The decline of Hong Kong's iconic neon glow

Published on Aug 8, 2018
Neon is fading.
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Master Wu started making neon signs in the ’80s and has been filling Hong Kong’s streets with bright neon signs ever since. But recently, Master Wu has seen his business slow down as brighter-burning and more energy-efficient LED signs emerge. In addition to getting fewer requests, Hong Kong’s iconic neon landscape is also losing thousands of signs per year, ushering in the end of the city’s neon era.
As Hong Kong’s neon lights start to fade, I spent some time with Master Wu at his neon shop, where he showed me how he makes neon signs, and took a look at Hong Kong’s changing cityscape.
Vox Borders is an international documentary series by Emmy-nominated producer Johnny Harris exploring life at the edge of nations. For more, visit
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    • I loved this video, but I have a "weird" question: what was the font used at the beginning to spell Hong Kong? I would love to use it in my projects.

    • Wuwuwuwuwuwuwuwuwuwu senpai

    • Vox The production quality is always well executed using facts.

    • Vox 羊毛フェルト作り方初心者

  • So sad. It’s happening everywhere in the USA too. Things with character are being replaced by things with efficiency and no soul. And most importantly: No fun.

  • I was trying to find some Neon underglow for my car, but you can’t even find them anymore. The market has been taken over by LED’s.

  • Yes. Neon lights are gorgeous. And yes. LED are nicer to environment. But! Don’t forget that LED is the worst kind of light for our eyes - and brains. And not just for us but also for all animals

  • Just a comment, your translation of Cantonese is on-point.

  • Random but props to the one editing the intro. Damn it is so coooool

  • You should have shown the boat restaurant near Aberdeen Marina Club!! It's so lit up

  • Sesnei Wu. "You're not our master."

  • Please Thai language sub

  • Love your work. Keep it up!

  • Great content, love the music too.

  • My opinion: Hong Kong is still Hong Kong. Despite of the transformation of economic environment from industries, to financial centre, the flavour of Hong Kong still remains!!

  • Vox sucks

  • This is the best series on Vox!

  • Neon is way better

  • So sad to see the end of such a visually symbolic era...sort of like bull fighting in parts of Spain. But the arguments against it are pretty valid as @Adora Tsang mentioned. Clearly the business interests were given more priority than quality of life with no downtown to escape from. I just ordered a neon Hand Made Dumpling Sign on Ebay for my living Room so neon can live on in spirit and trade without affecting anyone else.

  • Why your video SOOOO GOOD! Thanks for your video!


  • That's why anime like ghost in the shell or psycho pass city was inspired of this

  • The editing in this series, especially this video is incredible! Not even mentioning the quality of the content! I really hope VOX gave this guy a raise!

  • I liked the more serious topics you seemed to tackle in season one... Budget cut for this season? I am disappointed in all of the HK stories in a row. Still a good show but noticeable drop off from last year.

  • Stan blade runner

  • lol just pull a Germany and subsidize them shits

  • A E S T E T H I C C

  • Japanese Mango

  • Neon somehow looks better than LED

  • Did it just say 32 hkdollars

  • FFS Johnny every Vox's Border intro is so good I aspire to be an editor ! PS: Keep up the show or else...

  • love the vox opening

  • I wish that I could go back to a time where Neon signs lit up the night sky, and just walk around marveling at them with friends... I was unfortunately born too late to experience such a thing...

  • As a Torontonian I think I'd be driven insane by all that bright artificial lighting at night and so much of it too

  • Neon lights are a classic in hongkong in my opinion

  • I have went to Hong Kong 5 times in my life time and I’m only 10 and yup the neon lights is iconic in Hong Kong and snap a pic for now and it’s good for pictures and for aesthetic purposes so u can post a pic for insta or two

  • Neon light has big maintenance cost, it wills break easy. and it works in high voltage. consume huge power.

  • Good riddance.

  • “Visual culture” god I’ve never heard something more pretentious

  • Beautiful video with great information

  • Hong Kong??? What about las vegas???🤔

  • The world is not what it used to be,charles..


  • imagine letting master who watercool your pc

  • Lmao sucks for him another example or product development and the disruption of an industry. You just gotta adapt

  • I must say, Hong Kong is a fascinating city

  • Neon > LED

  • Nice to know my hometown inspired the aesthetics of Cyberpunk and other sci-fi subcultures, gotta love that aesthetic.

  • 1:10 someone knows where the red sign is located?

  • Today, Neon light. Tomorrow, Cantonese

  • Ok vox but should I chose neon or led kit for a car?

  • This series is alright, but I hate the walking and talking shots. Where is he even supposed to be going?? What are you in such a hurry for???

  • Hong Kong would be a great city , if it weren't for those Super Rude Hong Kong People. Ching Chong Ling Long Ting Tong

  • 白皮猪根本不懂中国历史,中国的发展经历了多少困难。

  • Neon light is the 🐐 -TMMJ

  • Am I the only one who can understand Cantonese

  • There is a definite rise in neon lights in Austin, TX, especially on SOCO. I just love them.

  • He is no fan of China or Hong Kong.

  • The edit is awesome! I love this video so much I may learn something of the transition.

  • :(

  • I remember seeing this when I went back to China last year..... in Chinese and when I went to China everywhere there are neon lights but the ones in Hong Kong are definently the most beautiful

  • Everything that has even a smudge of unique beautiful individuality is slowly being replaced with soulless mass produced rubbish.

  • stumbled across this channel. glad I did. Great presentations, great presentor/narrator, please make more!

  • vox in 10 years "The re-rise of Hong knogs iconic neon glow."

  • Neon almost always looks cooler lol. Thankfully in Philadelphia where I go to school A LOT of new highrises are built with neon lights integrated into their exterior walls, very cool and futuristic.

  • Cant beat neon, Only the remarkable signs should be saved.

  • I always thought Japan was known for it's neon lights Anyways i like the neon lights better

  • Led sucks!

  • Oh the chinese commies r making LEDs to take down poor innocent neon lights of hong kong.. 😂🤣 this dude is a capitalist stooge and is only propping up capitalist propaganda against socialists

  • Hong Kong - the city that inspired Cyberpunk

  • Why is Vox rooting for neon lights so much? Is it a fetish they have?

  • Neon is a colour less gas you know.

  • 4:50 here's the song, been looking for too long lol

  • The music you keep using for the Borders series is not only painful to hear in its composition, but also ridiculous in volume compared to the dialogue--the part that is IMPORTANT and NECESSARY. Your taste in indie music may be too distracting and painful, and that's your choice, but the volume levels need to emphasize the voices and make them heard. Otherwise, I have no incentive to watch your crap if I can't hear what you want to tell me. Borders isn't the only perpetrator of this terrible volume dynamic, but it is the worst. Please stop this. Believe it or not, I came to these videos for what you have to say, not for ear-grating crap that I didn't consent to or expect from the title or thumbnail.

  • Why is the music so loud and distracting? 🤨

  • What's that outro song??

  • warning:comment section contains neon jokes.

    • silly jokes? neon of that you find here

  • yeah, because the growing population living in cages is really worried about old, inefficient lamps being replaced with LEDs 😒

  • I love this. Love the way Johnny creates his videos. The filming, the narrating style, the atmosphere he creates, it's just amazing. Vox Borders is undoubtly my favourite series in the entire channel. Keep up the awesome work!

  • kudos to the video editor... the transitions in the beginning + the music was so good

  • The score from 1.12- 1.26. Amazing

  • Amazing editing!!!

  • What does health have to do with removing neon lights??

  • What's that beat at the end? Anyone please?

  • i love this series!

  • This video really popped off

  • Guys have a look at the neon museum in Warsaw Poland - really awesome!

  • now i wanna go to Hong Kong to take pictures of the aesthetics

  • Why not use LED in a tube with a diffuse filter? Kinda like those lightsabers theyve been making recently

  • Neon lights are very pretty imo.

  • Wow that hipster vlogger whip editing was god awful. Please stop

  • I approve, the streets are less cluttered, saving electricity,

  • I find Neon light better for many reasons. It's just iconic

  • Does anyone know the name of the song at the end? The outtro ?

  • El neon jamás tendrá rival

  • I actually feel bad for the people who lives in the building or across where all the neon lights or led lights are hung. Good luck having a dark enough environment to sleep in with all those lights shining through.

  • That intro and the music in satisfying!! I love your work Vox!

  • There's nothing more amazing than a really beautiful neon sign.

  • Music in this series is really nice!

  • Why not just use handcrafted tools out of stone again, because it's more of a "craft"?

  • Anyone know the song 3:00?

  • 0:12 nice combination of future bass and neon theme! Love it 👍

  • i was doing that for almost a year in Ethiopia. i used to be a neon Bender. old memory! now am a scrolling LED expert. as much as i hate to say this, eventually we have to move on and adapt the future.