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Made in Hong Kong

10 iconic products that are made in Hong Kong

The best things are made right here

Written by
Time Out editors
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Hong Kong was once a manufacturing powerhouse with the ‘Made in Hong Kong’ stamp seen as a mark of quality around the world. While rising costs in the 1980s pushed many companies to relocate their production facilities elsewhere, some products have remained proudly made in this city. From plastic pails to cure-all pills, here are a few of our favourite locally made things.

RECOMMENDED: Be sure to check out these uniquely Hong Kong experiences, or these local cultural gems that are on the brink of disappearing.

Camel vacuum flasks

Camel vacuum flasks

Founded in 1940, Camel is a testament to the innovations of Hong Kong’s golden age of manufacturing. The brand is best known for its pioneering Model 147 – a vacuum flask that features an outer casing toughened by a horizontal groove and several vertical ridges that ran down the sides. Aside from being practical, the flasks look good too, often decorated with floral patterns or bright enamel tones. Camel has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity thanks to a savvy rebranding campaign following its 75th anniversary, proving that it’s a brand that can truly weather the test of time.

Holga camera
Adam.Jenkins

Holga camera

Many might not know this but hipster image-maker the Holga was created and made Hong Kong. The plastic medium-format film camera was invented by Lee Ting-mo in the 1980s and became popular due to its affordability. Known for its ability to create artistically distorted images, the camera also found a cult following after it was picked up by Lomography. Despite its flimsy, toy-like form and functions, the Holga has manged to stay relevant throughout the years, launching a crossover with The White Stripes – which also included a replica of another HK-made camera, the Diana – in 2007, as well as a digital version just three years ago.

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Lee Kung Man undershirts

Lee Kung Man undershirts

Hong Kong once boasted a robust textiles manufacturing industry. While this trade has faced steady decline over the last few decades, a handful of companies still stand to remind us of Hong Kong’s gloried garment-making past. Among these is Lee Kung Man, known for its Golden Deer and Cicada brand of knitted undergarments. Although this 95-year-old company was founded in Guangdong, most of its production took place in Hong Kong, where it was worn by everyone from working-class men and women to Bruce Lee. Today, Lee Kung Man continues to make its simple but sturdy singlets and shirts from its factory in Kowloon.

Nin Jiom Pei Pai Kao

Nin Jiom Pei Pai Kao

Founded in 1946, Nin Jiom is one of the most reputable Chinese medicine manufacturers in Hong Kong. The company is best known for its Pei Pa Kao, a molasses-like syrup that alleviates coughs and soothes scratchy throats. The formula dates all the way back to the Qing Dynasty but its popularity has only waxed since then and has even developed overseas (demand for the syrup skyrocketed in New York this flu season). The classic glass bottle will always be our favourite, but we also love recent releases, such as the single-serving sachets and herbal hard candies.

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Red A plastic homeware

Red A plastic homeware

It’s almost impossible to spend a day in Hong Kong without encountering one of Red A’s products. A brand under Star Industrial Co, Red A (formerly Ace) became a household name when it launched its line of affordable and durable plastic pails in response to citywide droughts in the early 1960s. The brand’s portfolio has since grown to include everything from cups, sauce bottles and water pitchers to stackable stools, crates and even those red lampshades that hang  over butcher stalls at wet markets. Red A still manufactures all its products locally at its famous factory in San Po Kong.

Red White Blue bags
Calvin Sit

Red White Blue bags

Red, white and blue nylon canvas is deeply woven into the fabric of this city. Originally used as tarp at farms and construction sites, the material was transformed into its now-famous carryall form by the owner of Wah Ngai Canvas in Sham Shui Po. Large, light and surprisingly durable, these bags became popular in the 1970s with those who were looking to bring gifts to friends and families living on the Mainland. The stripy design has since become a symbol of Hong Kong and has been riffed off by many brands and artists.

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Po Chai Pills

Po Chai Pills

Po Chai Pills were originally created in 1896 in Foshan in Guangdong before the Communist Revolution caused production to be moved to Hong Kong, where it has proudly remained. Little has changed to the look and formula since. Packed in clear plastic tubes, the pills are made from more than 10 different Chinese medicinal ingredients and are ingested as tiny pellets, which are supposedly easier for the body to absorb than a single large tablet. Despite being more than a century old, these pills are still the go-to remedy for any Hongkonger suffering from an upset stomach, heartburn or other unpleasant ailments.

Two Girls

Two Girls

Founded by one man, this beauty brand – best known for its Florida Water fragrance – dates back to 1898 and was the first of its kind in the city. Two Girls has maintained a vintage aesthetic with its cosmetic products, which harkens back to  its roots.

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Tuck Chong Sum Kee bamboo steamers

Tuck Chong Sum Kee bamboo steamers

The bamboo steamer is a noble thing – the vehicle in which dim sum is born over stoves and transported to tabletops. Most steamers are now mass-produced on the Mainland with the exception of those made by Tuck Chong Sum Kee. Managed by its fifth-generation successor, the Sai Ying Pun store hand-assembles steamers of various sizes and remains a favourite with local restaurateurs as well as tourists looking for an authentic Hong Kong souvenir.

Watermelon ball

Watermelon ball

During the manufacturing heydays of the 1960s and 70s, Hong Kong’s factories pumped out a huge slice of the world’s toys, from robots and rubber ducks to Rubik’s cubes and Barbie dolls. These were made in Hong Kong but often exported to other countries and sold by brands such as Hasbro and Mattel. An exception was the watermelon ball, named after its resemblance to the stripey, spherical fruit. Created in 1959 by industrialist Chiang Chen, these affordable plastic balls were not only made in Hong Kong, but also played with in Hong Kong. A relic from the city’s manufacturing past, this humble toy is also a cherished childhood memory for many who grew up here.

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