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Rising mainland prices and competition from South East Asia mean Hong Kong remains the region's sourcing hub

Published on Saturday, 06 Jun 2015
Athena Tse, director of manufacturing, sourcing and supply chain, Connected Group

Does sourcing have a future in Hong Kong? This is a question frequently asked by people in the industry, from junior merchandisers to managing directors.

After all, the competitiveness of factories in southern China has been eroded by increased costs, an appreciating renminbi and fierce competition from South East Asia.

Job seekers are worried about the future of the industry in Hong Kong and managing directors face difficult choices when determining where they should establish their regional hub.

The answer, however, is a solid ‘yes’. Hong Kong is still the location of choice for newly-established buying offices. Why?

There are three main reasons:

  • Costs. Manufacturing costs and the salaries of sourcing and supply chain specialists are soaring on the mainland. Expat packages and social security costs add to the burden.
  • Mobility. When factories were based in China, it made sense for the buying office to be there too. As manufacturers spread across the region, Hong Kong’s location and well-established infrastructure put it at an advantage.
  • Talent. Some of my clients moved their buying offices elsewhere, but discovered a limited talent pool restricted growth and flexibility.

So how should job seekers in the sourcing industry position themselves and what skills will they need to advance in their careers?

Due to the frequency of communications with global headquarters and suppliers in multiple countries, good English is a must, while cross-cultural skills will set you apart from the competition. Employers now also require sourcing staff to travel frequently to ASEAN manufacturing hubs.


This article appeared in the Classified Post print edition as Sourcing power.

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