The Hon Martin Foley MP - travel report Hong Kong (PR China) 5 - 8 December 2018


Martin Foley MP


Creative Industries

Countries visited

Hong Kong (PR China)

Date of travel

5-8 December

No of official travel days
(including date of departure and date of return)
Number of accompanying Ministerial Staff1
Accompanied by spouse in an official capacityNo
Funding sourceDepartment of Jobs, Precincts and Regions
Air fares (including taxes and fees)$24,878.28*
Accommodation (including taxes and fees)$4,957.56*
Other expenses (includes surface travel and travel allowances)$1615.54*
Travel cost for minister and staff$31,451.38*

*The above costs are not final and complete

Purpose of travel

During this official visit to Hong Kong, I led Victoria's trade mission at Hong Kong Business of Design Week (BODW), where Melbourne featured as the partner city. Melbourne's partner city initiative allowed me to lead Australia's largest ever design (and creative industries) trade mission and the largest partner country or city delegation ever to Hong Kong BODW, with more than 220 Victorian designers from more than 100 organisations, institutions and businesses from across the spectrum of design disciplines.

The partnership with BODW has opened new opportunities for Victoria's design sector to make important connections in Hong Kong and beyond, to develop new professional partnerships and grow the 27% of Victorian design firms that currently export. As a direct result of participating in the 2018 trade mission, design businesses have reported $3.16 million in expected new sales over the next 12-24 months, and more than 300 new business leads. These outcomes, amongst many other positive outcomes from the partner city initiative, are a strong demonstration of the benefits supporting trade missions and international opportunities for creative industries can bring.

During BODW, I attended official events with the delegation and senior members from Hong Kong Design Centre and Hong Kong Trade Development Council. I also attended an important meeting about the Greater Bay Area initiative with the Governor of Victoria and senior Hong Kong government representatives to discuss implications and opportunities for Victoria arising from this emerging initiative. The delegation also participated in business networking and business matching events, site tours, conference sessions and seminars, all of which focused on expanding business networks and developing new trade and export opportunities.

Benefits of travel to the State of Victoria 

Benefits from this travel include the elevated international profile of Victoria's design sector, generation of new exports and sales, and new collaborations and partnerships that will bring long term gain to Victoria. The new collaborations have the potential to grow jobs and exports for our design sector as well as new opportunities for Victorians to be recognised and sought out as experts for future input to initiatives in the Greater China market.

The Melbourne design presence in Hong Kong was well represented across three sites; a design exhibition within the DesignInspire expo, a fashion showcase at 7 Mallory Street Wan Chai and a retail presence at PMQ (a premier design precinct in Hong Kong), all of which highlighted the breadth, depth and world-class capability of Victoria's design sector to a large international audience.

Creative State 2016-2020 sets out a five-year plan for developing and growing the creative industries sector. International engagement is highlighted as a priority platform for sector development within Creative State, and key actions to grow international engagement and opportunities include leading targeted trade missions to key markets to grow trade and jobs; and Victoria showcases, to showcase the very best of Victorian creative industry talent at key international events. The BODW 2018 trade mission and broader presence in Hong Kong throughout December contributed significantly to both these key actions.

Victoria's design sector is regarded as an international design leader

The Victorian presence in Hong Kong was significant this year, with more than 220 designers present, three sites promoting Victorian design excellence and innovation and 35 Victorians featured in the Business of Design Week, DesignInspire and Fashion Asia speaker programs and delivering masterclasses at design institutions.

The Melbourne Pavilion, designed by DesignOffice, was the centrepiece of the DesignInspire exhibition, and attracted more than 300 guests at the opening. At the opening of the Melbourne Pavilion, I spoke about the importance of promoting Victorian design to a global audience, and of the new opportunities such international initiatives may bring. The Melbourne Pavilion housed an exhibition curated by the National Gallery of Victoria which featured 130 exemplars of Victorian design, including Nuraphone, International Indigenous Design Charter, Facett modular hearing aid, Nightingale 1 and Blackmagic Cinema Camera.

Victorian fashion designers were showcased at the 'Melbourne Fashion Showcase', with 89 designers included in the exhibition. This exhibition featured three focus areas:

  • Recognition – a showcase of high quality indigenous design
  • We are Luxury – an exhibition of luxury, couture and high-end fashion and accessories
  • Emerging designers – showcasing works from Kangan Institute, RMIT and the Australian Fashion Council.

The fashion exhibition was complemented by a pop-up retail presence for the Australian Fashion Council at PMQ, a design precinct in the centre of Hong Kong.

Victorians featured prominently in the main BODW conference program, as well as the satellite design programs, DesignInspire and Fashion Asia. The 35 Victorians featured are all regarded as leaders in their respective fields, and delivered seminars and masterclasses showcasing and highlighting their individual expertise and drawing attention to the collective Victorian design excellence on show in Hong Kong. Topics covered in the speaking program varied from liveability and sport, to design disruption, to design and technology.

Supporting creative industries in international markets can build trade and export outcomes

BODW is a high profile international design event, which focuses on and discusses design as integral to improved social, economic and environmental outcomes. Melbourne is the first southern hemisphere partner for the event, placing it in the company of renowned design centres like the United Kingdom, Italy and Denmark.

During the week, Victoria's delegation undertook a program of site visits, business matching and networking events in addition to conference sessions and seminars.

More than 70 individual business matching meetings were facilitated for the trade mission delegates, with 300 new business leads reported, and development of new collaborations and export opportunities from these meetings. To date, participants have reported projected new business or sales of more than $3.16 million in the next 12-24 months. In addition to this projected new business, a significant investment proposal is in progress. 

Three business networking events were hosted in Shenzhen and Hong Kong, bringing together more than 180 guests and trade mission delegates to meet in an informal environment to make new business connections and promote business capabilities.

Site visits to Tencent, Hong Kong Planning Department, Steve Leung Group, West Kowloon Cultural District, Tai Kwan and the new Express Rail Terminal in West Kowloon (amongst others) exposed the delegates to large scale projects and businesses all using design principles to enhance consumer and user experience, create liveable and functional precincts, and deliver impressive new commuter and transport hubs. Business briefings provided by industry leaders including Urbis/Cistri and Studio Ongarato provided important background information and context on industry trends, business environment and how to build links with Hong Kong based businesses.  

Creative State recognises design as one of Victoria's most important sectors – as a creative tool and as one of Victoria's fastest growing creative sector exports. The strategy outlines actions to elevate Victoria's reputation as an international design leader, as well as develop our design sector's export capabilities. Currently, 27% of Victoria's design sector exports, with one-third of these exporting their services to China including Hong Kong. As demonstrated through the new business or sales projections, the partnership with Hong Kong BODW has provided a strong foundation for our design sector to grow exports to this important market and jobs in Victoria.

Next Steps / Follow Up

The next steps to ensure the benefits of this travel are realised include:

  • Co-ordinating targeted inbound design trade missions to Melbourne Design Week and Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival to consolidate new business relationships, build export potential and follow up on leads generated.
  • Plan smaller targeted design-related outbound trade missions to Hong Kong and mainland China to provide more market exposure, generate new business opportunities and build on the relationships formed during this trade mission.
  • Creative Victoria to work closely with design industry associations to develop new ways to promote the sector's expertise and capability, generate new export and job opportunities both here and internationally.
  • Creative Victoria to work closely with the sector and Victorian Government Trade and Investment Offices in HK, Chengdu, Beijing and Shanghai (all of which were represented in the Victorian presence at BODW and facilitated opportunities for the delegation) to grow the reported (expected) sales and exports and realise opportunities arising from the new business leads generated. The VGTIOs have established a strong local network of businesses and organisations seeking design expertise and products, and working closely with them to leverage these relationships and opportunities will grow Victoria's creative industry exports into this important market and region.

Page last updated: 26 February 2019