Hong Kong still favoured by global merchandisers
Hong Kong is still attractive to global merchandisers despite escalating costs, the Trade Development Council said.
The TDC said yesterday the seven trade fairs it organised last month drew a total of 210,000 buyers worldwide - a year-on-year rise of 7 per cent.
Traffic at the Canton Fair, the mainland's best-known trade fair, which ended on Sunday, fell 3.83 per cent.
The fairs in Hong Kong and Guangdong are considered an indicator of the export outlook for the rest of the year, as April is a traditional prime sourcing time for global buyers.
While most buyers and exhibitors said market sentiment was recovering from early last year, transactions at the Canton Fair - with products from electronics to household wares - dropped 1.4 per cent to US$35.5 billion.
The TDC's deputy executive director, Benjamin Chau, said 51 per cent of the 2,557 buyers and exhibitors it polled at Hong Kong's fairs believed overall sales and exports would rise this year.
"While traditional markets like Japan and western Europe remain stagnant, the prospects for North America and Australia are strong, and emerging markets continue to see good growth," Chau said.
Sam Yeung, the managing director of Kilovest, which makes its own brand of timepieces and gifts, said Hong Kong suppliers remained more competitive than their cheaper counterparts on the mainland because of their products' design and quality.
"We got two big orders, from a French retailer and a German retailer, who are interested in our silicon bow ties. The bow tie itself is not very special, but we pack it nicely in a Martini glass, and immediately it turns into a nice gift," Yeung said.
An increasing number of Hong Kong manufacturers are building their own brands to raise the value of their products, but so far only about a quarter of the 4,534 local exhibitors at the seven fairs have developed their own brands.
The TDC said attendees at the seven fairs were estimated to have spent HK$1.5 billion.