With a population of nearly 7 million, limited land, and the 4th highest population density in the world, Hong Kong is quickening its steps to improve its infrastructure. Various projects covering many different sectors are either underway or planned for the next few years. The train and subway systems will expand into Western and Southern Hong Kong Island and parts of Northeastern New Territories. Highway infrastructure will be further developed with the construction of the Stonecutter’s Bridge and the Zhuhai-Macau Bridge. Large new districts will also be built in Southeastern and Western Kowloon and will eventually house world-class sporting, cultural, commercial and residential facilities. Furthermore, skyscrapers will continue to compete to dominate the Hong Kong skyline, replacing older buildings in Hong Kong’s less-developed areas. Indeed, there is immense potential for U.S. companies to enter the Hong Kong market and to play a significant role in the development and construction of Hong Kong’s infrastructure.
Hong Kong has a population of nearly 7 million, which is expected to increase to 7.8 million by 2020 and 8.4 million by 2030. Its population density of 6,410 people per km2 is the fourth highest in the world. An additional 28 million visitors per year also adds tremendous need for new transportation, commercial and leisure facilities in the city. However, Hong Kong still faces a lack of commercial, residential and recreational facilities, and this will be addressed by the Hong Kong Government in the coming years. The Hong Kong Government is planning major changes to road systems to resolve the problem of traffic congestion in the city. Regional connectivity and transportation systems will also be strengthened in order to make Hong Kong more accessible from China and Macau.
In order to cope with Hong Kong’s increasing population, the Hong Kong Government has planned to expand the current ‘New Towns’ in the New Territories of Northern Hong Kong, such as Tai Po, Sha Tin and Tuen Mun. More public housing is expected to be built, and more land is expected to be available for auction and property development. Also, the Government has planned for new residential buildings in New Development Areas (NRAs) such as the Southeast Kowloon (Kai Tak) District. There is also heavy demand for luxury residences, including townhouses in suburban parts of Hong Kong and top-class apartment buildings in downtown areas.
Regional Transportation Infrastructure
Hong Kong’s public transportation system is highly developed and extremely efficient. All urban areas and most rural areas are accessible by more than one mode of public transportation. However, the problem of traffic congestion still persists; traffic jams are common on freeways and most downtown roads are often packed with cars and buses. As a result, the Hong Kong Government has built the Stonecutter’s Bridge, which serves as a shortcut from Kowloon to the New Territories, and is planning new roads and tunnels in Central to alleviate traffic. Furthermore, the planned Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, will drastically reduce the driving time from Hong Kong to Macao from 4.5 hours to 40 minutes. In addition, three railway lines are to be built in Hong Kong – the Shatin to Central Link, the Southern Line and the Western Line. There will also be a high-speed railway line between Hong Kong and Guangzhou in Guangdong, China. A new cruise terminal will also eventually be built in the Kai Tak District.
In order to further strengthen Hong Kong’s reputation as a melting pot of different cultures and religions, the Hong Kong Government has been planning the development of the West Kowloon Cultural District. This district will be built mainly on reclaimed land off the southwestern tip of Kowloon and will house a world-class theater, museums, concert hall, and other facilities for artists.
Sports and Leisure
Since being awarded the hosting rights for the 2009 East Asian Games, Hong Kong has stepped up the development of its sports facilities. Hong Kong has only one large stadium, the 40,000-seat Hong Kong Stadium. Other stadiums such as the Mong Kok Stadium and the Siu Sai Wan Stadium hold 8,500 and 11,000 people respectively. As a result, the Government has planned to build a new sports hub in the heart of the Kai Tak District, which will house two world-class stadiums with various supporting facilities for athletes and public use. Hong Kong’s successful bid to host the East Asian Games in 2009 adds urgency to the development of facilities in this sector.
By Jonathan Hui