• N45;
  • K42;
  • O34
  • China;
  • Hong Kong;
  • institution;
  • intellectual property;
  • trademark

Hong Kong's development as an industrial exporter was advantaged by a flexible institutional regime, which generated gains from imitation-led industrialisation and which allowed the mobilisation of public and private resources to enable a transition to a more stringent enforcement regime for intellectual property. Fragmentary industrial structures raised monitoring costs for trademark proprietors and gave opportunities for infringers to exploit information asymmetries. However, colonial state building, the formation of specialist markets in knowledge, and collective actions by business groups caused the law to evolve. These overlapping processes of formal and informal institutional change were mutually reinforcing.