In the existing literature of knowledge exchange (KE) and higher education, there is limited but emerging cluster of research which undertakes a comprehensive analysis of various types of higher education institutions and patterns of KE engagement. Employing the empirical example of Hong Kong, this paper examines the interconnections between institutional types and patterns of knowledge exchange (KE) activities in the context of a global city. It found that during the short history of KE policies and activities, all public universities in Hong Kong have been building their capacities for this new intellectual premise in the last decade. Meanwhile, disciplinary comprehensiveness and research/education intensity of the universities affect their institutional responses to the global trend of KE. The typology of higher education institutions suggested by this paper puts forward a perspective to further understand the institutional patterns of KE in the twenty-first century. Copyright ©Taylor & Francis.