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Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair(HKTDC Gifts, Premium & Stationery, Vol 03,2006)

A Firm Favourite

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The head of the world's oldest and largest network of premiums companies knows an excellent trade show when he sees one, and Ross Thompson was certainly impressed by Asia's largest gifts fair.

"If we had to visit one fair in the world, it would be the Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair," the International Gift Corp president enthused after the latest four-day event closed at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on May 1, 2006. "The Hong Kong fair has the latest designs and the most innovative products, and we always find good things here."

Ringing endorsements such as these translate into big business, as Thompson's organisation alone has more than 40 members from different countries with total sales of more than US$500m per annum. "This year we have come with the biggest-ever delegation, including over 100 member representatives, to meet existing suppliers, build relationships, discuss new projects and find new ideas."

Such enthusiastic sentiments are music to the ears of Anne Chick, senior exhibitions manager of fair organiser, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC).

"This year's fair further underlined the Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair's status as the world's second-largest gifts fair by attracting a record-breaking 3,879 exhibitors from 35 countries and regions, a 10% increase over the previous year," she observed.

These included 15 group pavilions from Australia, the Chinese mainland, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Korea, Macau, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the UK and The Hong Kong Exporters' Association. "A total of 54,875 buyers from 137 countries and regions also attended the fair, including 26,321 from outside Hong Kong," Chick added.

The TDC also welcomed more than 80 buying missions comprising 2,844 companies or over 5,000 buyers from 45 countries and regions.

They were undoubtedly impressed by numerous TDC innovations such as the new Expo Drive Hall that added 7,000 square metres of exhibition space.

"This extra accommodation housed an additional 330 exhibitors, further increasing the fair's appeal to buyers," Chick noted.

Developments such as this helped boost the appeal of proven drawcards such as the prestigious Hall of Fine Designs, which housed distinctive, high-quality products aimed at the top-end market.

"There were 49 world-class exhibitors from Hong Kong, Belgium, Germany and the US in the Hall of Fine Designs this year, including several leading design services companies," Chick added.

However, the Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair also catered for all tastes and budgets with a wide spectrum of products ranging from stationery and party and Xmas decorations to goods like ceramics and fashion jewellery.

Other categories included advertising gifts and premiums, consumer electronics, corporate gifts, fashion accessories, paper and packaging, pictures and photo frames, silverware, toys and sporting goods, travel goods and umbrellas, watches and clocks and general gift items.

Chick believed the Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair once again truly had something for everyone, befitting Hong Kong's position as one of the world's leading gifts and premiums producers. "Domestic exports of giftware and premiums climbed by 10% in 2005 while re-exports grew a further 2% in the same period, to boost total exports to US$21bn," she noted.

Most major markets increased their imports of Hong Kong gifts and premiums, with the EU expanding 6% and ASEAN leaping 17%. "Much of this growth can be attributed to the trend of Hong Kong companies moving upmarket by using more advanced production technology, developing innovative designs and attractive packaging, as well as enhancing product quality," Chick explained.

She therefore remained confident that the next Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair, to be held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from April 28 - May 1, 2007, would even bigger and better than this year's record-breaking event.

"The Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair is an essential fixture on the international gifts and premiums show calendar for buyers and exhibitors alike, and I have no doubt that it will continue to go from strength to strength in the years ahead," Chick concluded.

New Kid On The Block

Buyers this year thronged to two new zones especially developed by fair organiser, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC) to meet burgeoning demand.

The inaugural Kids' World was packed with goodies catering to children and the young-at-heart, while the special Ladies' Gifts & Premium section reflected the products' perennial popularity worldwide.

"Hong Kong and the TDC are recognised for their ability to anticipate market trends and demands by developing new sections, and these two new zones are part of the evolution of the Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair," TDC senior exhibitions manager Anne Chick noted.

Kids' World featured an exciting array of toys designed to delight girls and boys alike, including fair debutante Jada Toys Co Ltd which makes die-cast collectibles and toys.

"We normally exhibit at toys events, but we are adopting a different approach and want to explore new business sectors," explained senior sales and marketing manager Thomas Poon, who added that Jada was keen to connect with the premiums market.

Jada highlighted its smaller scale models, which are more appropriate for the promotional market. "We offer a variety of scales, but this week we are focusing on the 1:32 models," Poon said. "These are targeted at customers who want to have the vehicles made to their own custom look or who want to have logos printed on them."

Also making its first appearance in a Ladies' Gifts & Premium section that was crammed with everything from fashion jewellery to scarves and handbags was Genex Co, which manufactures tiny watches that women wear on their fingers.

Genex showcased ring watch collections that incorporate natural stones and imitation diamonds in striking colours and styles. "Buyers are looking for collectible items rather than cheap products," marketing manager Kenny Park maintained. "Consumers enjoy the fun and elegance of wearing our unique watches on their fingers."

The 17-year-old company has a strong design team to develop new products and plans to expand its international markets, particularly Europe and Australia. "The fair enables us to establish new contacts and this specialised section makes it even more effective in reaching our target customers," Park added.

The tremendous success of both the Kids' World and Ladies' Gifts & Premium sections ensures that they will become regular fixtures at the Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair.

"Buyers and exhibitors alike were extremely enthusiastic and highly impressed by the quality and quantity of products on offer in both sections, and I am sure they will attract an even stronger following in future," Chick concluded.

WRITTEN BY SANDRA JENNER