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Bounding Ahead(HKTDC Electronics, Vol 02,2006)

Hong Kong Electronics Fair (Spring Edition)

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Rick Penney knew he would find exactly what he wanted when he attended the Hong Kong Electronics Fair (Spring Edition), held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from April 14-17, 2006.

The vice-president, product development-sourcing for US high-end AV chain Tweeter was searching for new products and sources for the company's some 160 stores in 22 states.

"As technology evolves and our business model changes, I am always looking for new sources and new products - for example cabling, accessories and speaker boxes are becoming very important," Penney explained.

He was delighted to find six manufacturers of interest at the spring edition of the Electronics Fair. "This show is essential for me - I don't ever come here without finding a new source, a new manufacturer, a new product," Penney enthused.

His keen comments were echoed by many of the record 51,000-plus buyers from areas such as Hong Kong, the US, Korea, Japan, Turkey, Australia, India, Singapore, Germany, the Chinese mainland and Taiwan who found matching business partners at the four-day event.

Buyer numbers from outside Hong Kong were up 19% compared to last year's fair and included representatives from renowned international chains such as Sanyo, Target, Wal-Mart, Carrefour and Sharper Image.

They were drawn to the event by cutting-edge products offered by more than 2,700 exhibitors from 24 countries and regions - 15% higher than figures for the 2005 event - and included group pavilions from the Chinese mainland, Korea and Taiwan.

Hong Kong exhibitors were at the fore, befitting a major international manufacturing centre whose total exports of electronics leapt 18% to US$137bn in 2005.

Typical of local exhibitors was Mobicool Int'l Ltd, which has been displaying its mobile refrigeration products for the consumer, promotional and industrial markets at the Hong Kong Electronics Fair for the past decade.

"This year, on the first day alone, we had around 130 serious enquiries," Mobicool marketing manager Alton Wong revealed. "We noticed in particular an increase in buyers from Eastern Europe, especially Russia, while numbers from South America were strong too."

Attractions that proved big hits included the Hall of Fame, a well-established feature of the Autumn Edition that debuted at the Spring Edition this year and attracted more than 150 exhibitors.

Buyers found this elegant section the perfect place to find brand-name electronic items featuring original and innovative designs from renowned brands such as AFK, Apollo, Goodway, Hongo, Kenlex, Digitech and Oxygen.

The new Lighting Section attracted more than 130 exhibitors keen to tap into the growing interest for more sophisticated lighting and the latest lighting technologies.

Other specialist sections included:

  • Electronic Manufacturing Services (EMS) - which showcased services provided to different sectors in the electronics field
  • Digital Imaging - which focused on a wide range of imaging products
  • Healthcare Electronics - which concentrated on the escalating market for products aimed at health and well-being.

The spring fair drew 75 visitor trade missions representing 1,934 companies from 35 countries and regions, and 43 missions representing 795 companies from 15 countries and regions that came specifically to see the ICT Pavilion.

The ICT Pavilion reflected the growing importance of the dynamic information and communications technology (ICT) sector in today's electronics world. By bringing together product and service providers to showcase their latest technologies and applications in this fast-paced sector, visitors were easily able to find the best ICT solutions and business partners for their operations.

Meanwhile, the Hong Kong Electronics Parts Procurement Square, supported by the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Hong Kong, brought together five major Japanese electronics companies - Kashimura Co Ltd, Kenwood Corp, Koden Co Ltd, Tietech Co Ltd and Toshiba Corp - which were looking for potential suppliers of electric and electronic parts and components.

The combination of these diverse and extremely successful attractions reflects the proven appeal of the Hong Kong Electronics Fair (Spring Edition) as a major addition to the international electronics fair calendar, said Anne Chick, senior exhibitions manager of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC), the fair organiser.

"The success of the third Hong Kong Electronics Fair (Spring Edition) is due to the bullish outlook of the electronics market, as well as the growing move towards branded and higher-end ODM electronics products from Hong Kong," she observed.

"We are therefore confident that the next Hong Kong Electronics Fair (Spring Edition), which will be held from April 14-17, 2007 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, will be an even bigger attraction," she concluded.

WRITTEN BY SANDRA JENNER

Tutorial Time

Buyers and exhibitors alike took the opportunity to learn the latest industry developments at several informative seminars held during the Hong Kong Electronics Fair (Spring Edition).

Among the most popular was "Design as Sales Argument - European Trends", where German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers' Association chairman, marketing communication group, Peter Weber explained that consumers were looking for individuality as well as functionality and that design was an important marketing tool in today's competitive market environment.

"The current trends in Europe are to use more colours for both household appliances and consumer electronic products, while focusing on elegant design and special shapes," he observed. He also highlighted the importance of more brand marketing. "Combining brand awareness with design will help companies extend their product lines and increase consumers' confidence."

Other interesting topics included "A New Horizon of e-Healthcare Management", where keynote speaker Stephen Lynch, international sales director of IBA Health Ltd of Australia, discussed the challenges facing health administrators and clinicians as consumer demands and costs increase. "By enabling the shift from paper to electronic records, IT can provide the right information at the right price at the right time," he noted.

His view was corroborated by Hong Kong Society of Medical Informatics chairman Dr C P Wong. "Hong Kong started late in the development of IT in healthcare, but now we have the world's largest and best-utilised system, with 90% of citizens' hospital records now being electronically recorded," he said.

Equally valuable information was provided by a study carried out at the fair by Oracle Added Value, which found more than 90% of 350 exhibitors and 668 buyers interviewed expected a "better or similar" market outlook this year compared to last. Respondents also expected the market for ICT products to grow by an average of 11% in 2006.

Buyers believed the Chinese mainland would have the biggest growth in retail sales (21%), followed by Western Europe (13%) and the US (13%); while broadband, wireless LAN, 3G products and information security would be the most popular items in 2006.