Great expectations for city's summer fairs

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 July, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 05 July, 2010, 12:00am

The 7th edition of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) Summer Sourcing Show for Gifts, Houseware and Toys will kick off today at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai, with exhibitors optimistic about the fair's success.

'This year's fair is probably going to be better than 2008 and 2009. We can already see consumer confidence slowly returning after the economic crisis, [as buyers are showing more interest in the products],' says Dawn Chan, marketing manager at Masterwise, an exhibitor.

According to the Census and Statistics Department, exports in the show's two categories - gifts and houseware items - have risen compared with last year.

Hong Kong's total exports of gifts reached HK$54.55 billion from January to May this year, an 11 per cent rise compared with the same period last year. Exports of household goods have also risen by 20.6 per cent.

The show will run until Thursday, with more than 400 exhibitors from 14 countries and regions, including the mainland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States, Vietnam, Belgium, Malaysia and the British Virgin Islands.

Four pavilions will feature the Hong Kong Exporters' Association, the mainland, India and Taiwan, with more than 70 buying missions from 35 countries and regions, including more than 3,000 buyers attending.

Besides the nine major product zones, including Advertising Premiums, Gift Ideas, Dining and Cooking, Home Living, Home Tech, Style and Decor, Fun and Play, Costume Jewellery, Ladies' World, the new Green Gifts and Houseware zone has been added due to the rising popularity of environmentally friendly products.

The Treasure Island, showcasing high-end brands and designer items, and the Designers' Corner, which acts as a platform for design service providers to meet with manufacturers, are back again.

Since the financial crisis, exhibitors have become more conscious when pricing their products.

'The economies in overseas countries are getting better, but low-cost products are still better received,' says Edith Lai, marketing manager of exhibitor Eastcolight. 'A lot of buyers prefer Hong Kong companies over mainland companies, as local companies offer them quality confidence.'

Product uniqueness and a diverse range are other factors that make a company stand out from the crowd, Lai believes. 'To attract more clients, we are diversifying our product range and making each one special. For example, this year we have products ranging from hydraulic science experiments to spy cameras,' Lai says.

Held concurrently at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre is the 17th edition of the HKTDC Hong Kong Fashion Week for Summer/Spring.

About 1,300 exhibitors from 21 countries and regions are attending the fair which features five pavilions, including Bangladesh, the mainland, India, Macau and Taiwan. Seventy buying missions from 70 countries and regions, including more than 2,500 buyers, will also be present.

A special highlight of Fashion Week includes Hong Kong Fashion: On Parade, which showcases the works of more than 40 local designers and exhibitors. At the International Fashion Designers' Showcase, more than 80 designers from Indonesia, Hong Kong, India and the US will also present their works. The Brand Name Gallery showcases branded garments.

Max Chow, from Liberate, a Fashion Week Summer/Spring exhibitor, says his company is going to produce unique designs instead of using low prices to compete with mainland companies. He says it's impossible to produce goods at lower prices than mainland competitors.

One of the new product lines by the company is called Gold Label, which consists of middle- to high-priced jewellery pieces with crystals and gems.

This is the first year Liberate will take part in Fashion Week and it hopes to use the opportunity as a stepping stone to promote itself as a wholesale jewellery company.

Chow says his company is targeting small boutique shops that order a couple of hundred pieces of jewellery each time.

Free admission

For trade visitors, register now for your free admission badge through one of the following channels:

Smartphone Info Site download HKTDC FAIRS at iPhone App Store (for iPhone users) and Blackberry App World (for Blackberry users).

Mobile Info Site visit; or SMS your email address to (852) 6390 0702 (Hong Kong Fashion Week for Spring/Summer); (852) 6390 0701 (Summer Sourcing Show for Gifts, Houseware and Toys).