Global Observer

Move over, design week. 2012 is Hong Kong's design year

Move over, design week. 2012 is Hong Kong's design year

Posting in Cities

HONG KONG -- Innovation and technology are on tap for Hong Kong next year -- not just for one week, but all 52.

A concept display at this year's design week

HONG KONG — If Hong Kong’s tourism literature is any measure, the city is Asia’s hub of seemingly everything: wine, art auctions, finance, logistics, conferences, fish trade, fur trade, etc. A Google search reveals that it is looking to become a cruise hub and education hub.

So it is not surprising that it also aims to claim the title of Asia’s design hub. And while other cities tout their design weeks, the Hong Kong government seems to find that seven days is just … too weak. Instead, it has designated 2012 as Hong Kong Design Year.

It is part of the city’s desire in recent years to beef up its identity as a worthy player in the innovation-and-technology sector. Over $6 million has been earmarked for next year’s 30-plus design events and activities.

The lineup of programs is yet to be announced, but one of them has already kicked off. It is an exhibition called Toys Paradise — Creative & Toy Culture of Hong Kong, which will for the next three months display a large collection of vintage toys to show off Hong Kong’s long history as, well, a toy-manufacturing hub.

In 2010, the creative industry contributed about $8 billion, or 4%, to Hong Kong’s GDP — still a modest percentage with room to grow. The city also awaits the completion of its West Kowloon cultural district, a much-contended, large-scale project designated to become its “arts hub.”

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Vanessa Ko

Correspondent (Hong Kong)

Vanessa Ko has written for TIME, South China Morning Post and Phnom Penh Post. She holds degrees from Northwestern University and the University of Hong Kong. She is based in Hong Kong, China. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure