Taiwan firms angry over poor position
Austin Chiu and Vivienne Chow
Taiwanese publishers who were not given stalls in the main hall this year have threatened to pull out if the organiser fails to find a way to boost their sales, which have dipped heavily compared with last year.
The exhibitors were unhappy at being moved from Hall 1 to Hall 3 on the third level. They also complained that their booths were at the back of the hall.
Lin Chien Chung, director of Taiwanese publisher United Distribution, said his business was down two-thirds compared with last year. He said he would quit the fair early and demand a rent refund if there was no improvement in sales.
'I am very angry. I feel that I have been deceived by the organiser,' said the fourth-time exhibitor. 'I am thinking of pulling out early if the organiser fails to act appropriately. I may not return next year.'
Dino Shang, sales manager of Sino Cultural, said organisers did not respect publishers from Taiwan.
A spokesman for the organiser said they had met the Taiwanese exhibitors. Arrangements had been made to tackle the issue and contact would be maintained with the exhibitors. Announcements urging people to visit the booths of publishers from Taiwan and the mainland were aired regularly yesterday and staff with signs directed people to the stalls.
A Hong Kong trader making his first appearance at the fair also reported challenges in selling books, despite the high attendance. Edmund Lai Yat-chiu, publishing director of Culture Cross, said his team were allocated a booth at the edge of Hall 1 because they were new to the fair.
Mr Lai said his company focused on more serious books, such as a newly published television script based on the life of Peking opera master Zhou Xinfang by veteran writer-director Wong Ho-yi, but it was hard to grab the media's attention compared with the racy photo albums of models.
'But since more people are coming to the fair, we hope they will still check out other books,' Mr Lai said.
Local exhibitors generally said sales this year were about 10 per cent better than last year on the first day. Those selling celebrity books fared up to 20 per cent better but said the interest had started to wane.