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Raising Regional Profile through Hong Kong

Australian architectural design firm Populous looks to broaden its presence in Asia through Hong Kong’s Kai Tak Sports Park project.

Populous might be renowned for its outstanding track-record of delivering world-leading sports and entertainment venues since it began in the late 1980’s, such as Wembley Stadium and Yankee Stadium, but with its expertise in designing large scale sports events, the global architectural design firm has also gained its fame in designing 12 Olympic venues, and working on 14 Winter and Summer Games in the past decades.  

In 2020, Populous was selected as a member of the Kai Tak Sports Park Ltd. team* to create a masterplan for Hong Kong’s Kai Tak Sports Park and develop the former airport site into one of the world’s leading multi-purpose sports and entertainment precincts. Populous’ biggest project in Hong Kong in over 20 years, Kai Tak Sports Park includes a 50,000-seat main stadium, a 10,000-seat indoor sports centre with an arena and retail spaces, and a 5,000-seat public sports ground.   

A strategic location to broaden regional presence  

According to Richard Breslin, Senior Principal & Director, the Kai Tak Sports Park is a unique project for Populous. “In a city where land is scarce and premium, the 28-hectares of land shows the government’s commitment in promoting sports to the general public. Kai Tak Sports Park is a really exciting project from that point of view, and it is an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us to work on this project.” 

Breslin regards Hong Kong as an excellent gateway city for Populous to enter the key markets in Asia. Through the Kai Tak Sports Park, the city has given them an important access to the region, as well as an opportunity to establish a much broader presence in Asia. “Hong Kong brings us closer to other Asian markets, such as Korea and Japan, which we are keen to explore. The opportunity to design Kai Tak Sports Park also helps us to build our presence across the entire region.”

He added, “as for the Mainland Chinese market, we are trying to be more focused on the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA)  and to find out what it means to us in terms of business opportunities. We have invested quite some time over this past year in understanding what that market has to offer, and we will continue to do so.”

A global city with an international talent pool 

Populous currently employs 21 people in Hong Kong, part of the team looks after the regional business development. Breslin remarked that the high quality talent found in Hong Kong are especially valuable to the company. “Hong Kong has an incredible depth of talent which carries practical experience and solid education background. We are lucky to attract talent who has worked or studied overseas, with an international and diverse background.” 

Breslin appreciated InvestHK for the support. He concluded, “we love the InvestHK team as they are always there for us. They engaged with us right from the start, inviting us to various conferences, offering opportunities to meet various people, and giving advice around the GBA and other markets. Their support has provided great access for us.”

* Kai Tak Sports Park Ltd is a subsidiary of New World Development Company Limited and NWS Holdings Limited established specifically for the project. Its project team comprises overseas and local experts experienced in design, construction, venue management, sales and marketing, and retail and operation: Hip Hing Engineering, ASM Global, Populous, SportFive, Arup and Simon Kwan & Associates Ltd.

11.10.2021

Fast Facts

  • Populous came to Hong Kong in 2019 and opened their first office here for the Kai Tak Sports Park project
  • Other projects in Hong Kong include the Hong Kong Jockey Club and the original Hong Kong Stadium
  • Its office locations in APAC include Hong Kong, Beijing, Tokyo, Bangkok, Singapore, New Delhi, Melbourne and Sydney, with the regional headquarters Brisbane

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