% of the overall value of its global shipments.

The toys and games category placed first among the fastest-growing top products, up 28% from 2016 to 2017.

In second place was machinery including computers via a 10.2% gain, followed by optical, technical and medical apparatus which rose 9.8% in value then electrical machinery and equipment’s 8.5% improvement.

Knitted or crocheted clothing and accessories led the decliners, down by -8.7% year over year.


The following types of Hong Kong product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.

In a nutshell, net exports represent the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.

  1. Gems, precious metals: US$15.8 billion (Down by -6.5% since 2016)
  2. Machinery including computers: $4.7 billion (Up by 33.8%)
  3. Toys, games: $1.5 billion (Up by 15.6%)
  4. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $1.1 billion (Down by -16.5%)
  5. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $926.9 million (Down by -13.8%)
  6. Glass: $658.7 million (Up by 182%)
  7. Special woven/tufted fabric, embroidery: $446.8 million (Up by 6.6%)
  8. Books, newspapers, pictures: $432.4 million (Down by -19.5%)
  9. Other base metal goods: $287 million (Up by 6.9%)
  10. Plastics, plastic articles: $271 million (Down by -62.5%)

Hong Kong had highly positive net exports in the international trade of gems and precious metals in 2017, particularly gold. In turn, these cashflows indicate Hong Kong’s strong competitive advantages under the gems and precious metals category.


Overall Hong Kong incurred a -$39.6 billion trade deficit for 2017, a 29.6% expansion from -$30.5 billion in red ink during 2016.

Below are exports from Hong Kong that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Hong Kong’s goods trail spending on foreign products by importers in Hong Kong.

  1. Electrical machinery, equipment: -US$22 billion (Up by 27.6% since 2016)
  2. Mineral fuels including oil: -$11.9 billion (Up by 29.7%)
  3. Meat: -$3.4 billion (Up by 5.9%)
  4. Vehicles: -$2.9 billion (Up by 3.8%)
  5. Perfumes, cosmetics: -$2.7 billion (Up by 7.6%)
  6. Fish: -$2.6 billion (Down by -2.8%)
  7. Beverages, spirits, vinegar: -$2 billion (Up by 8.3%)
  8. Fruits, nuts: -$1.9 billion (Up by 2.1%)
  9. Aircraft, spacecraft: -$1.7 billion (Up by 36.4%)
  10. Dairy, eggs, honey: -$1.3 billion (Down by -26.9%)

Hong Kong has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for electrical machinery and equipment including consumer electronics.

These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Hong Kong’s competitive disadvantages in the international electronics market, but also represent key opportunities for Hong Kong to improve its position in the global economy through focused innovations.


Hong Kong Export Companies

Fifty-eight corporations based in Hong Kong ranked on the Forbes Global 2000. Below is a sample of the major Hong Kong companies that Forbes included:

  • Belle International Holdings (clothing, footwear)
  • China Agri-Industries (diversified chemicals)
  • China Mengniu Dairy (food processing)
  • Chow Tai Fook Jewellery (clothing accessories)
  • Citic Pacific (iron, steel)
  • CNOOC (oil, gas)
  • Lenovo Group (computer hardware)
  • Michael Kors Holdings (clothing accessories)
  • TPV Technology (computer storage devices)
  • ZTE (communications equipment)

According to global trade intelligence firm Zepol, the following are smaller exporting firms from Hong Kong:

  • E Bo Toys (tricycles, other wheeled toys)
  • Fine Ceramic (ceramic kitchenware/tableware)
  • Forever Bright Lighting (chandeliers, light fittings)
  • Perfect Electronic (burglar/fire alarms)
  • Wieson Technologies (electric switches, protectors, conductors, connectors)

As a Special Administrative “Region” of China, Hong Kong has no capital city per se.

Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level.

See also Hong Kong’s Top Trading Partners and Hong Kong’s Top 10 Imports

Research Sources:
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on March 26, 2018

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on March 26, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on March 26, 2018

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 26, 2018

Wikipedia, Hong Kong. Accessed on March 26, 2018

Wikipedia, List of companies of Hong Kong. Accessed on March 26, 2018

Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 26, 2018

Zepol’s company summary highlights by country. Accessed on March 5, 2016