Department of Mechanical and Aerospace EngineeringINTRODUCTION
Mechanical engineering has evolved from the traditional railway engines of the days of George Stephenson to the broadest discipline in technology and engineering in this new era. This makes mechanical engineering a profession that has been constantly in demand over the last thirty years in Hong Kong, irrespective of the economic situation. The key employment sectors for mechanical engineering graduates are:

  • Transportation systems (air, sea, land)
  • Energy (power generation, renewable energy, new  products, energy management, environment)
  • Building and Infrastructure  (building  services, E&M  Systems)
  • Design and Manufacturing (electronic  packaging, automation  systems)
  • Others (strategic business analysis, start-ups)

Distribution of Full-time and Self-employed Undergraduate Graduates
(2010 Graduate Class) by Employment Sector

Transportation systems (air, sea, land)
Strong demand in the aviation industry, in particular China, in aeroplane design, parts manufacture, aircraft maintenance, and engine maintenance. There are a number of opportunities for undergraduates to gain exposure to this industry:
The career pathway will lead to positions such as aircraft engineers, first officers, pilots. Most of these positions require licensing from appropriate authorities. The leading companies that employ HKUST ME graduates include:
“Certificates of Competency and Licensing for Marine Engineer Officers Determinations” as published by the Hong Kong SAR Government Marine Department. To join the industry, it is necessary for students to join the engineer cadet scheme. Hong Kong Government is actively supporting the scheme with a Sea-going Training Incentive Scheme. There are major shipping companies in Hong Kong that hire and train Hong Kong sea-going engineers.

As a qualified marine engineer with a Class 2 Certificate, which could take about five years after graduation, one can continue to work on board or on shore. This will open up to jobs in power companies, classification societies (Lloyds’ Register, Det Norske Veritas(DNV), Bureau Veritas (BV), American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), etc. ), shipping companies and the Marine Department. The Hong Kong shipping register is among the top five in the world.

List of Classification Societies

Hong Kong Shipowners Association

Hong Kong has a very efficient transportation system with mass transit railways, buses, minibuses and taxis forming the core components. Operators such as the MTR Corporation Limited and the Kowloon Motor Bus Company offer the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers recognized Scheme A training positions to mechanical engineering graduates. The MTR Corporation is building five new lines in Hong Kong and is a multinational company running mass transit operations in Hong Kong, Sweden, UK, Beijing, and Shenzhen. On top of that, there are a lot of opportunities for the development of electrical vehicles such as the joint development between BYD, the Hong Kong Automotive Parts and Accessory Systems R&D Centre (APAS) and the Hong Kong Productivity Center at the Hong Kong Science and Technology Park.

Energy (power generation, renewable energy, new products, energy management, environment)
Power Generation
Hong Kong power companies are outstanding employers, providing excellent training for mechanical engineering graduates through the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers recognized Scheme A training program. They also provide internship and scholarship programs to support selected mechanical engineering students interested in the power generation industry. These companies are no longer just operating locally but are spreading their wings in the region to places including China, South East Asia, Middle East and Australia. The key companies are:
Renewable Energy
Green energy supply is vital to the future sustainable development of our community. It is also a global trend to develop renewable energy sources such as solar energy, wind power, and biomass energy supply. There are also energy storage systems under development to enhance the use of energy in buildings. For instance, China Light and Power Company Limited have set up a new entity CLP Renewables to focus its development of  renewable energy.  Likewise, Hong Kong Electric Company Limited’s holding company, Power Assets Holdings Limited, is expanding its portfolio into the renewable energy sector. New developments such as that of DuPont Apollo, which is a joint development on solar energy technology with the Hong Kong Government funded HKUST’s wholly owned Research Center Nano and Advanced Materials Institute Limited, are gradually developing in Hong Kong to provide mechanical engineering graduates with new challenging opportunities.
New Products
Mechanical engineers participate in new product development in the energy section, such as portable power systems (batteries, fuel cells), electric vehicles, solid state lighting (LED lighting). These aspects are covered by a broad range of manufacturing companies in Hong Kong and in the Pearl River Delta. Just to illustrate the case, the following are typical companies:
There are plenty of opportunities for HKUST graduates to develop new energy products and become successful entrepreneurs. 

Building and Infrastructure
Building Services
Building services typically covers ventilation and air conditioning, fire engineering, water and sewage systems, electrical and IT networks, and lighting in buildings. Mechanical engineers participate in the design, construction, management and maintenance of, all theses as well as lifts and escalators, indoor air quality and acoustics systems of buildings.  In Hong Kong, mechanical engineering graduates have to take a conversion course (M.Sc. course) in order to practise as a professional building services engineer. There are a total of 61 HKIE scheme A training places in the building services sector(BSS). The employers are typically consulting engineers and contractors.
E&M Systems
E&M systems stands for electrical and mechanical systems. It is a core area in mechanical engineering that covers construction (e.g. roads, bridges, buildings), water supply, sewage treatment, incineration, waste treatment, transportation systems, mining, off-shore operations, subsea operations, power generation and distribution, environmental, equipment and product manufacturing.  The infrastructure part is closely related to building services engineering. The operation also covers energy audits and low-carbon design. There are a total of 57 HKIE Scheme A training places in the E&M systems sector (MCL). The employers are typically consulting engineers, contractors, equipment manufacturers and utilities companies.

Design and Manufacturing
Electronic Packaging
Electronic packaging is a sophisticated industry involving the packaging of semiconductors and LED products, and the manufacturing of related items. It is strongly related to materials development and manufacturing. HKUST has attained international recognition for its research in this particular area. Our students work internationally for companies such as Intel, Nokia, Microsoft, Apple, Philips, NXP, and ASM. Notably ASM Pacific Technologyis a local company that employs a huge number of HKUST graduates. The company is the largest electronic packaging equipment manufacturer in the world. Compass Technology is another company that is a world leader in the manufacturing of flexible substrates. Opportunities are also available in the Applied Science and Technology Research Institutewhich was set up by the Hong Kong Government to conduct R&D projects in support of the computer and information technology industries.
Precision Engineering and Automation Systems
This is a sector that is undergoing an evolution at the moment. In the eighties and nineties, Hong Kong’s manufacturing industry moved north to take advantage of the low labour cost and the Pearl River Delta has emerged, in the last decade, as a world manufacturing hub with a comprehensive supply chain for a lot of industries such as telecommunications, electronics, tooling and medical devices. Now, the manpower in the Pearl River Delta has-started to catch up with its speedy development and the manufacturing companies are now looking at automation as a  corner-stone to maintain their competitiveness. Some of the companies such as ASM Pacific Technology, SAE Magnets (H.K.) Limited, and Belton Technologyhave long taken automation as the platform on which to develop their manufacturing capability. The precision requirements for products in these companies are sometimes down to the nanometer level and special skill is needed to design and fabricate systems that can meet that level of precision. In the coming decade, there will be a continuous demand for graduates with a strong background in precision engineering and automation.

Material Science and Engineering
Materials Development and Testing
In most of the high technology related jobs, a strong background in material science and engineering is needed as new materials, such as coating materials and new functional materials are constantly being developed for targeted applications. In wind power engineering and aerospace engineering, composite materials form the backbone to improve the efficiency of the systems. In automotive engineering and consumer electronics, coating materials are key to the protection and aesthetic design of the products. Functional materials are vital to the design of energy storage systems such as batteries and fuel cells. Mechanical engineers play a central role in the development, manufacturing and testing of these new materials. Career opportunities will be available in companies such as DuPont Apollo, Applied Science and Technology Research Institute, Advanced Photoelectronic Technology Limited, ASM Pacific Technology, SAE Magnets (H.K.) Limited, and Belton Technology.