This paper reports on an international study into construction industry development that was used as a framework for a study into Hong Kong's construction industry and, based on the findings, argues that the role of a project manager is important to the development of the industry. Having used the same approach for both studies allowed for comparison with and validation of the international generic model. Statistical factor analysis was used to generate the following eight factors that are currently active in the development of Hong Kong's construction industry: financial resources; physical resources; competition; coordination and cooperation; government intervention; long-term vision and policy; communication between government and the industry; and a learning culture. While these factors are sometimes different to the generic model, there is more that they have in common. Many of these have important implications for the role of project managers in the industry. The findings explained in this paper are helpful to all stakeholders in the construction industry from project managers to policy makers world-wide, who face similar challenges to those found in Hong Kong when considering how to best contribute towards the development of their particular construction industry. The paper provides clear examples to show that project managers are in the unique position of being able to significantly influence and effectively promote construction industry development through their management skills and values at various levels, including those at the grass-roots.