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HKTDC Gifts and Premium Fair 2011 Fair Review
Green Gifts, Natural Niches

  The vast variety of enticing items on offer makes the fair the perfect place to fill order books
  The vast variety of enticing items on
offer makes the fair the perfect place to
fill order books
Eco-friendly technology for staying in the pink is gaining prominence while products inspired by Mother Nature continue to win the hearts of “green” consumers.

These key highlights set abuzz the 26th HKTDC Hong Kong Gifts and Premium Fair, the world’s largest show of its kind, which was held during 27-30 April 2011 and set a new record with some 4,070 exhibitors in total participating from 36 countries and regions.

Organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council in cooperation with the Hong Kong Exporters’ Association, the fair responded to growing global demand for eco-friendly and health-related products with two new zones —“Green Gifts” and “Personal & Well-being Gifts”.

The latter wowed buyers with delightful toiletries, bath and spa accessories and healthcare gadgets galore, and soaking up much interest was Wellshine Hong Kong Ltd’s konjac sponge made from a material containing glucomannan, a fibre derived from the konjac plant.

“The glucomannan content of this all-natural sponge acts to moisturise the skin while cleansing and it has a soothing effect on hypersensitive skin. The sponge is also biodegradable,” said Sales Manager Karen Chan.

The Green Gifts zone displayed a myriad of environmentally friendly products, such as PS One (HK) Ltd’s recycled polyethylene terephthalate (RPET) bags, including shopping and tote bags, backpacks and cosmetics purses.

“RPET is a durable and washable material that we’re especially keen to promote in response to the growing awareness of environmental concepts globally,” said Salesman Zachary Lam.

Biodegradable plastic water bottles were in the spotlight at Lister Enterprises (HK) Ltd. “These bottles are made of a material containing Bio-Batch, a biodegradable additive for plastics,” said Marketing Executive Carmen Kong.

Offering a natural option was India’s Eco Jute Pvt Ltd with its wide range of attractive and durable shopping bags made from the fibre of the jute plant.

“Awareness about our products is increasing in our main market of Europe. The ban on plastic bags has led consumers to demand more eco-friendly bags,” said Managing Director Siddharth Lohariwal. “The jute bags are very strong, and although not washable, you can clean them with a damp cloth.”

Italy has banned plastic bags since January 2011 while a Europe-wide ban is reportedly under consideration by officials.

Buyers at the fair confirmed there is growing demand for environmentally sound products. “In our country, all factories and government are following eco-friendly concepts,” said Abu Dhabi plastic packing products trader Bilal Mahmoud Abu Watfa.

Combining environmental awareness with new-age technology and fine craftsmanship, Malaysia’s ARCH Collection Sdn Bhd created a range of framed art pieces, small replicas of landmarks — such as London’s Big Ben and Kuala Lumpur’s Petronas Twin Towers — and gifts that were hand-assembled from several layers of laser-cut veneers of different wood species. Every product includes a description of the design and information about the building or tradition that inspired it.

“Every piece is an original; no two pieces are alike because even though the veneer may be from the same species of wood, the grain and colour tones will be different,” advised Sales and Marketing Director Leon Kim Yoke.

He claimed that the company uses only wood veneer obtained from sustainable sources, and that the types of wood employed include beech, cherry, maple and oak. “Each type of wood gives a unique grain pattern and a different tone so that different wood veneers can be combined for a multihued effect,” said Mr Kim Yoke.

The ability to use new technology to enhance traditional craftsmanship was shared by AH-HA Co Ltd with its range of laser-cut wooden storage boxes, home accessories and decorative items, such as a wooden laser-cut coaster with an intricate Chinese design offered at a unit price of about US$3 FOB Yantian.

“The beauty of Chinese designs is most effectively brought out by laser-cut technology. We’re also able to offer other designs on an OEM basis depending on customers’ requirements,” said Head of Sales Samson Chan.

Another new fair highlight this year was Treasure Hunt, which showcased a wealth of gift ideas designed to drive business, including electronic products and gadgets, executive gifts, fun items, seasonal and festive offerings, sporting and outdoor items and toys.

The fair also featured an array of proven theme zones including:

  • Tech Gifts — electronic items including the latest in mobile entertainment, note pads with solar chargers for mobile phones, and a variety of USB and PC peripherals
  • World of Gifts Ideas — popular presents
  • Hall of Fine Designs — high-end, branded items and designer collections

These and other features together ensured the fair was a comprehensive showcase of the world’s hottest gift and premium items.

Futuristic designs abounded, such as a range of 3D postcards from Germany’s mbmSystems GmbH. “These cards give the true 3D effect without the need for 3D glasses like in cinemas,” said Managing Director Alexander Haun.

He is also marketing Stellanova’s Magnetic Levitating Planets, which comes with a choice of planets including Mars, Jupiter and Venus. The planet floats in mid-air thanks to an electronically controlled magnetic field generated from the item’s base unit.
“Simply plug in the unit to the mains supply and sensors in the base activate an electronic magnet in the upper part of the frame, thereby creating a magnetic field that enables the planet to hover in mid-air,” explained Mr Haun.

Modern design also distinguished Young Xing Gift Co Ltd’s new series of silicone cardholders (model YX00159), a recent addition to its popular aluminium and spray-painted varieties.

“These silicone cardholders are popular with the iPhone generation because of their cool colours and stylish design. They feature an inbuilt PVC compartment sleeve that allows users to store different name cards separately,” said Sales Supervisor Dick Tam, adding that the cardholders were offered in a variety of colours at US$1.79 each FOB Guangzhou.

Such clever and attractive products reinforced Hong Kong’s position not only as the pre-eminent sourcing hub for gifts and premiums, but also as a platform for the exchange of creative ideas, technology and market intelligence.