In 2010 Hong Kong was the UK’s 18th biggest export market for food and non-alcoholic drink products. Those exports increased 36% from 2009. Notable areas of growth were meat and dairy products.
Food and Drink Sector in Hong Kong and Macao
Hong Kong is a wealthy, cosmopolitan city, with many upmarket restaurants and food retailers. Hong
Kongers are generally keen to try out new cuisines. Macao has a thriving hospitality industry with several 5
star resort hotels.
Hong Kong has one of the highest GDPs in Asia and Hong Kong consumers are amongst the
most discerning and wealthy in the world. Hong Kong is a very cosmopolitan centre, with many
upmarket restaurants and food retailers. Hong Kongers tend to be well travelled and keen to
experience new cuisines. There is also a large, diverse expatriate population in the territory.
Eating out with friends is a popular and regular pastime and corporate hospitality is an important
feature in the business world. The cosmopolitan environment also means that international food
and beverage products are in demand for consumption in the home. Due to its geographical
location at the heart of Asia Pacific, Hong Kong also serves as a re-export hub for China and
other Asian markets, with the potential to reach far beyond Hong Kong’s 7 million consumers.
In 2010 Hong Kong was the UK’s 18th biggest export market for food and non-alcoholic drink
products. Those exports increased 36% from 2009. Notable areas of growth were meat and dairy
In the first six months of 2011, Hong Kong remained the UK’s 18th largest export market for
food & non-alcoholic drinks, with a year on year increase of 27%. Meat and cereals were two of
the largest categories of exports during that period.
Although a much smaller market than Hong Kong, Macao has been developing rapidly for a
number of years, since the liberalisation of the gaming industry and the opening of several new
resort hotels. Gaming revenue now exceeds that of Las Vegas, and Macao’s GDP per head now
exceeds that of Hong Kong. The food and hospitality industry in Macao has grown rapidly
alongside the gaming industry.
ξ High quality confectionery and biscuits
ξ British products unique to the local market aimed at British expatriates or Hong Kong
residents who have lived in the UK
ξ Sauces and flavourings, including herbs and spices
ξ Beer, Whisky and Spirits
ξ Tea, coffee and soft drinks
ξ High quality meats (including beef) and seafood products
ξ Dairy Products
ξ Organic and Fair Trade Products
Latest export opportunities – Food & Drink
Latest export opportunities – Hong Kong
Getting into the market
For food and drink products for the food service sector, or for both food service and retail, the
most popular route to market is to appoint a distributor based in Hong Kong. UKTI Hong Kong
has successfully helped many UK food and drink exporters to find suitable distributors.
Hong Kong is a duty free port, and import and export licence requirements are minimal. Import
duties apply only to tobacco and spirits. There are general labelling requirements for pre-
packaged food – the name of the product, list of ingredients, use by or best before date
(day/month/year), statement of specific conditions of storage or instructions for use, name and
address of manufacturer or packer, and the count, weight or volume, should all be listed, in either
English or Chinese or both.
Since 2010, additional regulations have been in place relating to the nutritional labelling of pre-
packaged foods. Most pre-packaged foods must carry a nutritional label meeting specified
requirements although some exemptions do apply. UKTI Hong Kong can provide further details.
There is also a requirement for health certification for certain products including meat and dairy
and regulations regarding products using additives (preservatives, colouring and artificial
sweeteners). Some restrictions still remain in place for imports of British beef.
More about doing business in Hong Kong
Market intelligence is critical when doing business overseas, and UKTI can provide bespoke
market research and support during overseas visits though our chargeable Overseas Market
Introduction Service (OMIS).
To commission research or for general advice about the market, get in touch with our specialists
based overseas - or contact your local international trade team.
ξ Caroline Sprod, Assistant Trade Commissioner, British Consulate-General Hong Kong.
Tel: +852 2901 3360 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
ξ Timmy Lau, Trade Adviser, British Consulate-General Hong Kong. Tel: +852 2901 3178
or email: email@example.com
Contact your local international trade team
UKTI runs a range of events for exporters, including seminars in the UK, trade missions to
overseas markets and support for attendance at overseas trade shows.
Latest events – Food & Drink
Restaurant and Bar Hong Kong 2012
Date: 11-13 September 2012
Website address: www.restaurantandbarhk.com
Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Fair 2012
Date: 8-10 November 2012
Website address: www.hktdc.com/hkwinefair
More about OMIS and other UKTI services for exporters