Fish and seafood sector profile Hong Kong and Macao

Industry highlights

$500 billion estimated

Hong Kong's GDP in 2022.

$68,800 estimated

Hong Kong's GDP per capita in 2022.

$4.4 billion

Total fish and seafood import to Hong Kong in 2022.

$166.5 million

Canada's 4th largest destination and Hong Kong's 6th largest country supplier for fish and seafood in 2022.

Hong Kong and Macao are two Special Administrative Regions (SARs) of China with their own food laws and import control regimes. Home to populations of 7.5 million and 678,800, respectively, Hong Kong and Macao import large amounts of fish and seafood products due to both high demand and relatively small and diminishing local fishing industries.

Macao imports largely through Hong Kong due to a more sophisticated logistical and cold chain infrastructure. Competition in Hong Kong and Macao is fierce as they are basically free markets without import tariffs nor consumption taxes for fish and seafood products. However, there are some import restrictions on certain products from individual regions or countries due to hygiene or food safety concerns.

Hong Kong does not set specific regulatory control nor import license requirements on fish and seafood products. In order to meet sanitary inspection or sampling on a risk assessment basis as well as requirement of local hotel buyers, local suppliers are still encouraged to obtain health certificates issued by health authorities of the countries of origin (i. e., Canadian Food Inspection Agency's Certificate of Origin and Hygiene (CFIA/ACIA 5003) for Canadian fish and seafood products) for shipments aimed at local consumption.

Macao, however, requires a mandatory sanitary inspection on fish and seafood. Local suppliers should apply for an import license and pre-book an inspection time prior to each shipment arrival. Sanitary or health certificates issued by authorities of countries of origin are mandatorily required.

Both authorities in Hong Kong and Macao carry out random inspections on the fish and seafood sold in the open markets to ensure its product quality complies with the food safety regulations along the supply chain.

Retail pack and canned fish and seafood products have to comply with respective food labelling laws in Hong Kong and Macao.

In 2022, mainland Chinese exports comprised 34.1% of Hong Kong's fish and seafood market, becoming the lead suppliers of shrimp, freshwater fish, scallops (including dried ones), dried abalone, dried sea cucumber, squid, oysters and crab. Japan has the second largest market share at 13.4%, comprised of dried abalone, dried sea cucumber, scallops (including dried ones), oysters, shrimp, cod, salmon, sardine and squid. Vietnam shared 4.8% of the market, exporting shrimp, crab, dried sea cucumber, dried abalone, scallops and oysters. Norway and Australia ahead Canada share 4.7% and 4.3% respectively.

Canada captured 3.3% of Hong Kong and Macao market shares in 2022 respectively.

Top Canadian exports to Hong Kong directly were live glass eels ($77.1 million), frozen lobster ($18.1 million), live lobster ($15.5 million), live geoduck clams ($15.5 million), frozen crab ($9.4 million) and frozen cold-water shrimp ($4.6 million) in 2022.

Data of shipping through Hong Kong to Macao is not available. However, Canadian exports to Macao directly were live geoduck clams ($442,000), frozen sea cucumber ($72,000) and fresh sea urchin roe ($32,000) in 2022 as publicly indicated.

Key opportunities for Canadian fish and seafood companies in Hong Kong and Macao

  • No import tariff
  • No consumption tax
  • Minimal local fisheries and aquaculture
  • High spending power
  • Safe, healthy and quality diet
  • Retail, small or convenience portion
  • Purchasing and transshipment hubs
  • Traditional species
  • Non-traditional species
  • Lower priced species
  • Sustainable species

Notable challenges for Canadian fish and seafood companies in Hong Kong and Macao

  • Global and local economic downturn
  • Consumption pattern change
  • Strong competition
  • Supply inconsistency
  • Marketing inadequacy

Hong Kong and Macao business landscape

Hong Kong is a common law legal system and Macao is a civil law tradition.

Official written languages in Hong Kong and Macao are Chinese and English, with English as the common language in business transactions. Cantonese, Putonghua and English are fluent in the business communities.

Foodservice and retail including e-commerce are key sales channels in Hong Kong. As for Macao, hotel and restaurant groups are the focus of the fish and seafood industry.

Local fish and seafood industry practitioners are using more WhatsApp and WeChat to complement e-mail.


Hong Kong and Macao are open markets. They are attractive to Canadian fish and seafood suppliers who are prepared to face global competition by committing appropriate price quotes, quality selection, supply capacity, format and sustainability requirements to secure local buyers' purchasing decisions for domestic markets or regional sales channels.

For more information on fish and seafood industry in Hong Kong and Macao, please contact Kitty Ko (, Trade Commissioner, at the Consulate General of Canada in Hong Kong and Macao.

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