Since its expansion on the occasion of the Handover, this prominent city landmark has been a state-of-the-art events complex as well as an architectural marvel.
More than 5 million visitors attend events at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre every year. Over 1,200 events are held every year at the complex, making use of nearly 100,000 square meters (1 million square feet) of exhibition and meeting space. This gigantic complex is one of the most ubiquitous features of Hong Kong’s cityscape today, although no one can quite agree on what it looks like.
The centre was originally built in 1988, with a rather unremarkable design, but a huge and controversial expansion was unveiled in 1997. The new structure was supposed to represent a bird in flight, but critics have said that it looks more like a giant cockroach. You can make your own call on the resemblance.
The centre’s unveiling was a highlight of the Handover in 1997, when the 99-year British lease of Hong Kong Island expired and Hong Kong became a Special Administrative Region of China. The huge exhibition complex was host to a series of lavish celebrations, which were attended by global leaders and celebrities. Now it remains an icon of the city, a glittering landmark that is visible from Victoria Peak, the harbour and everywhere in between.
Visitors can admire the centre’s distinctive architecture close up. See the curved rooflines and large windows facing over the harbour: these features integrate Chinese principles of feng shui to create a unique aesthetic for this modern facility. Head up to the top floor for memorable views of Victoria Harbour. Stay for dinner at one of the complex’s many diverse eateries, many of which remain open through the evening.
The Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre is located in the north of Wan Chai, easily accessible by public transport. It is usually open for normal business hours. Individual events often have restrictions or entrance fees, but access to the complex is free of charge.