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Show Report(HKTDC Electronics, Vol 06,2001)

Vol 6, 2001

Show Report

Electronics Business As Usual

Industry Gurus Offer Predictions: Digital Trend Will Accelerate

Electronics Business As Usual

A ceremony full of the clang and clamour of Chinese lion dancers (top right) opened the 21st Hong Kong Electronics Fair. Thousands of buyers soon filled the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

THE 21st Hong Kong Electronics Fair opened with a flurry as 1,632 exhibitors showcased new and innovative electronic merchandise.

On the first day of the event, held from 15-18 October at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, visitor registrations surged 14% on a year earlier.

Despite lingering economic uncertainty in some major overseas markets, the four-day fair attracted 42,617 international visitors, thus demonstrating that electronics traders were conducting business much as usual.

Among the attendees were 29 buying missions, including national groups from Argentina, India, Italy and Mexico, as well as city delegations representing Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Guangzhou, Moscow, Osaka, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Toronto.

The largest number of overseas visitors came from Asia, followed by Europe and North America.

"In the US, emotions have settled a bit and consumer sentiment is gradually returning to normal. Demand for electronic products is picking up. Since our stock is running low, I came to Hong Kong as planned," said US buyer Peter Skiera from Tivoli Audio.

The Hong Kong Electronics Fair, organized by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, proceeded concurrently with two other events - the Hong Kong Int'l Lighting Fair for lighting and decorative items (also organized by TDC) and electronicAsia (co-organized by TDC and Messe Munchen Int'l) for components and parts.

Together, the three events featured more than 2,500 exhibitors from 22 countries and regions. Large electronics pavilions represented the Chinese mainland, Korea and Taiwan.

"Our exhibitors are very enthusiastic about the Hong Kong Electronics Fair because they can meet buyers from all over the world," said China National Electronics Import & Export Corp deputy general manager Zhang Xiaoyue.

Visitors examined a diversity of products and services in multimedia and audiovisual items, consumer electronics, personal electronics, home appliances, office automation and equipment, security and telecoms sectors.

As expected, digital video and still-picture cameras, DVD players, MiniDisc players, MP3 players and digital televisions were among the fair's hottest items. Participants pointed to entertainment/home appliances and products for teenagers as the fastest-growing product categories.

MagicEyes Digital Co of Korea unveiled a prototype combining the functions of MP3 player, video player, digital recorder, organizer, digital camera and portable television, all in a pocket-sized unit.

Telecoms products showed staying power. DRS Electronics Ltd from Hong Kong offered an updated version of its alarm phone with a cordless motion sensor, a smoke detector and panic button features.

Environment-friendly Mipo Int'l Ltd, another Hong Kong exhibitor, applied its technology to offer refillable inkjet cartridges and recycling tuners for laserjet printers.

"This is one way we can contribute to society," said general manager Alex Cheong. The cartridges can be refilled five times, are compatible with leading printer brands and sell at modest prices.

The fair's Frontiers of Brainpower section featured more than 30 projects from Hong Kong universities and research institutions. One innovative idea from the University of Hong Kong uses light from LEDs as a medium of communication. LEDs in traffic lights transmit audio or digital information to pedestrians and drivers through a small receiver.

"The system can tell of traffic conditions or give directions to the nearest hospital," said its inventor Grantham Pang, an associate professor in the university's electrical and electronic engineering department.

Buyers were impressed by the fair's scope and product diversity. "The products were well organized so I could find what I needed," said Sporting Performance Ltd managing director Alan Feltham from the UK.

"Changes in the electronics industry happen in Asia first. We plan to spend more on digital colour TVs, home-theatre systems and DVDs," said Rank Arena Group Australia Pty Ltd product manager Dr Shaker Azzam.

Primal Enterprise Corp buyer Breechard Uykee, a first-time visitor from the Philippines, expressed satisfaction after examining car alarms and mobile entertainment systems.

A fair survey showed that more than 70% of the US visitors anticipate a rebound for electronics sales in their home market during late 2002.

The same survey showed that exhibitors and buyers anticipate more sales to customers on the Chinese mainland after its accession to the World Trade Organization.

A total of 716 exhibitors and 1,061 buyers took part in the survey commissioned by the TDC and conducted by AC Nielsen (China) Ltd.

Fifty-four per cent of exhibitors and 57% of buyers predicted markets in 2002 would be the same or better than in 2001.

The 22nd Hong Kong Electronics Fair is scheduled for 11-14 October 2002.



Industry Gurus Offer Predictions: Digital Trend Will Accelerate

A PEEK into the future shows DVD players and large-screen television sets of 28 inches or more leading the way as demand for digital products swells in the UK, Germany and Japan.

That was the assessment of three industry experts - trade journalists Peter Lanzendorf of Germany, Charles Ward of the UK and Masahige Nishiyama of Japan - who addressed a market seminar on 17 October at the 21st Hong Kong Electronics Fair.

"There is no doubt the future will be digital," said Lanzendorf, the chief editor of CE Traden based in Dusseldorf. Lanzendorf noted a clear trend towards LCD and plasma television sets.

Although the 16:9 wide-screen configuration has taken the UK market by storm, its reception in Germany has been less enthusiastic. "The old-fashioned 4:3 format still prevails," Lanzendorf said.

He and the managing editor of the UK's ERT Weekly, Charles Ward, said DVD players remained the strongest consumer electronics sellers in their home markets.

Economic sluggishness in Japan has not stopped consumer electronics leaders like Matsushita, Panasonic, Toshiba and Sony from envisioning a day when homes, cars and offices will be linked by digital networks.

"Now corporations are providing the digital products. Next comes building networks for them to communicate," said Dempa Shimbun's Nishiyama. He expects companies to develop detailed network plans by 2003.

In audio, the trend is towards downsizing. Consumers insist on smaller units with multifunction applications. "Clients do not want an appliance for each function. They prefer combinations like VCR/DVD players, receivers with CD or DVD players, TVs with DVD players or set-top boxes with hard disks," Lanzendorf said.

Once-soaring mobile phone sales have fallen in the UK and Germany. Mistaken industry assumptions that consumers would continue buying and upgrading to new models nearly every year have led to inflated growth expectations, Ward said.

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