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HKTDC Summer Sourcing Show for Gifts, Houseware & Toys 2011 Fair Review
Hot Trends, Cool Choices

 
   
Planet protection, healthy living and fun learning came to the fore at a major consumer products fair where numerous items boasted a “wow” factor thanks to clever technology and quirky imaginations.

As such, the HKTDC Summer Sourcing Show for Gifts, Houseware & Toys 2011 spotlighted the latest product trends while offering a cornucopia of choice for buyers seeking a last-minute chance to stock up for the year-end festive shopping season.

The fair was divided into specialised zones — which corresponded to sought-after product categories — to enable precise and efficient business matching.

The prevailing popularity of crystal decorations was reflected in a classy yet fun frog-shaped music box adorned with Swarovski crystals that was exhibited by Hong Kong supplier United Art Metals Fty Ltd in the new Luxury Gifts zone, which was launched amid growing demand for high-end, state-of-the-art items.

“The piece is made of a lightweight metal, which is plated with zinc chrome to give it a very glossy, elegant finish,” said Senior Merchandiser Lam Pui Chi, adding that crystal jewellery was also in vogue.

Another hot product category was educational toys, such as the carry-on-suitcase-shaped planetarium available from Japanese exhibitor Sega Toys Co Ltd in the premier Treasure Island zone dedicated to showcasing the finest cutting-edge designs.

“We call it the Travel model, because it has six cards that can be inserted to show the night sky and constellations above Tokyo, Hawaii, London, Cairo, Sydney and the Antarctic,” explained Licensing and Sales Section Manager Masato Okamura.

“In addition to its obvious educational value in astronomy, it can also aid relaxation as well as help children get a good night’s sleep,” he noted.

The device belongs to the firm’s 21st Century Home Planetarium series, which comprises models of different designs and sizes for different rooms of the house, some of which come with additional functions such as a digital clock, radio or an air purifier.

The series is in demand in Japan where 122,048 units were sold last year and 154,800 pieces have been snapped up so far in 2011.

Mr Okamura also noted energy-saving products were big after nuclear power plants in Japan’s northeast were crippled by the devastating earthquake and tsunami in March. “The trend now is for energy conservation in Japan, so people are thinking about ways to save electricity,” he said.

The market’s increasing interest in environmentally sound products was evident in the Green Gifts and Housewares Zone, where Taiwanese firm Le Avenues Ltd unveiled its latest line of eco-friendly gift and shopping bags.

The shopping bags are made of paper registered as having come from trees grown by the Forest Stewardship Council. “Several large corporations and banks in Hong Kong have already committed to using this paper,” claimed Sales Manager Grace Chen.

“Simplicity, sustainability, ingenuity and respect for natural ingredients are the attributes we embrace for green and responsible living.”

Other offerings from the exhibitor included 100% biodegradable and compostable coffee cups, lids, stirrers, saucers, cutlery and bottles.

Attending to health and well-being was Korea’s Ecobell Co Ltd, with a range of products that employ advanced technology such as the IN Smart Gloves that keep wearers’ hands warm while allowing them to operate any touch-screen device.

“The trick is in the fingers of the gloves, where a blend of materials including silicone conducts the electrical pulse of the human fingers. The screen will respond as quickly as it would to the touch of bare fingers,” said company Consultant Chae Gab Seok. “Orders for these gloves are coming from Japan and Germany.”

Another new item from Ecobell is the Glosion Vitamin-C Dr Shower Head that uses a sophisticated four-part filtration system to purify shower water to help prevent atopy, urtication, itching, skin keratinisation, dandruff and hair damage. “It is ideal for young children and anyone suffering from skin problems, dandruff or asthma,” explained Ms Chae.

Technology likewise reigns supreme at Korean supplier Cheong Tech Co Ltd, which was a hit in the Home Living Zone with a range of delightfully creative products, including colourful luminous hands-free earphones for mobile phones and audio devices.

“These earphones emit light in reaction to voice or music, thus letting others know that the wearer is talking on the phone or listening to music,” said Sales and Marketing Director Kim Bong Suk. “Power consumption is minimal.”

Another scintillating novelty from the firm was a glass holder called Bulcup, which could be the next must-have for a Halloween party.

“The holder, which clasps the glass at the base, has an elongated prong with two sensors that extends up from the base. When the glass is picked up and the prong grasped, the base of the holder lights up, colouring the drink blue, green, yellow, orange, or red,” explained Mr Kim.

The Bulcup, which was shown for the first time at the fair, had already garnered interest from several Japanese buyers, he added.

Visitors were apparently impressed with the wide range of suppliers participating as well as with the quality of products displayed.

“It is interesting to see how fast the Chinese are running ahead,” noted buyer Henry Ha from the Parsley Industrial Co Ltd in the UK. “The quality of the glassware and ceramics is fantastic. I believe they can really compete with the Italians.”

He was also captivated by collections of attractively priced, top-of-the-range freshwater pearls from China. “They are very competitive,” he enthused.