Brands and Products Expo begins, with millions expected to visit
Stallholders at 24-day fair hoping for influx of big-spending mainlanders to offset rent rise
Abalone and bird's nest priced at just HK$1 will be among the special deals on offer when the 48th Brands and Products Expo kicks off in Victoria Park this morning.
The 24-day expo, organised by the Chinese Manufacturers' Association, typically attracts more than two million visitors each year.
And while stallholders must handle an average 10 per cent rent rise on the stalls, plus inflation and higher labour costs, they expect to do 10 to 15 per cent more business this year, bolstered by big-spending mainland tourists.
For the first time, organisers have displayed large banner advertisements for the fair at the Lo Wu border crossing point, CMA vice-president Jimmy Ng Wing-ka said. The association had also been advertising in post offices and on radio stations on the mainland, as well as working with travel agencies to add the expo to their schedules.
"We're not only focusing on mainland tourists," said Ng. "We tend to the needs of people from across the world."
About 20 companies are offering bargain deals on luxury goods to lure shoppers to the expo.
Among them is Thailand Bird's Nest, which will offer 30 six-gram samples of Indonesian bird's nest for HK$1 every day until Friday next week. Company founder Chan Lo-yi said the market price of the ingredient was getting lower and that he hoped his offer could help promote the delicacy. He has kept prices the same this year, but was unhappy with the rent increase.
"The association should work with us to fight against the inflation," Chan said.
Local skincare and cosmetics brand Choi Fung Hong will offer 25 HK$1 bottles of orange or ginger lily-infused shower gel per day for the first week of the fair. Senior marketing director Thomas Tam Shek-luen said he wanted more people to support "100 per cent Hong Kong" brands, and said all the company's products were made at its factory in Tuen Mun.
While rent had gone up by 18 per cent, he expected to do 15 per cent more business.
Besides the usual arrays of stalls offering food, gadgets and household products, a few unusual vendors will set up shop.
Among them is Safewell, which will offer safes priced at between HK$580 and HK$268,000. D100, a new internet radio station co-founded by businessman and former lawmaker Albert Cheng Jing-han, will also promote itself with a booth.