Kowloon East (KE) is an area comprising the former Kai Tak Airport, the Kwun Tong Business Area and the Kowloon Bay Business Area. This area witnessed the rapid growth of an important industrial base in the heyday of Hong Kong's manufacturing industries, creating some hundred thousands of jobs and propelling Hong Kong's prosperity. Following relocation of the Airport to Chek Lap Kok and our manufacturing base to the Mainland, this area has lost some of its past vibrancy, leaving a huge stock of industrial buildings not being fully utilized. On the other hand, with the booming in Hong Kong's financial and service sectors as well as large numbers of regional headquarters and regional offices of multi-national companies setting foot in Hong Kong, the demand for quality office space can no longer be met by our traditional Central Business District (CBD). Thanks to good market sense and first-mover initiatives of some private developers, high grade office building and retail centres are emerging in KE. About 2.6 million m2 commercial/office floor space has been completed.
The National 12th and 13th Five-Year Plans have given support to Hong Kong's position as an international centre for financial services, trade and shipping, strengthening its global influence as a financial centre. To capitalize on the fast-growing opportunities of the Mainland and to sustain Hong Kong's position and longer term development, a steady and adequate supply of quality office space is pivotal.
In the 2011-12 Policy Address, the Chief Executive announced the adoption of a visionary, coordinated and integrated approach to transform Kowloon East into an additional attractive CBD to sustain Hong Kong’s economic development. This initiative was reiterated in the subsequent Policy Addresses. Specifically, this involves land use reviews, enhanced urban design, and improvement to connectivity and the associated infrastructure.
As promulgated in the 2017 Policy Agenda, the Energizing Kowloon East initiative is extended to San Po Kong, with particular focus on enhancing connectivity, improving the environment, and promoting vibrancy and diversified development.
All industrial land in Kwun Tong and Kowloon Bay was rezoned to "Business" use in 2001, which allows conversion of industrial buildings to office use and redevelopment into commercial/office buildings. In April 2010, the Government introduced measures to revitalize industrial buildings in Hong Kong. By end-March 2018, 42 applications have been approved and executed for wholesale conversion or redevelopment in Kwun Tong and Kowloon Bay under the revitalisation policy for industrial buildings. These industrial buildings will be redeveloped or converted into offices, shops and services, and hotels.
About 2 million m2 of commercial/office space has been planned for within the 320 hectare Kai Tak Development (KTD). Other than the completed Trade and Industry Tower, the government offices in Inland Revenue Tower, Wan Chai will also be relocated to Kai Tak. With some 49,900 public and private housing units, an international cruise terminal, sports and tourism facilities, KTD will inject new developments, vibrancy and diversity into the area. Together with 168 hectares in Kwun Tong and Kowloon Bay Business Areas and the neighbouring San Po Kong Business Area (about 26 hectares), KE has great potential to evolve into a vibrant premier business district in Hong Kong.