Chamber in Review
Infrastructure Opportunities in the Northern Metropolis
Infrastructure Opportunities in the Northern Metropolis<br/>北部都會區基建機遇

Infrastructure Opportunities in the Northern Metropolis<br/>北部都會區基建機遇

The Northern Metropolis Development Strategy aims to not only reshape Hong Kong’s physical landscape, but also drive the evolution of the city’s business environment to include more technology, innovation and logistics.

The ambitious plan, announced in last year’s Policy Address, will create a new urban core in the New Territories to counter-balance the current Harbour Metropolis. A huge amount of new transport infrastructure will be built, which will facilitate movement between Hong Kong and the rest of the Greater Bay Area (GBA), as well as within the city itself. 

Marcos Chan, Executive Director and Head of Research for Hong Kong at CBRE, introduced members to his company’s latest report on the city’s infrastructure outlook. He first gave an overview of the projects that have been completed in the past few years, such as the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, new MTR lines and stations, and the just-opened extension of the East Rail Line to Admiralty. 

The express cross-border rail link (XRL) is another major piece of the transportation network, although the pandemic has put a pause on its use.

“Travel time to Guangzhou in the past was 2 hours and 10 minutes. With the XRL, this has been reduced to only about 50 minutes,” he said. “This will help a lot with daily travel.”

Besides boosting the city’s transport links, the Northern Metropolis will also address some of Hong Kong’s deep-seated issues, including the lack of space for residential and industrial buildings. 

Chan summarized the three key aims of the plan. First, to resolve the city’s housing shortage and increase home ownership, helping to create a more stable society.

“The second role is very important, which is to expand Hong Kong’s economic base,” he said. “We need to see Hong Kong move beyond what we are already good at, like finance, and encourage the development of more technology and innovation industries.” 

The third role is to facilitate the integration with the rest of the GBA, to enable more cross-border collaboration.

Chan expects to see a gradual shift in the Hong Kong population towards the New Territories as the new developments are built. Most of the residential property in the Northern Metropolis has been earmarked for public housing, so he does not expect it will have a major impact on the private residential market. 

These new communities will be served by new transport infrastructure including roads and railway lines.

“There will be a huge expansion of the existing MTR network in the next 10 to 15 years,” he said. “This will include around 15 new railway lines and over 40 stations, mostly in the New Territories to support the new developments.”

While the first MTR stations won’t start operating until around 2027, in the meantime, there will be new road developments, including a strategic link from Tseung Kwan O to Kowloon East and Kowloon West. 

Putting the scale of the Northern Metropolis plan into perspective, Chan said it is around four times the size of Hong Kong island. In terms of sectors, around 80 million square feet of floor space has been allocated to industry and logistics, and the same to technology and innovation. These two sectors are intended to be the key economic drivers of the Northern Metropolis. 

For logistics, a major development will be at Hung Shui Kiu, which is west of Yuen Long and midway between the airports of Hong Kong and Shenzhen. The strategic location of Hung Shui Kiu means that there are potential business opportunities for hotels and leisure development, Chan said. The San Tin Technopole, meanwhile, will be the key hub for the science and technology sectors. 

“From a holistic point of view, the general commercial space is relatively limited, with around 37 million square feet for general purposes, including office, retail and hotels,” Chan added. “This is not small, but it’s not huge compared to the space assigned to logistics and technology development.”

He does not expect that the Northern Metropolis will lure businesses away from the traditional CBDs in Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, as the new development will focus on technology and logistics. He added that the Government was currently working with the private sector on pedestrian enhancement schemes in Central, Wan Chai, Causeway Bay and Kowloon.

So Hong Kong’s financial hub will likely remain in its current home, Chan said: “Office landlords and property developers don’t have to worry too much from that perspective.”


Over the years, we have helped businesses overcome adversity and thrive locally, in Mainland China and internationally.

If you want to take advantage of our network,insights and services, contact us today.