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Hong Kong International Auto Parts Fair(HKTDC Electronic Components & Parts, Vol 02,2006)

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With more than 240 exhibitors from 18 countries and regions confirmed to take part, the inaugural Hong Kong International Auto Parts Fair looks set to make a powerful impact on visitors to the Asia World-Expo site close to the Hong Kong International Airport from April 8-11.

The Hong Kong International Auto Parts Fair is organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC), in conjunction with its strategic partners, Paper Communication Exhibition Services and the Hong Kong Electronic Industries Association Ltd. Co-organisers are the Hong Kong Auto Parts Industry Association, and the Society of Automotive Engineers - Hong Kong Section.

"With a myriad of auto accessories and parts from worldwide under the spotlight, the auto parts fair is destined to become a sourcing hub for global buyers and a platform for suppliers to meet and conduct business and explore new market opportunities," states TDC senior exhibitions manager Anne Chick.

The TDC decided to host this aspiring event following extensive research and consultation with people in the trade, particularly with the key players.

"Enterprises in Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta (PRD) region have long collaborated in many light industry sectors," remarks Chick.

"With the growing trend of the PRD now starting to also engage in various heavy industries, we believe this is the critical time to ride on the exciting prospect of the global automotive industry in this part of the world."

In fact, she continues, there is probably no better place to host such an event. "Hong Kong's established electronics industry, advanced moulding technology, global sales network and marketing experience has helped prompt growth in the local auto parts industry, which is playing a growing important role in the global automobile supply chain," says Chick.

In 2005, Hong Kong exported HK$12.4bn worth of auto parts and accessories to major global markets, including the EU, the US, the Chinese mainland, Japan and other Asian countries, with re-exports accounting for an impressive 98% of the total value.

"This [business] underlines the importance of Hong Kong as an international trading centre and entrepôt for auto parts, in particular, for the Chinese mainland market," Chick points out.

The chairman of the Hong Kong Electronic Industries Association, Professor K. B. Chan, agrees that the fair launch takes place during a promising scenario, with the Chinese mainland boasting the world's third-largest automobile market and recording an annual sales volume of 5.5 million automobiles in 2005. The prediction is that the number of automobiles on the mainland will leap by about 10% annually in the coming 6-10 years.

Professor Chan notes that the huge demand will prompt international auto assemblers to locate production closer to their markets for better competitiveness. Mainland automobile manufacturers will at the same time step up production to fulfil local market demand, while exploring export opportunities.

"The auto parts fair has therefore many profitable spin-offs," forecasts Professor Chan. "It gives Hong Kong and mainland companies an opportunity to expand into new markets, and overseas companies the chance to tap the ever-growing mainland market."

The founding chairman of the Society of Automotive Engineers - Hong Kong Section, Dr S. W. Lui, believes that the broadening focus of auto manufacturers on building new models with value-added features will give Hong Kong a definite advantage.

"With the prevailing direction of automobile design evolving around passenger safety, driving performance and environmental friendliness, there is an increasing trend for using more electronic components with hi-tech elements, which is where Hong Kong companies have found their niche," he says.

"The fair thus provides an invaluable chance for Hong Kong companies to show their extremely high standards of quality, reliability and safety as demanded by the automobile parts industry."

Ready to strut their innovations as well as staples at the fair are exhibitors from Hong Kong, Australia, Canada, the Chinese mainland, the Czech Republic, Germany, India, Iran, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Pakistan, Poland, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Turkey.

Their exhibits include automobile and motorcycle parts and accessories, systems and technology; equipment and tools for parts and accessories manufacturing, workshops and repair services; car-care products; and inspection and testing services and devices.

The four-day event will also be packed with industry seminars, research presentations, round-table meetings and conferences, making the fair a fully-fledged event.

Participants can obtain updates on hot topics including procurement requirements for auto parts; upgrading the auto parts quality and quality management system; technology research findings; and the latest developments and applications of new materials in auto design, as well as market intelligence on the burgeoning mainland automobile market.

The auto parts fair has also proved attractive to many world buyers, and will see more than 26 buying missions - including those from Argentina, Australia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Russia, Thailand and the US - while a number of mainland cities have already signed up to visit.

Also on the list are VIP buyers such as Malaysia's JM Patent (M) Sdn Bhd; Thailand's Chin Seng Huat Auto Parts and Auto Back; Russia's Automotive Trading Co, and the UAE's Al Fahim Group and Espider Trading (Fors Group).

Another ground-breaking event - the Hong Kong International Printing and Packaging Fair - will run concurrently with the auto parts fair, and emphasises Hong Kong's competence in the printing and packaging industry.

With buyers and suppliers poised for momentous change and growth, the upcoming Hong Kong International Auto Parts Fair appears destined to drive at full throttle and vibrate with energy and opportunity.

WRITTEN BY WINNIE HUI