Hong Kong’s Top 10 Imports

Hong Kong's Top 10 Imports

Junk boat in Hong Kong

Hong Kong imported US$627.3 billion worth of goods from around the globe in 2018, gaining 4.4% since 2014 and up by 6.4% from 2017 to 2018.

Hong Kong imports represent 3.5% of overall worldwide imports which totaled $17.788 trillion one year earlier in 2017.

From a continental perspective, 82.4% of Hong Kong’s total imports by value in 2018 were purchased from Asian countries. European trade partners satisfied 9.3% of import purchases by Hong Kong while 5.6% worth originated from North America. Smaller percentages came from Oceania (1.3%) led by Australia, Latin America (0.8%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, then Africa (0.6%).

Given Hong Kong ‘s population of 7.2 million people, its total $627.3 billion in 2018 imports translates to a formidable $87,000 in yearly product demand from every person in the Chinese administrative territory. Please note that, as a busy trading hub, Hong Kong’s import statistics encompass a considerable amount of re-export activity.

Hong Kong’s Top 10 Imports

Top 10

The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in Hong Kong’s import purchases during 2018. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Hong Kong.

  1. Electrical machinery, equipment: US$327.9 billion (52.3% of total imports)
  2. Machinery including computers: $73.6 billion (11.7%)
  3. Gems, precious metals: $65.5 billion (10.4%)
  4. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $17.5 billion (2.8%)
  5. Mineral fuels including oil: $15.8 billion (2.5%)
  6. Plastics, plastic articles: $9.7 billion (1.5%)
  7. Clocks, watches including parts: $9 billion (1.4%)
  8. Perfumes, cosmetics: $6.7 billion (1.1%)
  9. Meat: $6.4 billion (1%)
  10. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $6.1 billion (1%)

Hong Kong’s top 10 imports accounted for well over four-fifths (85.8%) of the overall value of its product purchases from other countries.

Perfumes and cosmetics represent the fastest-growing import category for Hong Kong from 2017 to 2018, up 27.2%. In second place was mineral fuels including oil which appreciated by 17.3%, followed by imported machinery including computers which gained 17.3%.

There were three decliners year over year, namely imported gems and precious metals (down -8.2%), plastics and items made from plastic (down -6.3%), then meat (down -2.4%).

Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level. Information presented under other virtual folder tabs is at the more granular 4-digit level.

Machinery

In 2018, Hong Kong importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machinery including computers.

  1. Computers, optical readers: US$24.8 billion (up 17.6% from 2017)
  2. Computer parts, accessories: $24.3 billion (up 25.9%)
  3. Turbo-jets: $7 billion (up 32%)
  4. Printing machinery: $4.8 billion (down -2.4%)
  5. Miscellaneous machinery: $1.7 billion (up 6.1%)
  6. Machinery for making semi-conductors: $1.4 billion (up 34.5%)
  7. Air conditioners: $917 million (down -2.4%)
  8. Air or vacuum pumps: $779.6 million (up 2.8%)
  9. Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers): $633.8 million (up 3.6%)
  10. Ball, roller bearings: $481.2 million (up 1.3%)

Among these import subcategories, Hong Kong’s purchases of machinery for making semi-conductors (up 34.5%), turbo-jets (up 32.0%) and computer parts or accessories (up 25.9%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported machinery among Hong Kong businesses and consumers.

Electronics

In 2018, Hong Kong importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of electronic equipment including consumer electronics.

  1. Integrated circuits/microassemblies: US$156.5 billion (up 11.8% from 2017)
  2. Phone system devices including smartphones: $77.1 billion (up 1.5%)
  3. Solar power diodes/semi-conductors: $15.7 billion (up 8.9%)
  4. Printed circuits: $10 billion (up 5%)
  5. Electrical converters/power units: $9 billion (up 1.7%)
  6. Lower-voltage switches, fuses: $7.9 billion (up 3%)
  7. TV/radio/radar device parts: $7.4 billion (down -15%)
  8. Unrecorded sound media: $7.2 billion (up 55.9%)
  9. Electrical capacitators: $6.6 billion (up 35.6%)
  10. Microphones/headphones/amps: $4.3 billion (up 9.2%)

Among these import subcategories, Hong Kong’s purchases of unrecorded sound media (up 55.9%), electrical capacitators (up 35.6%) and integrated circuits or microassemblies (up 11.8%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported electronics among Hong Kong businesses and consumers.

Precious

In 2018, Hong Kong importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of precious metals and gems.

  1. Gold (unwrought): US$23.6 billion (down -19.5% from 2017)
  2. Diamonds (unmounted/unset): $20.9 billion (up 1.8%)
  3. Jewelry: $13.1 billion (up 7.9%)
  4. Platinum (unwrought): $3.2 billion (up 1.4%)
  5. Precious/semi-precious stones (unstrung): $1.4 billion (up 7%)
  6. Silver (unwrought): $917.6 million (up 0.3%)
  7. Precious metal waste, scrap: $805.9 million (down -11.3%)
  8. Synthetic precious stones: $547.6 million (up 155.5%)
  9. Imitation jewelry: $391.5 million (up 4.6%)
  10. Pearls: $256.7 million (down -1.5%)

Among these import subcategories, Hong Kong’s purchases of synthetic precious stones (up 155.5%), jewelry (up 7.9%) and unstrung precious or semi-precious stones (up 7%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported precious metals and gems among Hong Kong businesses and consumers.

MedTech

In 2018, Hong Kong importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of optical, medical and technical equipment.

  1. Liquid crystal/laser/optical tools: US$3.9 billion (down -11.9% from 2017)
  2. Optical fiber cables, sheets, plates: $1.7 billion (down -2%)
  3. Physical/chemical analysis tools: $1.6 billion (up 12.3%)
  4. Electro-medical equipment (e.g. xrays): $1.5 billion (up 13.8%)
  5. Other measuring/testing machines: $1.3 billion (up 9%)
  6. Spectacles, goggles: $1 billion (up 7.8%)
  7. Oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers: $999.5 million (up 23%)
  8. Lenses, prisms, mirrors: $995.9 million (up 25.2%)
  9. Spectacle/goggle frames, mountings: $888.3 million (up 15.5%)
  10. Regulate/control instruments: $784.7 million (down -2.7%)

Among these import subcategories, Hong Kong’s purchases of lenses, prisms and mirrors (up 25.2%), oscilloscopes and spectrum analyzers (up 23%) and spectacle or goggle frames and mountings (up 15.5%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported optical, medical and technical equipment among Hong Kong businesses and consumers.



 

See also Hong Kong’s Top Trading Partners, Hong Kong’s Top 10 Exports and China’s Top Trading Partners

Research Sources:
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on March 17, 2019

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on March 17, 2019

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on March 17, 2019