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Springing Ahead With Smooth Sounds(HKTDC Electronics, Vol 02,2007)

Hong Kong Electronics Fair (Spring Edition)

 

 

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Digital audio and video dominated proceedings at Asia's largest electronics fair and look set to dictate demand during the coming year as well.

Consumers worldwide still can't get enough of MP3 and MP4 audio and multimedia products, and the trend shows no sign of slowing in the foreseeable future.

That's the considered opinion of experienced industry observers at the Hong Kong Electronics Fair (Spring Edition), held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from April 14-17.

"MP3 and MP4 are the fastest-growing consumer electronics categories," maintained Tom Dudderidge, managing director of UK-based Disruptive Group.

He should know as MP3s and MP4s are Disruptive's major product categories, along with iPod-related products that include speaker systems, headphones, remote controls, AC chargers and cables and FM transmitters.

California-based dreamGEAR is similarly dedicated to providing the latest in design and performance in video game accessories and consumer electronics.

"The market is growing for MP3 and MP4 players," the five-year-old company's vice president of sales Moris Mirzadeh insisted. "It's just the beginning of what's ahead."

Mirzadeh added that the best thing about the Hong Kong Electronics Fair is that it enables dreamGEAR to reach customers from all over the world. "Twenty-five per cent of our annual orders come from this fair, though we also exhibit at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and CeBit in Germany," Mirzadeh said. "We'll come back to Hong Kong next year with a bigger booth - maybe twice the size."

Local Hong Kong companies such as MP3 manufacturer R. Stone Ltd, which seeks to combine Bluetooth and cell phone technology for a seamless world of music and communication, were equally upbeat about future prospects.

"We think the future for MP3 players looks good," manager Rita Tong enthused. "The market in Hong Kong is mature but in many overseas countries MP3s are new, so we see sales growing - especially because of Bluetooth technology."

R. Stone also makes chargers, GPS systems and headsets and exports its products mainly to Europe and the US. "This is our fourth time at the fair," Tong revealed, adding that a lot of overseas customers attend the Hong Kong Electronics Fair. "The traffic has been very satisfying and the customer quality makes us very happy."

Taking a slightly different approach, iPod speaker, mobile TV and tablet DVD player manufacturer Apollo Worldwide Ltd launched its first digital photo frame under its NEXTBASE brand.

Corporate marketing manager Evon Chow maintained that the main benefit of the Hong Kong Electronics Fair was that it enabled Apollo Worldwide to meet new buyers and show its products.

"We've been exhibiting for the past 4-5 years and it has allowed us to meet our internal sales targets for new customers in the three months after the fair," Chow remarked.

"We exhibit at the China Sourcing Show and the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and IFA in Germany - the Hong Kong show and IFA are the best."

Similarly positive about future prospects was 18-year-old Yusan Industries Ltd, which manufactures MP3 players, boom boxes, micro systems and Internet radios and is known for its slim, hi-tech designs.

Spokeswoman Linna Yiu said buyers were impressed by the company's sophisticated-looking products. "We had a lot of Europeans stop by our booth as well as Russians and South Americans," she explained, adding that Europe and Russia were Yusan's best overseas markets. "Most were looking for new products that had a lot of functions."

SETTING NEW RECORDS

This year's Hong Kong Electronics Fair (Spring Edition) and International ICT Expo at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre attracted a record number of nearly 3,000 exhibitors.

The Spring Electronics Fair from April 14-17 featured:

  • 2,406 exhibitors - up nearly 7% from last year
  • first-time participation from Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland, India, Ireland and the UK
  • a total of 576 International ICT Expo exhibitors - up nearly nine per cent over last year - with new exhibitors Denmark, Germany, Italy and Japan
  • more than 51,000 buyers - mainly from the Chinese mainland, the US, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Australia, Germany, India, the UK and Singapore - visited the fair
  • numbers of buyers from outside Hong Kong increased by 4%

The record attendance reflects the buoyant outlook for an industry that accounts for nearly 50% of Hong Kong's total exports and which surged 14% to US$156bn last year.

Little wonder the fairs attracted 25,000 registered buyers and 137 buying missions with 3,000 companies, including 5,500 new buyers from such well-known chain stores as Breville, Sharper Image, Karstadt Quelle GmbH, Carrefour and Autobacs.

Two new zones at Expo Drive Hall met this increased demand for digital electronics and home automation products: Home Tech offered a wide range of intelligent home appliances, while Vision & Sound featured home theatre and entertainment systems.

Brand-name collections were displayed in an elegant setting at the Hall of Fame, while the Lighting Section spotlighted the latest lighting design and technology.

Fair highlights included the Hong Kong Electronics Parts Procurement Square, where top Japanese electronics companies Lauda, RB Controls and Tescom met potential suppliers.

The Metal Parts and Components Pavilion showcased a wide variety of metal components from 16 Hong Kong Metals Manufacturing Association companies.

Popular exhibits included digital imaging, electronic manufacturing services, health-care electronics, multimedia, office automation and equipment, personal electronics, security products, telecommunication products and trade services.

Running alongside the Hong Kong Electronics Fair, International ICT Expo brought together the latest software applications, information technology and computer solutions.

ICT Expo was divided into eight zones:

  • Enterprise Solutions
  • E-Logistics & Retail Technologies
  • Digital Living & Multimedia
  • Home-grown Innovations
  • IT Outsourcing
  • Linux & Open Source
  • Network & Mobility
  • Trade-related Services

Industry conferences, seminars and forums covered such essential industry topics as intellectual property rights, the Russian consumer electronics market, hazardous waste management, mobile business and marketing, e-public services development, IT outsourcing, digital trade and transportation networks, near-field communication (NFC) and "green" ICT.

SURE TO SHINE

The electronics and ICT markets are expected to shine this year, according to an independent survey released by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC).

Fuelled by popular items, including AV products, home appliances, IT, multimedia, digital imaging and telecom products, industry growth worldwide is expected to reach 12%, with retail growth in emerging markets pegged at 16%.

Traders pointed to the Global Positioning System (GPS) and Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (DMB) as the hottest new areas in personal electronics.

Networks and mobility were seen as the information and communication technology industry's most promising categories for future growth.

More than 200 exhibitors and 400 buyers attending the 4th Hong Kong Electronics Fair (Spring Edition) and its sister event, the International ICT Expo, were interviewed for the survey.

TEXT BY ANDREA PAWLYNA