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Hong Kong International Lighting Fair(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 01,2006)

Brilliant Prospects

From October 26-29, 2005, buyers and exhibitors alike enjoyed brilliant prospects at the Hong Kong International Lighting Fair held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

"The continued increase in interest, and the huge selection of new products on display, reaffirmed Hong Kong's status as the sourcing hub of lighting goods in Asia," enthused senior exhibitions manager Anne Chick of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC), the event organiser.

"Now in its seventh year, the Hong Kong International Lighting Fair once again demonstrated why it is the largest trade event of its kind in Asia and the second-largest lighting show in the world."

Attesting to this were nearly 24,000 visitors from 116 different countries and regions, representing more than 8% growth over attendance at the 2004 event.

They came to see the products offered by some 1,035 exhibitors from 27 countries and regions - about 16% more than the previous year.

The range of goods offered included everything from interior fittings and Christmas lights to products for emergency, safety and entertainment use, lighting equipment, chandeliers, flashlights, bulbs and lampshades.

A popular special feature on outdoor lighting showcased street lamps, garden lighting and other exterior illuminations, while design-led and energy efficient products generated particularly keen interest.

All the industry's major export regions turned out in force, with buyers from Asia topping the list, up 14.8% in numbers from the previous year, followed by Europe (up 12.2%), North America (up 3.6%), and Australia and the Pacific Islands (up 1.8%). The Chinese mainland led the attendance figures with 4,445 visitors, representing a 15.9% increase.

"Hong Kong's lighting industry continued to register strong growth in the first nine months of 2005," said Chick, "with worldwide exports reaching a total of about US$1,124m."

Chick said that increased interest by mainland buyers in part reflected the rising demand for lighting products stimulated by a fast-growing construction industry.

"Overall, Hong Kong exports of lighting products to the mainland reached US$118m in the first nine months of 2005, an increase of 36% over the same period the previous year," she said.

Apart from the mainland, the fair generated enthusiastic responses from international buyers, particularly from the US, Taiwan, Japan, the UK, Australia, Germany, Canada, Korea and Singapore.

"The fair is an obvious choice for us, not only to look for suppliers but also to inform ourselves of the new technology and equipment that's on offer," said Mark Calvi, director of Ace Energy Services, an Australian manufacturing company focusing on streetlight installation, maintenance and supply. "We're impressed with the variety of lighting products on display this year, for both indoor and outdoor lighting."

In agreement, Juan Pablo Sanchez Ruiz, manager of importer Megamex Iluminacion, Mexico, said, "It's the first time that we have visited the Hong Kong International Lighting Fair and I can say that it is the best-organised fair I've been to."

Looking for LED bulbs and new lamp designs, Ruiz added: "We are in a very competitive business, and I feel that by being at this fair it is helping us to stay one step ahead of our competition - we'll certainly be coming here again."

Exhibitors were equally enthusiastic about business opportunities. "We meet many new customers through this exhibition, especially buyers from overseas countries," explained Ben Fan, director of Neo-Neon Int'l Ltd, which produces indoor and outdoor decorative lighting fixtures and has been exhibiting at the fair since the event began in 1999.

"It's also a great opportunity to invite our existing customers to come and look at our new items."

The fair also offered topical seminars reflecting important market trends. For example, Alvin Tse, regional product marketing manager of BU Luminaries for Philips Lighting Hong Kong, spoke on Solid State Lighting (SSL) Technology and Energy Saving. "In an era of climate change and soaring energy prices, low power consumption is an invaluable advantage over conventional lighting," he stressed.

Tse illustrated his talk with numerous examples of SSL from around the world, and concluded that forthcoming developments would likely expand in focus from outdoor to indoor applications.

Another well-attended seminar on Intellectual Property saw Charmaine Koo, partner, and Zhao Yan, registered foreign lawyer of Deacons Hong Kong Intellectual Property Department, stress the importance of manufacturers understanding and protecting their rights.

During their presentation, they clarified the differences between trademarks, copyright, patents and design registration, citing the appropriate steps needed to protect each type of intellectual property.

With so many opportunities to trade and learn, it was not surprising to hear buyers and exhibitors alike say they would return for the eighth Hong Kong International Lighting Fair edition, which takes place from October 27-30, 2006, at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.