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Market structure of the construction industry in Hong Kong


  • Yat-Hung Chiang
  • Bo-Sin Tang
  • Wing-Yu Leung


This study examines the market structure of four different sectors within the construction industry in Hong Kong. Market concentrations, expressed in terms of Herfindahl-Hershamann indices (HHIs) and number equivalents (HNEs), are calibrated for the top five contractors and compared with those of the local property industry. The study reveals the following ascending order of market concentrations: private building, public building, property development, and civil engineering. Our explanation is that technological and capital requirements have imposed a strong barrier to entry into the civil engineering sector, resulting in a concentrated market. Conversely, the lack of technological demand and supply in the private building sector has led to easy market entry and exit. Building contractors thus compete intensely on cost reduction rather than technology improvement, leading to poor construction safety and product quality. The paper concludes that the Government, being a major client of construction works and regulator of the industry, can assume a more active role in promoting the overall competitiveness of indigenous local contractors in Hong Kong.

Suggested Citation

  • Yat-Hung Chiang & Bo-Sin Tang & Wing-Yu Leung, 2001. "Market structure of the construction industry in Hong Kong," Construction Management and Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(7), pages 675-687.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:conmgt:v:19:y:2001:i:7:p:675-687
    DOI: 10.1080/01446190110067046

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Baumol, William J, 1982. "Contestable Markets: An Uprising in the Theory of Industry Structure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(1), pages 1-15, March.
    2. Michael Ball & Mahtab Farshchi & Maurizio Grilli, 2000. "Competition and the persistence of profits in the UK construction industry," Construction Management and Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(7), pages 733-745.
    3. Patricia M. Hillebrandt, 1984. "The Construction Industry," Palgrave Macmillan Books, in: Analysis of the British Construction Industry, chapter 1, pages 1-8, Palgrave Macmillan.
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    Cited by:

    1. Charles K. Leung & Kelvin S. Wong, 2004. "The Construction and Related Industries in a Changing Socio-Economic Environment: The Case of Hong Kong," International Real Estate Review, Global Social Science Institute, vol. 7(1), pages 139-170.
    2. Chien-An Wang & Chin-Oh Chang, 2008. "Is It a Heavy Log that Broke the Camel’s Back? Evidence of the Credit Channel in Taiwan’s Construction Industry," International Real Estate Review, Global Social Science Institute, vol. 11(1), pages 38-64.
    3. Kunhui Ye & Weiyan Jiang & Liyin Shen, 2008. "Project competition intensity (PCI) in the construction market: a case study in China," Construction Management and Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(5), pages 463-470.
    4. Vitezić Vanja & Srhoj Stjepan & Perić Marko, 2018. "Investigating Industry Dynamics in a Recessionary Transition Economy," South East European Journal of Economics and Business, Sciendo, vol. 13(1), pages 43-67, June.

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