Hong Kong sees exports decline 1.8 per cent but electronics buck the trend, still the city’s top earner

Three big trade fairs just around the corner: Hong Kong International Lighting Fair (April 6-9), Hong Kong Electronics Fair and International ICT Expo (both April 13-16)

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 31 March, 2016, 12:46pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 31 March, 2016, 7:20pm

Hong Kong saw exports of electronic products grow 2.4 per cent by value last year despite total shipments of goods from the city dropping 1.8 per cent overall, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) said this week.

The body expects total exports to plateau this year but acting executive director Benjamin Chau said the electronics industry is still reaping rewards.

“The overall market environment may not be good, but it won’t affect the electronics business greatly,” he said.

“[In an economic downturn] people may buy fewer new clothes, but they will still get new smartphones,” he added.

Among all exports, electronics are still the biggest earner for Hong Kong, with outbound shipments of these totalling HK$ 2.3 trillion (US$300 billion) last year to account for 64 per cent of all exports, according to data from HKTDC.

The widespread use of smartphones and the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) - connected smart devices that use sensors to communicate with each other without much human input - has contributed to the continuous growth of electronics exports, Chau said.

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He was speaking at an event promoting the spring edition of the Hong Kong Electronics Fair, which will take place at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai in April.

Although the sister event in Autumn is bigger in scale, the upcoming fair serves as one of the largest electronics events in Asia at this time of year and will feature over 2,800 exhibitors from 20 countries and regions.

This year, a strong emphasis will be placed on the IoT market with three dedicated exhibit zones for smart home devices, connected accessories, and wearable electronics.

Among the exhibitors, Hong Kong-based Intelligent Cad/Cam Technology will present a robot that can be trained by hand, instead of via complicated programming. The company said the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology is already using its robot to assist with activities in the lab.

A helmet that sends electrical pulses to the brain to improve the quality of their sleep will also be on show. The SleepingACE, developed by Advanced Electronic and Medical Industries, does not need to be worn while people snooze; rather, they use briefly for about an hour before they plan to nod off, the company said.

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The Hong Kong International Lighting Fair will run from April 6-9. The Hong Kong Electronics Fair, and International ICT Expo (information and telecommunication technology), will run concurrently from April 13-16.

The ICT Expo is also organised by the HKTDC and will feature 600 exhibitors from 11 countries, showcasing a range of e-commerce technologies and IoT solutions.