That dollar amount results from a 7.4% gain in Hong Kong’s export revenues compared to $569.1 billion during 2018.
From 2021 to 2022, the sales of goods exported from Hong Kong declined by -9% from $672.2 billion.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2022, the Hong Kong dollar has appreciated by 0.1% against the US dollar since 2018 but weakened by -0.7% from 2021 to 2022. Hong Kong’s weaker local currency since 2021 makes exports paid for in weaker US dollars relatively more expensive for international buyers.
Hong Kong’s Best International Trade Customers
The latest available country-specific data shows that 85.7% of products exported from Hong Kong were bought by importers in: mainland China (57.4% of Hong Kong’s total), United States of America (6.2%), India (3.7%), Taiwan (3.3%), Vietnam (2.4%), Japan (2.14%), United Arab Emirates (2.13%), Singapore (2%), South Korea (1.72%), Netherlands (1.67%), Thailand (1.66%) and Germany (1.4%).
From a continental perspective, more than four=fifths (81.4%) of Hong Kong’s exports by value was delivered to fellow Asian countries while 8.8% was sold to importers in Europe. Hong Kong shipped another 7.5% worth of goods to North America.
Tinier percentages went to customers in Latin America (0.9%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, Oceania (0.8%) led by Australia, then Africa (0.6%).
Given Hong Kong’s population of 7.33 million people, its total $611.5 billion in 2022 exports translates to roughly $83,500 for every resident in the Chinese administrative territory. That per-capita metric is lower than the average $90,000 for 2021.
Hong Kong’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Hong Kong global shipments during 2022. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Hong Kong.
- Electrical machinery, equipment: US$371.7 billion (60.8% of total exports)
- Machinery including computers: $82.4 billion (13.5%)
- Gems, precious metals: $68.8 billion (11.3%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $15.7 billion (2.6%)
- Clocks, watches including parts: $7 billion (1.1%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $5.9 billion (1%)
- Collector items, art, antiques: $5.2 billion (0.8%)
- Perfumes, cosmetics: $4.7 billion (0.8%)
- Toys, games: $3.9 billion (0.6%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $3.3 billion (0.5%)
Hong Kong’s top 10 export categories above accounted for 93% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Collector items, art and antiques represent the lone gainer among the top 10 export categories, up by 49.5% from 2021 to 2022.
The severest year-over-year declines were recorded by Hong Kong’s exports of plastics both as materials and items made from plastic (down -35.9% from 2021), toys and games (down -29.7%), then optical, technical and medical apparatus (down -22.2%).
At the more detailed four-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level, Hong Kong’s most valuable exported products are electronic circuits and microassemblies (35% of its total) trailed by phone devices including smartphones (9%). Other major exported goods from Hong Kong include gold (4.9%), computer parts or accessories (also 4.9%), computers including optical readers (4.4%), solar power diodes and semi-conductors (2.9%), unmounted diamonds (2.3%), recorded media such as records and tapes (1.9%), printed circuits (1.7%), then turbo-jets (also 1.7%).
Products Generating Greatest Trade Surpluses for Hong Kong
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.
- Machinery including computers: US$7.5 billion (Down by -39.1% since 2021)
- Toys, games: $757.8 million (Down by -35.6%)
- Glass: $721.8 million (Down by -20.1%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $626.1 million (Reversing a -$509.3 million deficit)
- Special woven/tufted fabric, embroidery: $375.8 million (Down by -5.1%)
- Copper: $227.5 million (Down by -45.3%)
- Books, newspapers, pictures: $207.2 million (Down by -50.6%)
- Other base metal goods: $193.9 million (Up by 34.5%)
- Knit or crochet fabric: $145.7 million (Up by 100.5%)
- Miscellaneous manufactured articles: $77.7 million (Down by -45.2%)
Hong Kong had highly positive net exports in the international trade of machinery including computers in 2022. In turn, these cashflows indicate Hong Kong’s strong competitive advantages under the machinery including computers product category.
Products Causing Greatest Trade Deficits for Hong Kong
Overall, Hong Kong incurred a -$57.6 billion trade deficit for 2022, expanding by 37.7% from -$41.8 billion one year earlier in 2021.
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.
- Gems, precious metals: -US$16.1 billion (Up by 206.5% since 2021)
- Mineral fuels including oil: -$13.7 billion (Up by 28.3%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$4.2 billion (Down by -47.3%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$2.72 billion (Up by 111.1%)
- Perfumes, cosmetics: -$2.69 billion (Down by -16%)
- Organic chemicals: -$2.57 billion (Down by -7.3%)
- Cereal/milk preparations: -$2.56 billion (Down by -41.4%)
- Vehicles: -$2.1 billion (Down by -1.3%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: -$1.8 billion (Down by -16.9%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefabricated buildings: -$1.4 billion (Up by 69.3%)
Hong Kong has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits, notably for precious metal jewelry, gold, unmounted diamonds and platinum under the gems and precious metals product category.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Hong Kong’s competitive disadvantages in the gems and precious metals market, but also represent key opportunities for Hong Kong to improve its position in the global economy through focused innovations.
Major 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 working out of 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)
In macroeconomic terms, total products exported from Hong Kong represent 120.6% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2022 ($507.1 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 120.6% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2022 compares to 137.5% one year earlier. Those percentages suggest a relatively increasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Hong Kong’s total economic performance, albeit based on a short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Hong Kong’s unemployment rate averaged 4.2% in 2022, down from an average 5.175% one year earlier in 2021 according to the International Monetary Fund.
Hong Kong is one of the world’s most powerful trading hubs.
Note that Hong Kong’s export metrics encompass a significant amount of re-exporting activity.
As a Special Administrative “Region” of China, Hong Kong serves as its own capital city.
See also China’s Top 10 Imports, China’s Top Trading Partners, Top Chinese Trade Balances, China’s Top 10 Major Export Companies, Hong Kong’s Top Trading Partners and Hong Kong’s Top 10 Imports
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. Accessed on April 24, 2023
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on April 24, 2023
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (China P.R. Hong Kong Domestic Currency per U.S. dollar, period average). Accessed on April 24, 2023
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on April 24, 2023
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on April 24, 2023
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on April 24, 2023
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on April 24, 2023
Wikipedia, Hong Kong. Accessed on April 24, 2023
Wikipedia, List of companies of Hong Kong. Accessed on April 24, 2023
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on April 24, 2023
Zepol’s company summary highlights by country. Accessed on April 24, 2023