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Brighter Business(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 01,2007)

Lighting Fair Review



No one can judge an international trade event better than the buyers who attend, which makes the Hong Kong International Lighting Fair a sparkling success.

Canadian buyer Marcel Knafo, for example, offered enthusiastic praise for Asia's leading lighting event, which was held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from October 27-30, 2006.

"I have been coming to the Hong Kong International Lighting Fair for about six years because it is the best in Asia," said Knafo, who was looking for lamps to complement existing products at Structube, a 16-store furniture retailer on the east coast of Canada.

"There are many more exhibitors here and much more choices than at other fairs I have visited - in fact, I find that it is getting better every year and the technology on display is excellent."

Such exuberant praise validates the hard work of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC), the organiser of this eighth lighting event. "The 2006 Lighting Fair attracted a record number of 1,217 exhibitors - 17% more than the previous year - from 27 countries and regions," said Anne Chick, senior exhibitions manager at the TDC. "It is now the second-largest lighting fair in the world. It was expanded this year into the Expo Drive Hall and the Convention Hall to meet increasing exhibitor demand."

Of these exhibitors, 882 were from outside Hong Kong, with the Chinese mainland leading the way with 665 companies, followed by Taiwan with 138.

"Such renowned industry players as Neo-Neon Int'l Ltd, Neonlite Electronic & Lighting (HK) Ltd (Megaman), Goodway Electrical Enterprise Ltd and Philips Electronics HK Ltd showcased their latest products at the fair," Chick recalled.

She noted that the huge array of products was viewed by more than 25,000 visitors from 117 countries and regions, 15,979 of whom came from outside Hong Kong. "This represents a healthy increase over the 23,700 buyers who attended in 2005, reinforcing the industry's view that this is an international event not to be missed," Chick maintained.

The TDC took the opportunity to organise 76 buying missions and invite more than 3,000 VIP sourcing agents to visit the fair and the Hong Kong International Hardware & Home Improvement Fair held concurrently. "These included representatives from major companies such as IKEA of Sweden, Home Depot and Ace Hardware in the US, the UK's B&Q, Real R chain stores of Russia and New Zealand's Mitre 10 MEGA."

Such industry giants were drawn by the huge array of innovative lighting products on offer, a large proportion of which was produced by Hong Kong's creative and competitive lighting industry.

Indeed, Hong Kong exports an enormous range of lighting products, including electric table, desk, bedside or floor-standing lamps, torches, hand lanterns and hand-held incandescent lamps.

Other major products included wall and ceiling lighting, chandeliers, other lamps and lighting fittings, as well as decorative items like Christmas tree lighting sets and lamp shades.

In the first 10 months of 2006, Hong Kong exported a total of HK$9,331m worth of lighting products, with sales to the Chinese mainland up an enormous 30% despite keen competition from the mainland's domestic suppliers.

Not surprisingly, Hong Kong companies were well represented at the four new sections at the fair, introduced to add variety and lustre while simultaneously making it more convenient for buyers to source specific products.

The new Green Lighting Zone displayed energy-saving lighting products, while festive lighting such as Christmas decorative lights and lighting products suitable for gifts were to be found in the Holiday Favour Zone. The Parts & Accessories Pavilion showcased lighting parts, accessories, fixtures and fittings, and the World of Table Lamps featured the very latest and best table and desk lamps.

The Outdoor Lighting Section continued to expand on its past success, with exhibitors increasing 28% to include some 60 exhibitors who presented everything from street lamps to garden lights and other outdoor illuminations.

"Selected exhibits of these special sections were displayed in an exclusive Lighting Display Zone which proved very popular with buyers keen to get a quick snapshot of the latest products available in each section," Chick added.

With its unique blend of products and technology, the event looks set for an even brighter future. "We are already planning the next Hong Kong International Lighting Fair, which will be held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from October 28-31, 2007, and are confident that it will be the biggest and best yet," Chick concluded.

Illuminating Trends

Those looking to update their knowledge of the international lighting scene took advantage of the large number of informative, topical seminars at the Hong Kong International Lighting Fair 2006.

For example, Philips Lighting senior business development manager Alvin Tse extolled the virtues of Light Emitting Diodes (LED), which he believes will shape the lighting of tomorrow.

"LED is maintenance-free, compact and environmentally-friendly and can provide an intense light source that is energy-efficient with less waste than traditional lighting," Tse claimed.

"You can light a shop according to the season and make people feel more in tune with their surroundings - you can also integrate it with the furniture so it becomes interactive."

According to Megaman (HK) Electrical & Lighting Ltd's senior marketing manager Howard Ng, compact fluorescent lighting (CFL) has emerged as the next generation in energy-efficient lighting designs.

"Technological advancements, namely smaller PCBs, slimmer lamp tubes and delicate lamp tube bending, have made fluorescent lighting ultra-compact, with high lumen output, tighter beam angle control and the ability to include dimming functions," he observed.

"CFL has the benefits of reduced maintenance costs, longer lamp life and enhanced brightness, improved lumen maintenance, less heat generation, reduced carbon dioxide emissions and lower electricity bills."

Meanwhile, Intertek's regional program manager-labtest Cary W. H. Chan spoke about the EU's Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directives, and introduced IECQ QC080000 Hazardous Substances Process Management.

"This facilitates international trade in electronic components by assessing the management systems and product quality of enterprises," she noted.

Armed with such relevant information, exhibitors and buyers can produce and purchase products incorporating the latest industry developments.