Made in Hong Kong

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When I was young, all the toys I played with carried the label “Made in Hong Kong”. It conjured up an image of a magical place in the “Far East” which, in my imagination at least, was a giant toy factory. Of course, everything changed in the early 1990s when Deng Xiaopong opened up southern China as a “special economic zone” and the Hong Kong entrepreneurs moved their factories to Guangdong province to take advantage of cheaper labour and low cost land, and Hong Kong was transformed from a manufacturing hub into a financial services centre.

At least that’s what I thought until the US President woke up on 11th August and ordered all of Hong Kong’s US-bound exports to be marked “Made in China”. It made me wonder what is still manufactured in Hong Kong and how the territory would be affected by this. According to Dennis Ng Wang-pun, President of the Chinese Manufacturers’ Association, “there are more than 300 home-grown brands with products ranging from food and pharmaceuticals to jewellery, electric appliances and electronic goods” and “there are more than a dozen new brands coming to the market every year.”

According to the SCMP, “Some iconic Hong Kong names in the food and catering sector that have a presence in the US are Kee Wah Bakery, Maxim’s and Wing Wah Hong Kong. Founded in 1938, Kee Wah is one of the city’s oldest bakeries, known for its traditional Chinese goodies such as pineapple shortbread, cookies and bridal cakes with flaky pastry, as well as lotus seed or bean paste filling. The company told the Post it ships mooncakes, a Mid-Autumn Festival delicacy, to the US, with this year’s batch completed ahead of the deadline. Meanwhile, Wing Wah Hong Kong’s niche as a home-grown bakery can be traced back to its humble beginnings as a tea house in Yuen Long in 1950. Now it sells to 100 countries including the US. It prides itself on the motto: “As long as there are Chinese people around, there will be a Hong Kong Yuen Long Wing Wah Mooncake.” Let’s hope they’re right.


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