Water was causing a flood of
problems on northern Hong Kong
Island—prompting a HK$3 billion
project by the local government.
The goal is to improve drainage by
creating an 11-kilometer (7-mile)
tunnel with 34 intakes designed to
intercept runoff and discharge
water into the sea.
The project’s first tunnel-boring
machine, measuring 8 meters ( 26
feet) in diameter and 170 meters
(558 feet) in length, began operating in March.
Given the project’s central location, the government seemed keenly
aware of the need for stakeholder
“The construction sites are situated within the hub of
the city and close to residential and commercial districts.
This presents great challenges with the construction
works,” Lau Ka-Keung, the director of drainage services,
said at the launch ceremony. “To shorten the construction
period with a view to reducing construction nuisance to
the public, the contractor is required … to deploy two
tunnel-boring machines to carry out the tunnel construction simultaneously.”
In addition to alleviating flood risk, the project may
give a short-term boost to the local economy, providing
400 jobs at its onset and about 1,000 when it reaches
peak work levels.
Still, global economic pressures have affected
project rollouts in Hong Kong. Nearly 20 percent of
the city’s private development projects have been on
hold since September 2008. By April 2009, the construction industry’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment
rate reached a 33-month high of 11. 2 percent.
Hong Kong’s government isn’t sitting idle. In an April
press release, Secretary for Development Carrie Lam
said the government’s annual expenditure in capital
works projects increased significantly, jumping from
HK$23 billion in the 2008-09 fiscal year to HK$39.3 billion
in the next.
“In the current 2009-10 legislative session, we expect
that funding applications for about 100 projects worth
more than HK$100 billion will be submitted to the legislative council for approval … We estimate that about 47,100
job opportunities will be provided in 2009-10, representing an increase of 11,800 jobs over 2008-09,” she said.
On many levels, Hong Kong remains a separate
entity from mainland China, but the two powerhouses have strengthened their economic ties in
recent years. More than one-third of the firms
listed on Hong Kong’s stock market are headquartered in mainland China, for example.
“The central [Chinese] government has
shown it is strongly supportive of Hong Kong's
continued economic development and prosperity,
and is willing to take active steps to stimulate
growth,” said Ronald Arculli, chairman of the
Hong Kong Stock Exchange, in a speech earlier
In May, China added new provisions to the Closer
Economic Partnership Arrangement that will increase
the ability of Hong Kong-based banks to provide
services in mainland China.
That link to China can pose challenges, though.
“The availability of hundreds of thousands of project
managers in China demanding a much lower fee than
their counterparts in Hong Kong has forced project
managers to increase their value to the business,” says
Sylvain Gauthier, PMP, owner of Protrain Corp., which
has offices in Hong Kong and Beijing, China.
Project managers now need to think in terms of
delivering business value, he says.
“That means getting involved with why we are doing
this project from a business perspective. [The project
manager should ask], ‘What do I need to deliver in
terms of business results, increased revenue, margin
improvement, cost reduction?’ and ensure that these