Tough competition

Hong Kong makes a strong case to be considered the financial center of Asia. Hurrairah bin Sohail takes a closer look at the professional AV scene of the territory and what integrators must do to survive in the competitive environment.

Hong Kong may be small, spanning across just 1,104 square kilometers, but it is a financial powerhouse. A mixture of beneficial government regulations, low taxes and proximity to markets such as China and South East Asia mean that corporations have found their home in the country. A look at its skyline, dotted with skyscrapers housing international corporations, is enough to see why Hong Kong makes a strong case to be considered the financial center of Asia. The country also has a high standard of living and is an established, mature market.

Media-Go Engineering is a system integrator that has been working in the Hong Kong market for slightly over a quarter of a century. Kelvin Leung, the director of sales for Media-Go Engineering, explains their history, which also reflects the changing nature of Hong Kong’s professional AV scene: “In the early years, we worked on a number of commercial projects and then gradually expanded to work in the government sector. Today we work primarily in the public sector, but we are looking to come full circle and expand back into the commercial sector with our earlier clients.”

In the past the corporate sector provided excellent opportunities for growth and delivered a steady stream of projects for system integrators. But as the corporations established themselves in Hong Kong and projects started to plateau other sectors stepped up and filled the void. Leung gives his thoughts: “We are always checking if there are going to be new projects for the banking industry or if there will be any big moves from them in the coming years. At present however we are seeing a lot of projects coming from the government sector.”

Additionally, tourism is also a sector where integrators can find work. Leung talks about the projects currently underway that Media-Go Engineering is involved with: “We are currently working on the expansion of the Hong Kong airport and also working on the new cruise pier.” There are also a number of projects including shopping malls, museums and theaters underway in the West Kowloon area of Hong Kong.

Kelvin also expects there to be a rise in Hong Kong’s population in the coming years. Even though real estate is limited, residential and commercial development will need to occur to support the increased number of people. Kelvin says: “The population of Hong Kong is going to increase and consequently we are looking at more demand for digital signage, lighting control, background music and even more environmental focused work.”

Like any market, Hong Kong has its own special characteristics. Anyone who has been to the territory or seen any of the movies produced by its film industry will know about Hong Kong’s penchant for digital signage, giving Hong Kong its unique neon buzz and glow. Leung confirms the prevalence of visual technologies: “Digital signage is popular but media walls are becoming even more popular nowadays.” This progression can be good for system integrators. He adds: “Generally media walls are bigger projects with bigger revenues as there are opportunities for routing and control.”

However, the life of a system integrator in Hong Kong is hard. Kelvin identifies the high level of end user knowledge as one of the reasons the Hong Kong professional AV market is a tough place for integrators: “Information regarding AV products in easily and quickly available to the end users in Hong Kong. Even if you do not attend the major events you can download the press releases and watch the video clips from the shows. So the end users know the latest technology, they know what the latest products are and they are demanding them.”

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