The fifth edition of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) Hong Kong International Printing and Packaging Fair, co-organised by HKTDC and CIEC Exhibition Company (HK), is running from today until Friday at the AsiaWorld-Expo, with more than 260 exhibitors, a 9 per cent rise from last year. Three mainland pavilions from Shanghai, Shenzhen and Zhejiang are on show and new participating countries include Japan and India. Five themed zones, including Digital Printing Equipment and Services, Packaging Services, Printing Consumables and Packaging Materials, Printing and Packaging Equipment and System, and Printing Services, were created to direct buyers to the areas they are looking for. This year, some local exhibitors feel that competition has increased with the rise of exhibitors from across the border. 'There weren't as many mainland exhibitors in the past, [but this year there are and this will give] local companies [plenty of competition],' says Alex Cheung, area manager of Zund Asia. The majority of the mainland printers participating this year are 'the top 100' in their region. Although some local companies believe there is an increase in competition, others feel business is going to pick up this year. 'The market was very quiet at the end of last year but starting from the beginning of this year, there is an increase of inquires for the products,' says Janice Law, business development manager of Advance Label, an exhibitor. According to Law, the concurrent fair, HKTDC Gifts and Premium Fair, will help increase the number of visitors to the exhibition. Caesar Chan from Universal Advanced Technologies predicts that the market will take at least one or two years to fully recover from the downturn. 'We did not cut costs during the downturn last year and will not now as we know when the market fully recovers, we won't be able to rehire these people. We'll just continue to participate in exhibition fairs and run the company the way it was before the economic crises'. For Advance Label, creating new products, such as personalised sticker labels for different companies, is their method for attracting more business and keeping clients.