Last updated in October 2018
Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, which means that it has no intergovernmental relations with Germany. However, Hong Kong’s legally guaranteed autonomous status, its major economic role in China and its role as a hub for the circulation of goods, services and capital in the region, its large foreign currency reserves and its unique position at the interface between the two systems give it a special significance.
The Government is seeking to diversify its foreign relations, previously oriented towards the UK and North America, thereby underlining the city’s status as an international metropolis and global financial services hub in Asia.
Against this backdrop, Germany is a valued dialogue partner. Since the spring of 2009, Hong Kong has had its own mission in Berlin, the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (HKETO). The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) has a regional office for Europe based in Frankfurt.
There are some 600 German companies, branches and regional offices in Hong Kong, which remains an important gateway to the Chinese market for German firms. Hong Kong is used as a base for doing business not only with mainland China but also with Japan, Korea, South-East Asia, India, Australia and New Zealand. Most of the approximately 4000 Germans living in Hong Kong are businesspeople.
Institutionally, German business can rely on the support of the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce, the German Chamber of Commerce Abroad (AHK), a Germany Trade and Invest (GTAI) correspondent, a German National Tourist Board (GNTP) office, several trade fair associations and the German Consulate General.
Germany is Hong Kong’s most important trading partner in the European Union (ahead of the UK), with bilateral trade worth a total of approximately 8 billion euros in 2017. Germany’s main exports to Hong Kong are automobiles, machinery, electrical and electronic goods, as well as luxury goods and foodstuffs.
There is a growing demand for German products and luxury brands in Hong Kong. Germany is also viewed as a competent partner in the environmental sector. The application of innovative environmental technologies focuses on air pollution control, waste disposal and energy efficiency in buildings.
In 2017, the number of Germans visiting Hong Kong increased by 6 percent over the previous year.
Culture and education
There is very keen demand for the German courses organised by the Goethe-Institut, with some 5000 enrolments annually. As part of cooperation with Hong Kong’s evolving cultural scene, Germany’s highly regarded classical cultural offerings as well as contemporary and avant-garde cultural themes are key elements in efforts to provide a nuanced picture of Germany. As a sophisticated urban centre, Hong Kong offers a wide range of opportunities to fulfil this aim.
Another integral element of Germany’s cultural programme is the annual German-language film week..
The prestigious German Swiss International School (DSIS), which was founded in 1969, has approximately 1300 students spread between its German, English and vocational sections (based on Germany’s dual vocational training system). The DSIS has been certified as an Excellent German School Abroad by a team of inspectors from the German Government and the Länder. In its German section, the DSIS offers the German International Abitur examination (DIAP), the German Realschulabschluss (general education school-leaving certificate after grade 10), the German Hauptschulabschluss (general education school-leaving certificate after grade 9) as well as two vocational business school qualifications. The English section leads to the International Baccalaureate (IB). In higher education, there are around 130 partnerships with German universities.
At the Hong Kong Baptist University, there is a German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Information Centre headed by the DAAD’s lector there.
As part of the Hong Kong Baptist University’s Franco-German European Studies Programme, students of the German section spend a year in Germany studying at a university and completing a work experience placement. Since 2003, it has been possible to major in German at the University of Hong Kong, graduating with a BA in German. A Hong Kong/Germany Working Holiday Scheme enables young people from Hong Kong and Germany to spend a year in the partner territory learning and gaining work experience.
The German Alumni Association Hong Kong (GAAHK) was founded in 2002. With a current membership of around 250, the organisation seeks to cultivate contacts among former scholarship holders and other students. The GAAHK organises a range of activities, working closely together with the German Consulate General and the DAAD.
This text is intended as a source of basic information. It is regularly updated. No liability can be accepted for the accuracy or completeness of its contents.