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Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair 2001 (HKTDC Gifts, Premium & Stationery, Vol 01,2001)

Vol. 1 2001


Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair 2001
24-27 April 2001

Specialization Drives Fair Expansion

Price And Practicality Lead Product Trend Stakes

Gifts And Premium Exports Buoyed By US Economy

Premier Location Draws Trade Fair Crowds


Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair 2001

24-27 April 2001

No. of Exhibitors No. of Visitors Gross Exhibition Space
Statistical Data for Hong Kong Gifts & Houseware Fair 2000 and Hong Kong Premium Show 2000 3,446 54,595 68,350m2
Venue Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre 1 Expo Drive, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Opening Hours 24-26 April 2001
27 April 2001
* Buyer Registration Hours
9:00am-6:30pm (8:30am-6:00pm*)
9:00am-5:00pm (8:30am-4:30pm*)
Product Mix Advertising gifts & premiums, ceramic gifts, consumer electronics, party & Christmas decorations, pictures & photo frames, silverware, stationery, toys & sporting goods, travel goods & umbrellas, watches & clocks, general gift items and others.
Organizer Hong Kong Trade Development Council in cooperation with The Hong Kong Exporters' Association
Sales Enquiry Contacts Ms Candy Kwan
Ms Sally Lau
Mr C.K. Chan
Tel: (852) 2240-4013
Tel: (852) 2240-4367
Tel: (852) 2240-4380
Visitors Enquiry Contacts Ms Stella Poon
Mr Lucas Chang
Tel: (852) 2240-4435
Tel: (852) 2240-4393
Enquiries via Post Exhibitions Department
Hong Kong Trade Development Council
Unit 13, Expo Galleria, Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre
1 Expo Drive, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Enquiries via Fax (852) 2824-0026
Enquiries via E-mail exhibitions@tdc.org.hk
Web site http://hkgiftspremiumfair.com

Specialization Drives Fair Expansion

THE Hong Kong Gifts and Premium Fair 2001, which will showcase the region's newest and trend-setting giftware products, is set to take place on 24-27 April at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC).

The 2001 fair has grown out of the overwhelming response of exhibitors in recent years to the Hong Kong Gifts and Houseware Fair and the Hong Kong Premium Show, previously held concurrently as the largest such trade event of its kind in Asia and the third-largest in the world.

To meet the growing demands of exhibitors and buyers, as well as to cope with increased specialization within the industry, the organizer, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC), will expand the original fair into two consecutive events in 2001: the Hong Kong Houseware Fair (17-20 April), followed by the Hong Kong Gifts and Premium Fair.

The latter four-day event will showcase gifts and premiums from a diverse range of categories, including ceramic gifts, consumer electronics, fashion jewellery and accessories, picture and photograph frames, silverware, toys and sporting goods, travel goods and watches and clocks.

At the last event in April 2000, a record-breaking 54,595 visitors (up 18% on the previous year) viewed products from 3,446 exhibitors representing 41 countries and regions.

"At the 2000 fair we used up all the available exhibition space -- 74,000 square metres, the maximum that could be utilized in the old and new wings of the HKCEC -- and we still had over 700 companies on the waiting list," says Anne Chick, the TDC's senior exhibitions manager.

The TDC believes the new format will enable "more refined product specialization, more targeted buyer traffic, more effective product display and a more conducive environment for networking and business discussion".

"We're expecting about 2,600 exhibitors and 16 group pavilions at the Gifts and Premium Fair in 2001," says Chick.

Results from a buyer survey on the 2001 expansion found that of the 1,359 respondents, 87% said they will attend the Gifts and Premium Fair, while 59% said they will attend the Houseware Fair. Half of the respondents said they will visit both fairs.

The new format, says Chick, will allow a larger number of exhibitors to display a wider array for buyers and facilitate greater business opportunities. Overseas trade buyers at the 2000 fair represented 57% of the total visitor numbers, with buyers from the US, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore and Australia topping the list. Attendance of overseas buyers represented a 24% increase over 1999.

The fair also promises to be an information forum to help industry players keep abreast of market developments such as e-commerce. "We want to make the fair not just a place for business transactions but also a platform for networking and information exchange," says Chick.

To that end, fair participants will be able to attend seminars on pertinent topics such as the Internet, e-commerce, market forecasts, product trends and the Chinese mainland market.

A survey of exhibitors and buyers will also be conducted during the event, and the results will be released and posted on the TDC's Web site. "Since so many international buyers and exhibitors will be under the one roof, we want to make use of this opportunity to survey them about subjects such as trends, forecasts, and the impact of the Chinese mainland's entry to the World Trade Organization," says Chick.

Visitors looking for branded products will appreciate the new Hall of Fine Designs, which will showcase designer items, limited editions and other high-quality goods.

Price And Practicality Lead Product Trend Stakes

WHAT will the ideal gifts and premium products look like in 2001? They will be hi-tech yet organic, classy but not too pricey, above all practical and made from materials that would gain Greenpeace's approval. That's according to a range of opinions from exhibitors who will participate at the Hong Kong Gifts and Premium Fair 2001.

Cost-effective products will be big, predicts exhibitor Dennis Chan, who is managing director of Longford Industrial Ltd, a Hong Kong firm which produces designer watches and clocks under the Timestone brand. "Consumers are buying more practical things. If an item offers value for money, then the product will do well," says Chan.

"In general, if items include new technology, that will help too. Future markets are influenced by the Internet, so any linkage to it may help sales. For example, Swatch has invented its own time index and introduced a watch that can tell what they call 'Internet time' as well as the 24-hour clock."

With the global trend for products reflecting an environmentally friendly face, the demand for recycled paper products is still strong, particularly in the US and European markets, and in countries such as Australia, where the environmental conscience is strong.

"Yes, the trend is for very natural and organic-looking products that are environmentally friendly," agrees Kit Lai, manager of Card Kingdom (Asia) Ltd, "but in this area, customers are also always looking for new designs.

"The trend over the past two years has been for handmade greeting cards with handcrafted detailing. We have a niche in that area. We also do a lot of handcrafting -- a lot of straight printers won't do that. We can take advantage of the lower costs on the Chinese mainland and get the handcrafting done over there," Lai says.

On the giftware front, candles and aromatherapy accessories have become -- and are expected to remain -- big sellers as consumers continue to look toward lifestyle products. According to a recent TDC report on Hong Kong's giftware industry, consumers now view candles and related accessories as a relatively cheap and accessible fashion statement for their homes. In the US about seven in 10 households say they have used candles at home.

"A number of exhibitors told me that aromatherapy candles were very popular gift items at the Hong Kong Gifts and Houseware Fair 2000," comments TDC senior exhibitions manager Anne Chick.

Consumers are not the only cost-conscious customers. Buyers of stationery products are also demanding more value for money from suppliers. "Customers are looking for high-quality products and materials, but at cheaper prices," confirms Betty Chan, sales manager with Tiger Enterprise Corpn, which makes pencil cases, school bags and pouches mainly for export to Europe.

In general, modular stationery sets remain popular gift items, while the trend for bright colours and creative designs will continue. Natural colours and garden motifs, reflecting the environmental theme and a move toward function over form, are also high on the trend-setting list of attributes.

In the corporate gift world, exhibitors such as desk-set-and-accessory manufacturer Olmecs Int'l Co Ltd find their customers consistently look for quality, high-end products. According to Olmecs managing director Stella Chu, the trend is "still for simple, elegant styling".

Even as suppliers prepare to launch their new designs, it is a safe bet to say that the ideal product of the 2001 Hong Kong Gifts and Premium Fair is set to be a crowd-pleaser.

Gifts And Premium Exports Buoyed By US Economy

HONG Kong's gifts and premium industry continues to regain ground lost during the Asian recession, buoyed by strong consumer demand in the US and the EU, and a recovery in Asian markets such as Japan and in Southeast Asia.

Total exports grew 8% to US$15.67bn in the first nine months of 2000, after falling 4.2% in the same period in 1999, according to figures from the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC). TDC economist Billy Wong attributes the rebound to the continuing strength of the US economy. "US growth is quite impressive and consumer demand is sustainable," he says.

Exports to the US, which remains Hong Kong's largest market for gifts and premiums, were up 9% in the first nine months of 2000, compared with a 6.2% decline between January and September in 1999 (year-on-year). Industry analysts expect US retail sales of giftware and novelties to maintain a stable growth of about 3.5% per annum during 2001. A continued growth in sales of toys -particularly video games - and candles is also expected.

EU exports nudged up by 3% in January-September 2000, after slipping 1.5% over the same period in 1999. Wong says falling unemployment in the EU explains much of the increased consumer demand. Among giftware and houseware products, Chinese-themed lines - and those with other cultural themes - have been increasingly popular items in Europe.

The outlook for the Asian region is also optimistic, with export figures for the first nine months of 2000 also posting better results than the same nine months the previous year. Exports to Japan increased 18%, while those to Southeast Asia saw a 19% growth.

"The Asian crisis has bottomed out and recovery seems to be on a stable grid," observes Wong. "In the near term I expect the overseas markets in the US, the EU and Asia to continue to grow. Although US growth may slow a bit, it will be sustainable, while in Asian countries the growth will be more dramatic."

The big picture painted by economists is borne out by stories from Hong Kong manufacturers. Overall sales for the first half of 2000 rose dramatically for desk set and accessory manufacturer Olmecs Int'l Co Ltd. Managing director Stella Chu says: "In Asia, we've had more orders from Singapore, the Philippines and Taiwan - sales were up around 20%. In Germany sales were up about 40% and the US was around 25-30% up on last year."

Business in 2000 also picked up for designer timepiece maker Longford Industrial Ltd, following a flat year in 1999. Managing director Dennis Chan confidently forecasts a 5-8% growth in sales in 2001.

Looking ahead to the Chinese mainland's pending entry to the World Trade Organization (WTO), the TDC's Wong predicts WTO membership will provide another area of expansion for Hong Kong companies.

"The mainland's domestic sales ratio is expected to liberalise, so that may open more room for expansion. Tariff rates should also go down. That's the general trend after WTO accession," says the economist.

WTO liberalisation stands to benefit Hong Kong firms like stationery accessories maker Tiger Enterprise Corpn. "WTO membership should help us solve the quota problems for textile products exported to the US," says sales manager Betty Chan.

Hong Kong companies have traditionally held an edge in the world market when it comes to design, manufacturing, quality control, price and delivery. And in an industry that earned more than US$20bn in 1999, those qualities are worth their weight in gold.

Premier Location Draws Trade Fair Crowds

FOR the past six years, an annual trip to the Hong Kong Gifts and Houseware Fair has been something of a pilgrimage for buyer Delfina Vasquez. "Every time the fair has helped us identify new business opportunities. There is no way I would miss this annual event," says the product development manager of American firm Linz & Co Ltd.

"We've joined many fairs held elsewhere, but this one is the best," agrees exhibitor Constance Alicot, manager of RECREA of France.

These stories are a tribute to Hong Kong's growing stature as a premier trade fair centre in Asia. In 1999 Hong Kong was ranked as one of the leading cities in the region for international meetings, hosting 60 exhibitions which attracted about 211,000 overseas visitors, according to the Hong Kong Convention and Incentive Travel Bureau.

Hong Kong's distinct advantages over its rivals include its top-class infrastructure and strategic location in Asia and proximity to the Chinese mainland. It is also the world's 10th largest trading economy.

The presence of world-class venues like the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre - which won the Meetings and Incentive Travel Industry Award as "the Best Overseas Centre" for the seventh consecutive year in 2000 - top-rank hotels, efficient port facilities and a state-of-the-art airport at Chek Lap Kok, all contribute to Hong Kong's trade fair success, says C.S. Lee, TDC's director of exhibitions and publications.

"Hong Kong is an international hub," says Lee. "It is also a free society and a free port, allowing the free flow of products without interference."

Hong Kong's edge will only increase with the Chinese mainland's accession to the World Trade Organization. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority believes the impact for Hong Kong would be "unequivocally positive", and estimates that growing re-exports will boost economic growth by 0.5% to 1% over the next couple of years.

It is a view shared by the TDC. "There will be a surge of interest from overseas producers to sell to the Chinese mainland," predicts Lee. "It's a developing market and one of great potential in the future. With Hong Kong having 20 years of trading with the Chinese mainland since its opening up in 1979, and its context within China, it's natural for overseas buyers to come here to find partners and do business."

Proximity to the Pearl River Delta - the manufacturing powerhouse of southern China - ensures strong business for Hong Kong as a trade fair centre. Being close to the Chinese mainland also allows overseas buyers to tie in trips to trade fairs in cities like Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Shanghai and Beijing.

But it is not only Hong Kong's efficiency and geography that draw exhibitors and buyers. The Hong Kong ethos of work hard, play hard is another part of the city's appeal, says Michael Duck, senior vice-president of Miller Freeman Asia (Ltd). "People come to Hong Kong to see people, do business and have fun," says Duck. "Hong Kong is also a safe city - people feel it's a safe city. It's unique in its outlook and positioning."

It's an outlook and positioning that keeps trade fair business coming back to Hong Kong in ever-increasing numbers.



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