Hong Kong's optical industry will see steady growth as orders from the United States and European countries surge, according to eyewear makers. At the same time, SAR manufacturers said they were preparing to penetrate the mainland eyewear market in light of the growing wealth of many urban residents. 'The market performance this year has been not bad. In the first eight months, total exports of optical goods from Hong Kong amounted to US$608 million, a 3 per cent increase over the same period last year,' said Michael Ng Hoi-ying, vice-president of the Hong Kong Optical Manufacturers Association. He was speaking at the three-day Hong Kong Optical Fair which opened yesterday. The fair, organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council and the association, has attracted 409 exhibitors from Hong Kong and 17 other economies. 'The momentum has been sustained and I expect to see similar growth for the whole year,' said Mr Ng, also chairman of Hong Kong-listed Arts Optical International. Last year, total exports of optical goods fell 24 per cent year on year to HK$6.76 billion as sales to the US - Hong Kong's largest market - showed a 6 per cent decline from a year earlier amid lacklustre consumer demand. In the first eight months of this year, export markets that logged dramatic growth include the Netherlands, up 107 per cent, Canada, up 38 per cent, and Australia, up 23 per cent, Mr Ng said. Orders from the US also increased by 7 per cent. However, orders from Germany fell by 11 per cent, due to the country's softening economy.