Traders are confident ahead of Lunar New Year fair

PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 January, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 19 January, 2009, 12:00am

Fun products offered to mark the coming Year of the Ox

Vendors at the Lunar New Year fair in Victoria Park are looking forward to a prosperous new year following the successful Hong Kong Brands and Products Expo, which ended earlier this month.

Despite the economic downturn, a record 2.16 million people attended the 23-day expo and sales totalled HK$270 million, 20 per cent up on the previous year.

To vendors such as the students of QualiEd College, the success of the expo increased their confidence in the Lunar New Year fair.

'The expo showed that people still had money to spare. I am optimistic,' said Ryan Yan Pat-to, teacher-in-charge of a group of Form Six business students, who were responsible for running their stall.

The students will sell self-designed toys, resembling a stick of beefballs with new year greetings printed on them. Mr Yan said they had especially designed the product for the Year of the Ox.

Although he was optimistic about sales, he said they would not raise prices, as people had become more cautious about their spending.

'We might still make a profit with a lower selling price, as the cost was also lower,' he said.

Aska So Ka-wai, who will also sell self-designed products, said he was confident the stall could break even.

'The Lunar New Year fair is only held once a year and people will visit no matter what,' he said.

But he added that prices could not be lowered as costs were quite high.

'The yuan has become more expensive and so we need to pay more for the products,' he said.

Mr So and his friends, who have never been vendors at the fair, would sell cushions and long pillows that resemble food, soft drinks and oxen. He expected his major source of customers to be young people who were more interested in 'cute' products.

So Chuen-moon said he would like to make his products special by distancing them from the Year of the Ox. 'Too many people are selling inflated oxen dolls, so I am selling something different.'

His stall will offer inflated dolls of iPhones and lipstick, as he believes these are the products that will interest young people.

Doll and handicraft wholesaler Leung Tak-yuen said most vendors preferred plush toys this year, as inflated dolls had became commonplace in the past two years. He said his orders had fallen by 20 per cent this year, which might be the result of the economic downturn and the fact Lunar New Year was earlier this year.

'It takes at least a month from ordering to delivery. We do not have enough time, as some vendors only contacted us this month,' he said.

New Year fairs will run from tomorrow until January 26 at 14 venues around the city, including Victoria Park, Fa Hui Park in Sham Shui Po and Morse Park in Wong Tai Sin.