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 • 2 839

  • Vox
    Vox  5 months ago +120

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

    • Rafael Sanchez
      Rafael Sanchez Month ago


    • Xuelder
      Xuelder 5 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 5 months ago

      Wuwuwuwuwuwuwuwuwuwu senpai

    • Hudson Bernard
      Hudson Bernard 5 months ago

      Vox The production quality is always well executed using facts.

    • Mike T
      Mike T 5 months ago

      Vox 羊毛フェルト作り方初心者

  • Neo Craft
    Neo Craft Day ago

    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.

  • Christian
    Christian 4 days ago +1

    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.

  • Jelka Fabianova
    Jelka Fabianova 6 days ago

    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

  • Viktor Ko
    Viktor Ko 11 days ago

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

  • Calista Zhu✨
    Calista Zhu✨ 12 days ago

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

  • Alex Katz
    Alex Katz 17 days ago

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

  • Saiba Dean
    Saiba Dean 17 days ago

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

  • Chinglong Yao
    Chinglong Yao 18 days ago

    Please Thai language sub

  • L Y
    L Y 25 days ago

    Love your work. Keep it up!

  • Oliver S.
    Oliver S. 25 days ago

    Great content, love the music too.

  • Cujo19760210
    Cujo19760210 25 days ago

    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!!

    NPC FORTCRAFT 29 days ago

    Vox sucks

  • Kieran Bajpai
    Kieran Bajpai 29 days ago

    This is the best series on Vox!

  • Whole lotta Gang shit
    Whole lotta Gang shit 29 days ago

    Neon is way better

  • Rather-B-Diving
    Rather-B-Diving Month ago

    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.

  • JH.Light
    JH.Light Month ago

    Why your video SOOOO GOOD! Thanks for your video!

  • gepoepd
    gepoepd Month ago


  • Nothing More Nothing Less

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

  • duokvalgyt
    duokvalgyt Month ago

    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!

  • Ryan Jones
    Ryan Jones Month ago

    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.

  • Michel 14
    Michel 14 Month ago

    Stan blade runner

  • Peter Greve
    Peter Greve Month ago

    lol just pull a Germany and subsidize them shits

  • adrian blade
    adrian blade Month ago

    A E S T E T H I C C

  • adrian blade
    adrian blade Month ago

    Japanese Mango

  • Ki Rex
    Ki Rex Month ago

    Neon somehow looks better than LED

  • First Last
    First Last Month ago

    Did it just say 32 hkdollars

  • Amer Raz
    Amer Raz Month ago

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

  • Noe
    Noe Month ago

    love the vox opening

  • over00lord Unknown
    over00lord Unknown Month ago +1

    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...

  • 1234
    1234 2 months ago +2

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

  • shai pasasadaba
    shai pasasadaba 2 months ago +3

    Neon lights are a classic in hongkong in my opinion

  • Alice Is kawaii
    Alice Is kawaii 2 months ago

    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

  • John Wong
    John Wong 2 months ago

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

  • HebaruSan
    HebaruSan 2 months ago +1

    Good riddance.

  • Cactus Jack
    Cactus Jack 2 months ago +1

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

      TOLSTOI Month ago

      based Mick foley

  • Bryan William
    Bryan William 2 months ago

    Beautiful video with great information

  • FaceAche
    FaceAche 2 months ago

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

  • FaceAche
    FaceAche 2 months ago

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

  • jacksonville 123
    jacksonville 123 2 months ago +1


  • Kevin Mai
    Kevin Mai 2 months ago

    imagine letting master who watercool your pc

  • Derek Liu
    Derek Liu 2 months ago

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

  • Darth Utah 66
    Darth Utah 66 2 months ago

    I must say, Hong Kong is a fascinating city

  • right eye
    right eye 2 months ago

    Neon > LED

  • Jason Leung
    Jason Leung 2 months ago

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

  • kolorish
    kolorish 3 months ago +1

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

  • ShtiffleSauce
    ShtiffleSauce 3 months ago

    Today, Neon light. Tomorrow, Cantonese

  • Tactical Player
    Tactical Player 3 months ago

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

  • A Shizuoka
    A Shizuoka 3 months 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 3 months 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 3 months ago


  • treeman Michael Jacksonn

    Neon light is the 🐐 -TMMJ

  • Thomas TubeHD
    Thomas TubeHD 3 months ago

    Am I the only one who can understand Cantonese

  • Sophia Castano
    Sophia Castano 3 months ago

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

  • Sean Pan
    Sean Pan 3 months ago

    He is no fan of China or Hong Kong.

  • Funky173
    Funky173 3 months ago

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

  • Hong Kong
    Hong Kong 3 months ago


  • Heidi Huang
    Heidi Huang 3 months 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 3 months 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 3 months ago

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

  • Alex
    Alex 3 months ago

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

  • GunmetalGaming
    GunmetalGaming 3 months 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 3 months ago

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

  • 마리야ᄏᄏᄏ
    마리야ᄏᄏᄏ 3 months ago +3

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

  • ben smith
    ben smith 3 months ago

    Led sucks!

  • marxist liberal
    marxist liberal 3 months 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 3 months ago +3

    Hong Kong - the city that inspired Cyberpunk

  • Firstname Lastname
    Firstname Lastname 3 months ago

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

  • Aryan Dey
    Aryan Dey 3 months ago

    Neon is a colour less gas you know.

    BANANA BANANA 4 months ago +1

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

  • Synalla
    Synalla 4 months 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 4 months ago

    Why is the music so loud and distracting? 🤨

  • WhetZaddy
    WhetZaddy 4 months ago +3

    What's that outro song??

  • Lunatic Lunala
    Lunatic Lunala 4 months ago +1

    warning:comment section contains neon jokes.

      TOLSTOI Month ago

      silly jokes? neon of that you find here

  • AomiN
    AomiN 4 months ago

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

  • nerdygal
    nerdygal 4 months 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 4 months ago +1

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

  • sonal narvekar
    sonal narvekar 4 months ago

    The score from 1.12- 1.26. Amazing

  • João Amorim
    João Amorim 4 months ago

    Amazing editing!!!

  • What Alien?
    What Alien? 4 months ago

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

  • David Arango Bermúdez
    David Arango Bermúdez 4 months ago

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

  • Semerah Delima
    Semerah Delima 4 months ago

    i love this series!

  • smiling_chestnut
    smiling_chestnut 4 months ago

    This video really popped off

  • Daniel K
    Daniel K 4 months ago

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

  • Elizabeth T
    Elizabeth T 4 months ago

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

  • lawrence
    lawrence 4 months ago

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

  • Literally Felicity
    Literally Felicity 4 months ago

    Neon lights are very pretty imo.

  • lawrence
    lawrence 4 months ago

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

  • peter tuann
    peter tuann 4 months ago

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

  • Saša Stajić
    Saša Stajić 4 months ago

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

  • Grace W
    Grace W 4 months ago

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

  • AstroNeón Sideral
    AstroNeón Sideral 4 months ago

    El neon jamás tendrá rival

  • Oh no it's marshie
    Oh no it's marshie 4 months 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 4 months ago

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

  • drew t
    drew t 4 months ago +6

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

  • Aaron Keane
    Aaron Keane 4 months ago

    Music in this series is really nice!

  • Cancer Alert
    Cancer Alert 4 months ago

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

  • YamiSpirit
    YamiSpirit 4 months ago

    Anyone know the song 3:00?

  • Nikola Prolić
    Nikola Prolić 4 months ago

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

  • YO B
    YO B 4 months ago +2

    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.