A group of almost 300 Hong Kong exporters intending to take a slice of the competitive mainland domestic market have made a breakthrough in the central China region. Halfway through a five-day trade exposition in Wuhan, featuring Hong Kong homegrown brands of jewellery, bakery products, shoes, fashion and cooking sauces, demand was so strong that many exhibitors had sold up to 80 per cent of their products yesterday. The Hong Kong Consumer Products Expo, organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, not only helped small and medium-sized firms to break new ground in Hubei, Hunan and Sichuan provinces, but also to clear stock, market brands and build ties with potential distributors. Exporters reeling from the global financial downturn are looking to break into the mainland market to reduce reliance on recession-hit markets in the United States, Europe and Japan. Tai Lee Hong, a company that produces cooking sauces for the US and Canadian markets, sold about 14,000 bottles of sauces worth 280,000 yuan (HK$318,664) in the first two days of the trade show, about seven times the company's monthly sales in Wuhan, according to director Peter Chan. 'The show is packed with spenders, I don't see any impact of the global financial crisis at all,' Mr Chan said. Iris Lam, an executive of shoe exporter Onlen Fairyland, which sold about 50 per cent of its products such as sandals and sport shoes, gained much-needed information on accessing the markets in the interior region. 'The response from local consumers was stronger than I had expected,' Ms Lam said. 'We met the heads of six or seven department stores and managed to get helpful information in positioning our products.' However, some exhibitors such as Hang Heung Cake Shop became caught up in the processes needed for obtaining quality and hygiene certificates. Hang Heung did not get the clearances on time and missed exhibiting its flagship 'wife's cakes' product but saw strong sales on other bakery products, marketing manager Cecilia Cheng said. On the challenges of entering the mainland, director Vic Tam of perfumed soap maker Inzooe said: 'It would be helpful if it was faster and cheaper to get the certificates.' The company was exhibiting in the mainland market for the first time. Mr Tam said that getting a certificate cost as much as 20,000 yuan, and could take up to nine months. The expo closes tomorrow.