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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Comments • 2 787

  • Vox
    Vox  2 months ago +97

    Want to keep up with the latest from Vox Borders? Sign up for Johnny's newsletter for regular updates:

    • Xuelder
      Xuelder 2 months ago

      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.

    • Mr. Salimi
      Mr. Salimi 2 months ago

      Wuwuwuwuwuwuwuwuwuwu senpai

    • Hudson Bernard
      Hudson Bernard 2 months ago

      Vox The production quality is always well executed using facts.

    • Mike T
      Mike T 2 months ago

      Vox 羊毛フェルト作り方初心者

    • Hovan Ng
      Hovan Ng 2 months ago

      I am from from Hong Kong and you accidentally took a picture of Hong Kong’s burial home!!!!!!!

  • Jason Leung
    Jason Leung 2 days ago

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

  • kolorish
    kolorish 3 days ago +1

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

  • ShtiffleSauce
    ShtiffleSauce 3 days ago

    Today, Neon light. Tomorrow, Cantonese

  • Tactical Player
    Tactical Player 4 days ago

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

  • A Shizuoka
    A Shizuoka 9 days ago

    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???

  • OrionSentry
    OrionSentry 13 days ago

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

  • Howell Wang
    Howell Wang 14 days ago


  • treeman Michael Jacksonn

    Neon light is the 🐐 -TMMJ

  • Thomas TubeHD
    Thomas TubeHD 16 days ago

    Am I the only one who can understand Cantonese

  • Sophia Castano
    Sophia Castano 17 days ago

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

  • Sean Pan
    Sean Pan 17 days ago

    He is no fan of China or Hong Kong.

  • Funky173
    Funky173 18 days ago

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

  • Hong Kong
    Hong Kong 22 days ago


  • Heidi Huang
    Heidi Huang 22 days ago

    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

  • TheShadowParliament
    TheShadowParliament 23 days ago

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

  • T.M. Squirrel
    T.M. Squirrel 24 days ago

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

  • Alex
    Alex 25 days ago

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

  • GunmetalGaming
    GunmetalGaming 27 days ago

    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.

  • Scott Free
    Scott Free 28 days ago

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

  • Maria Ramirez
    Maria Ramirez 28 days ago +1

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

  • ben smith
    ben smith Month ago

    Led sucks!

  • marxist liberal
    marxist liberal Month ago

    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

  • BigDannyK
    BigDannyK Month ago

    Hong Kong - the city that inspired Cyberpunk

  • Firstname Lastname
    Firstname Lastname Month ago

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

  • Aryan Dey
    Aryan Dey Month ago

    Neon is a colour less gas you know.

    BANANA BANANA Month ago

    here's the song, been looking for too long lol

  • Synalla
    Synalla Month ago

    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.

  • niel Gt
    niel Gt Month ago

    Why is the music so loud and distracting? 🤨

  • WhetZaddy
    WhetZaddy Month ago +1

    What's that outro song??

  • Lunatic Lunala
    Lunatic Lunala Month ago

    warning:comment section contains neon jokes.

  • AomiN
    AomiN Month ago

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

  • nerdygal
    nerdygal Month ago

    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!

  • sandy
    sandy Month ago

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

  • sonal narvekar
    sonal narvekar Month ago

    The score from 1.12- 1.26. Amazing

  • João Amorim
    João Amorim Month ago

    Amazing editing!!!

  • What Alien?
    What Alien? Month ago

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

  • David Arango Bermùdez

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

  • Semerah Delima
    Semerah Delima Month ago

    i love this series!

  • smiling_chestnut
    smiling_chestnut Month ago

    This video really popped off

  • Daniel K
    Daniel K Month ago

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

  • Elizabeth T
    Elizabeth T Month ago

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

  • lawrence
    lawrence Month ago

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

  • Literally Felicity
    Literally Felicity Month ago

    Neon lights are very pretty imo.

  • lawrence
    lawrence Month ago

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

  • peter tuann
    peter tuann Month ago

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

  • Saša Stajić
    Saša Stajić Month ago

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

  • Grace W
    Grace W Month ago

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

  • AstroNeón Sideral
    AstroNeón Sideral Month ago

    El neon jamás tendrá rival

  • Oh no it's marshie
    Oh no it's marshie Month ago

    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.

  • Billy Bachiashvili
    Billy Bachiashvili Month ago

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

  • drew t
    drew t Month ago +3

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

  • Aaron Keane
    Aaron Keane Month ago

    Music in this series is really nice!

  • Cancer Alert
    Cancer Alert Month ago

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

  • YamiSpirit
    YamiSpirit Month ago

    Anyone know the song 3:00?

  • Nikola Prolić
    Nikola Prolić Month ago

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

  • YO B
    YO B Month ago +1

    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.

  • Dmitri Spiegel
    Dmitri Spiegel Month ago +1

    Wow, I think those LEDs are really disgusting? I prefer the Neon!

  • Dr. K
    Dr. K Month ago

    China's most iconic aspect?
    Mmhh.. No id say it's the smog of sky pollution

  • The Solar Wolf
    The Solar Wolf Month ago

    The future is not painted in just the glow of neon lights anymore, but in the simmer twinkles of the LED and flashes of a computer screen along with the nostalgic neon glow.

  • VariTimo
    VariTimo Month ago

    It’s not cool to change a movies aspect ratio from its original to 16:9. Not even for a political format.

  • Solomon Tsai
    Solomon Tsai Month ago

    0:22 you literally filmed a funeral home. smh.

  • Camille Lee
    Camille Lee Month ago

    Ughhh the LEDs doesnt have that soft glow when it lights up. Hopefully neon lights will thrive back into the spotlight.

  • The Legend
    The Legend Month ago

    Part of me will always be nostalgic for neon, but it's the past and It belongs there along with VHS players.

  • ElineOpje
    ElineOpje Month ago

    what song is it around 3:10?

  • XM
    XM Month ago

    Tokyo is more mouse for neon lights, they literally call it Neo Tokyo in manga

  • Rodney Jones
    Rodney Jones Month ago

    It's going to be a very sad day the day that neon signs disappear for good and all we will have left are cyberpunk movies and games and city pop music to remember this amazingly beautiful *AESTHETIC* . The nostalgia is will kill so many people. 😭😭😭

  • 05candyman
    05candyman Month ago

    LEDs are brighter, cheaper, more efficient, more versatile, and with a wider range of colours.

    • 05candyman
      05candyman Month ago

      +Countess' Slave I actually like LED alot. Especially gorgeous bright OLED TVs and cellphones.

    • Countess' Slave
      Countess' Slave Month ago

      05candyman and extremely unpleasant and unsatisfying to look at

  • 05candyman
    05candyman Month ago

    I like LED better

  • DJ Danger
    DJ Danger Month ago +2

    The music is dope.

  • Matthew Reeves
    Matthew Reeves Month ago

    Enjoyed the video, but especially wanted to thank you for the larger subtitles. As a visually impaired viewer, that was super helpful!

  • sapphirexwind
    sapphirexwind Month ago

    I had taken some glass classes at a museums glass workshop, they offer a Neon making class, I want to try it. Let's preserve craftsmanship!

  • sexy korean girl
    sexy korean girl Month ago +2

    hong kong is a third rate city now. like all the kong girls

  • Delfim Álvaro
    Delfim Álvaro Month ago

    Damn, Vox. This series is fireeee!

  • Archer V.
    Archer V. Month ago

    for money....

  • The TNTsheep
    The TNTsheep Month ago +2

    Neon lights were great, but we shouldn't linger in the past; instead we should embrace the new.

  • Bruce Chang-Gu
    Bruce Chang-Gu Month ago

    not enough is being said about the extraordinary videography. stunning

  • Dj3ndo
    Dj3ndo Month ago

    Amazing series!

  • Ben Cooper
    Ben Cooper Month ago

    I want a wall of neon signs from hong kong if someone can help me out.

  • penguins forall
    penguins forall Month ago

    Keep in mind a big part of why LEDs are cheap and bright is due to phosphors. Pretty much all the LEDs you can buy use phosphors. Neon lights could similarly use phosphors and make them nearly an order of magnitude more efficiency similar to CFL lamps.

  • loversandlies
    loversandlies 2 months ago


  • DmofukinLee
    DmofukinLee 2 months ago

    using a few of the same shots from last episode RREEEEEEEEE

  • That Girl
    That Girl 2 months ago

    I love neon lights but they’re kinda expensive

  • stjigpaf
    stjigpaf 2 months ago

    what is the intro song?

  • Mari
    Mari 2 months ago

    The editing is amazing

  • juni0rRC xD
    juni0rRC xD 2 months ago

    neon lights? dats racist!

  • John Kevin Brosnan
    John Kevin Brosnan 2 months ago

    You should visit northern ireland and touch their history

  • xMizunderstoodx
    xMizunderstoodx 2 months ago

    What a shame. I will always remember how these neon signs light up the Hong Kong night and skyline.

  • Chris
    Chris 2 months ago +1

    What’s up with all these HK videos lately ?

  • MrHan
    MrHan 2 months ago

    Same reason we don't see Model Ts still running around. They're romantic yes, but we can relegate them to the enthusiasts and hobbyists. There is a place for preservation and conservation but society as a whole needs to move forward.

  • justin chan
    justin chan 2 months ago

    0:30 I’ve been there just yesterday when this comment was made. It is one of the streets in Mong Kok with all the small night shops. I am pretty sure.

  • Ashen One From China
    Ashen One From China 2 months ago

    I think LED can also be made into the forms of traditional Chinese characters, but it will cost a little more money.

  • Billy The-Kid
    Billy The-Kid 2 months ago

    LEDs lightings are more suitable for in house lighting. NEON lights are still more aesthetically pleasing and dramatic for Signages.

  • Derelect
    Derelect 2 months ago

    I want to see a story done on Catalonia in Spain, I think that would be really cool to see.

  • Rick White
    Rick White 2 months ago

    2:45 Neon gas give _YELLOW_ color, just as shown in the video. Not red as stated.

  • Lone
    Lone 2 months ago

    rip aesthetic vibes

  • Shelby Brown
    Shelby Brown 2 months ago

    The editing in the beginning of this video reminds me of 2015-2016 One Direction Vine edits... in a good way.

  • gamekiller999
    gamekiller999 2 months ago

    I live in HK and even thought neon lights are beautiful they are some time annoying cuz the light is very bright and hurt the eye

  • Silvia cabaco
    Silvia cabaco 2 months ago

    Still prefer neons

  • Just Cuz
    Just Cuz 2 months ago

    If only I could find someone to love me the way Master Wu loves Neon! 😍😍