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Implementation of web‐based construction project management system in China projects by Hong Kong developers

Andy K.D. Wong (Department of Building and Real Estate, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong)
Rong Zhang (Department of Building and Real Estate, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong)

Construction Innovation

ISSN: 1471-4175

Article publication date: 11 January 2013




This paper aims to identify the challenges of Hong Kong and overseas developers in project management when undertaking real estate projects in China, and then focuses on how to mitigate and solve the problems. The proposed solution is about a concept of using the IT tool “web‐based construction project management system” (WPMS) to help assuring projects success in China. The study reported in this paper focuses on how to implement WPMS to manage construction projects in China considering the overall situation, limitations and Chinese culture.


Case studies and interviews were adopted to identify the main reasons why experienced Hong Kong developers have apparently been outperformed by the capital‐deprived local developers in China. SWOT was applied to analyse project failure factors. Afterwards, 49 web‐based construction project management software systems were reviewed to identify their features, their client expectations, the technology propagation modes, and the most emphasized functions in the construction stage. An in‐depth case study was adopted to test the hypothesis that web‐based construction project system could help Hong Kong developers to properly manage their projects in China.


Cooperation and coordination difficulties among participants caused by long geographical project distance and remote management control were identified to be the main causes of project failure. Web‐based construction project management system was proved to be efficient and effective in cross region project coordination and monitoring. Since property development business is a continuing and non‐one‐off activity, the investment of a tailor made WPMS is really good value for money. Concerning the low readiness of business partners in China, an encouraging pattern with more self‐incentives should be considered for achieving a win‐win‐win situation as an essential tactic as proposed in this paper.

Research limitations/implications

How to evaluate the benefit of using WPMS in quantitative method remains a challenge. Future research could compare the project with WPMS and without WPMS.

Practical implications

The case study of the application of a tailor‐made web‐based project management system (named ICPMS) by one of the major developers in Hong Kong has demonstrated that the headquarters in Hong Kong is able to get timely first hand project information, facilitating timely decisions and ensuring project success. Thus, the adoption of WPMS is a worthwhile investment for overseas developers undertaking real estate development projects in China.


This paper puts forward the concept of overseas developers using WPMS to help assure project success in China. Chinese culture and other limitation factors were considered for the first time in WPMS implementation in the construction industry. How to make the implementation of WPMS to successfully overcome such barriers is illustrated based on this empirical study.



Wong, A.K.D. and Zhang, R. (2013), "Implementation of web‐based construction project management system in China projects by Hong Kong developers", Construction Innovation, Vol. 13 No. 1, pp. 26-49.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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