The Savannah College of Art & Design will open a new four-year branch campus in Hong Kong focused on digital media production.

The Hong Kong Development Bureau recommended the college from more than 100 other applicants to restore the historic North Kowloon Magistracy Building, where the campus will be located.

Expected to open in September 2010, it will offer majors in animation, interactive design and game development, motion media design, visual effects, advertising design, photography, graphic design and illustration.

Hong Kong’s development secretary is expected to approve the building deal on Feb. 24.

The need for a campus in Asia has arisen as SCAD has built an alumni base, name recognition and demand for its programs in the region.

China ranks third among countries sending international students to SCAD.  They come from 90 countries and represent about 10 percent of the total student population.

The college also has good relationships with corporate partners in China. 

Last July, 15 students from SCAD’s industrial design school presented projects at Hong Kong-based VTech, a world leader in cordless telephones and electronic learning products.  They also visited factories of other technology companies in Guangdong province.

“Study trips to China are part of the SCAD curriculum, and SCAD employs noted Chinese artists and designers as faculty members in the United States,” said SCAD President Paula Wallace in a statement.

She called Hong Kong an “ideal location” because it is “a sophisticated international city with a significant, ongoing need for creative talent.”

SCAD has considerable expertise in building preservation, which has been put to extensive use in the college’s home city of Savannah, the oldest in the state of Georgia.

SCAD will spend its own money restoring the building and will require no funds from the Hong Kong government.

The college has campuses in Savannah, Atlanta and in Lacoste, France.    

As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...