Last year's stop-gap post-Sars expo is back permanently The success of last year's Sars- induced stop-gap event for houseware and gifts has prompted the Hong Kong Trade Development Council to introduce a summer sourcing show this year. The Summer Sourcing Show for Gifts, Houseware and Toys, opening today at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre for four days, grew out of a supplementary fair staged last July to attract business back to Hong Kong following the outbreak of Sars. The impromptu exhibition consolidated the established Houseware and Gifts & Premium fairs held in April into a single show. 'We were not sure how many buyers would come in July because of the holiday season but, to our happy surprise, over 62,000 attended - and more than 24,000 of them were from overseas,' said TDC senior exhibitions manager Anne Chick. 'It gave us a big message that business doesn't close down for the summer.' Now a permanent fixture, the Summer Sourcing Show is expected to fill a gap in the buying season. 'It offers buyers and exhibitors a fresh platform for new business,' Ms Chick said. 'More than 1,300 exhibitors are taking part from 19 countries and regions, 54 per cent of which are new in that they did not take part in the Toys & Games Fair in January or the Gifts & Premium Fair or Houseware Fair in April. By including toys, houseware, gifts and premium items, we are making this a one-stop shop for buyers.' Ms Chick said it was encouraging that so many exhibitors and buyers were willing to take part. 'Product life cycles are getting shorter and orders are smaller, so buyers are always looking for new products. It is also a last chance to source and place orders for the coming Christmas season.' Because the show is in the middle of the summer holidays the organisers are packaging events for those coming to Hong Kong for pleasure as well as business. 'For example, we are working with the Hong Kong Tourism Board to cater for visitors interested in day tours such as heritage tours or trips to Lantau Island,' Ms Chick said. 'At the fair there is a playgroup for buyers who bring their families, with activities and games for kids.' The business side of the fair, which occupies Halls 1, 2 and 3 and the mezzanine level of the exhibition centre, is divided into five zones. Gift Ideas includes fashion jewellery and accessories, paper and packaging, pictures and photo frames, promotional and premium items and stationery. Dining & Cooking covers kitchenware and gadgets and tableware. Style & Decor encompasses artificial flowers, furniture, lighting, handicrafts, home decorations and household textiles. Home Living includes bathroom accessories, cleaning products and supplies, gardening and outdoor accessories, general houseware items, hardware, health and personal care items, and small electrical appliances. The final category, Fun & Play, takes care of toys and sporting goods, and festive and party items. An area called Treasure Island is devoted to branded products from 12 Hong Kong firms. 'We want the Summer Sourcing Show to be one of the best fairs of its kind in Asia,' Ms Chick said. 'We want to use it to create additional opportunities for buyers and exhibitors to do business - and we are confident that it will be a success.'