The rapid development of manufacturing in the 1950s was made possible by immigrant Chinese industrialists, mainly from Shanghai, who brought with them technology and capital. Foreign investments soon began to flow in to tap the huge supply of cheap labour and relatively cheap raw materials available in the surrounding region. Most industry has been confined to the urban areas, especially in the densely populated districts of Kowloon. With the development of industrial and other new towns, manufacturing began to disperse into Kwun Tong, Tsuen Wan, Tuen Mun, and other areas.
In 1977 the Hong Kong Industrial Estates Corporation was established to develop and manage industrial estates that would accommodate high-technology industries, first on reclaimed land in Tai Po and later in Yuen Long.
Manufacturing, once the most important sector of the Hong Kong economy, has been overshadowed by the vast service sector; manufacturing now constitutes only a tiny fraction of the gross domestic product and employs only a slightly higher proportion of the labour force. Textile and clothing production is the leading manufacturing activity and contributes about one-third of the value of domestic exports.
The electronics industry is the second largest export earner. There are some heavy industries such as shipbuilding and repair and aircraft engineering. Steel rolling, production of machine parts and plastics, and cement manufacturing serve local needs.
Since 1969 Hong Kong has emerged as one of the major financial centres of the Asia-Pacific region, despite the fact that it is without the services of a central bank. The regional government delegates the functions of such an institution to the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and to selected commercial banks. In addition to the licensed banks in the region, there are representative offices of foreign banks, including registered deposit-taking companies. Domestic and international currencies are traded at the Hong Kong foreign-exchange market. The stock market attracts investment from both foreign and domestic sources. Some of its major shares are also traded on the London stock market.
A gold bullion market, once the world’s largest, is operated by the Chinese Gold and Silver Exchange Society. The lack of exchange controls has contributed to the success of Hong Kong as a financial centre. Britannica "Hong Kong" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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