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Hong Kong Household

Vol. 2, 2004

Fair Previews

Industry Upbeat About Future Prospects
Houseware Fair Preview

Prime Time Return For Major Event
Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair 2004


Industry Upbeat About Future Prospects

Hong Kong Houseware Fair 2004

April 21-24, 2004

Show Times

Fair DatesOpening Hours Buyer Registration Counter
April 20  2:00pm - 7:00pm
April 21-239:00am - 6:30pm 8:30am - 6:00pm
April 249:00am - 5:00pm8:30am - 4:30pm

Visitor Enquiries: (852) 2240-4388

Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre
1 Harbour Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong

For trade only.
Persons under 18 will not be admitted.
(Admission fee is HK$100 per person)

Hong Kong Trade Development Council

Federation of Hong Kong Industries
Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce
The Chinese General Chamber of Commerce
The Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong
The Hong Kong Exporters' Association
The Indian Chamber of Commerce Hong Kong
Trade and Industry Department, HKSAR Government

Major Exhibits
All types of houseware including:
Artificial Flowers, Bathroom Accessories, Cleaning & Supplies, Furniture, Gardening & Outdoor Accessories, Handicrafts, Hardware & DIY Products, Home Decorations, Household Textile, Kitchenware and Gadgets, Lighting, Health & Personal Care Items, Small Electrical Appliances, Tableware, General Houseware Items and Trade Services & Publications.

Total Exhibitors
July 2003: 3,709
(consolidated fair with Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair)

Total Buyers
July 2003: 62,365
(consolidated fair with Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair)

Gross Area
66,702 square metres

Exhibitions Department
Hong Kong Trade Development Council Unit 13, Expo Galleria
Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre,
1 Expo Drive, Wanchai, Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 2240-4323
Fax: (852) 2824-0249
E-mail: exhibitions@tdc.org.hk
Web: www.hkhousewarefair.com

Standalone Houseware Fair Returns

Hong Kong and Chinese mainland manufacturers and exhibitors are unanimously upbeat about prospects for the Hong Kong Houseware Fair, slated for April 21-24, 2004.

On show at the fair are the latest products from all segments of the housewares sector: furniture, kitchenware and gadgets, small electrical appliances, general houseware items, tableware, hardware and DIY products, household textiles, health and personal care items, bathroom accessories, home decorations, lighting products, handicrafts, gardening and outdoor accessories, artificial flowers, cleaning items and supplies, and trade services and publications.

"Hong Kong's economic outlook seems the brightest for at least two years," says chairman of the fair organising committee Jeffrey Lam, who is unsurprisingly "highly positive" about the prospects for the 2004 edition. "This is the best situation, and the best time, in recent years in terms of business opportunities for Hong Kong."

Lam says fourth-quarter results for last year (2003) were highly satisfactory for most Hong Kong manufacturers and exporters. "Clearly, Hong Kong is over the worst of its economic problems, especially now that the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement [CEPA] with the Chinese mainland has come into force."

A frequent visitor to customers in the US and Europe, and everywhere on his travels, Lam says he found much interest in this agreement offered by the mainland to help revive Hong Kong's economy.

"Thanks to CEPA, and the Chinese mainland's membership of the World Trade Organization, there is now a new generation of big and medium-sized overseas businesses wanting to cut fresh deals with the mainland. Nearly all of them wish to work through Hong Kong as the middleman," he says.

"As a result, I am not only very positive about the fair, but also about Hong Kong's economic prospects. They are easily the brightest for at least two years, and no prudent Hong Kong businessman would let these opportunities slip through his fingers."

Turning to the fair, Lam points out that because of the international security situation and fears over terrorism, more Americans are staying home instead of travelling. "As a result, they are spending money on items for their homes, as seen in a surge in exports of Christmas decorations plus higher-volume throughput in houseware, toys and gifts and premiums," he says.

Agreeing with Lam's positive assessment is Hong Kong Trade Development Council's senior exhibitions manager Anne Chick. "All the signs and indications are very favourable," she says. "We are confidently anticipating a highly successful fair from every aspect - exhibitors, buyers, the latest in innovative products and, most important of all, satisfied customers."

Chick says the message has gone out loud and strong across the globe that Hong Kong is back on a roll after the setbacks of mid-2003. "We can safely say that the Houseware Fair, and the huge range of top quality products it will display, is an absolute 'must' on any international buyer's attendance schedule. This is why we expect a bumper attendance at a bumper fair," she beams.


Emphasis On Design

A typical exhibitor back as usual at the fair, and displaying a highly attractive range of latest-design dinnerware and coffeeware, is Topchoice Industries Ltd. "We take part in six exhibitions every year, including one in Frankfurt, but Hong Kong's Houseware Fair is doubtless the most important of them all," says senior marketing executive Brenda Liang.

The quality of Topchoice products, combined with the appeal of its designs, has placed it firmly on the international stage in a relatively short number of years. In 13 years, Topchoice has built an enviable reputation as a manufacturer of elegant dinnerware and coffeeware that attracts high profile buyers all over the globe. "We sell mainly to Europe, then the US and Australasia," says Liang.

"Interestingly, our designs have now started to catch the eye of buyers in the Middle East and we are doing quite well in the rather demanding luxury markets of Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Kuwait. Also, despite the strength of the domestic porcelain industry there, we sell to Japan."

Topchoice employs a talented and imaginative design team noted for the creative design of its plates, cups, saucers, bowls and other tabletop accessories, marketed under the Multiple Choice brand name.

"Each year, the design team creates between 80-100 fresh designs, chosen after a painstaking selection process involving management and marketing arms," says Liang.

Packaging is another of the company's specialties, adding an eye-catching element for shoppers. "As well as being attractive, such packaging is also practical, since delicate porcelain products require sturdy and common sense packaging to ensure against breakage," she says.

Topchoice takes pains to place its products in attractive coloured boxes depicting the contents, often complemented by ribbons and bows. "This soft-sell approach stimulates sales for special occasions such as Christmas, Valentine's Day and Mother's Day," says Liang.

"We believe in the tried and proven formula of 'What you see is what you get'. Our packaging is based on this approach. What's shown on the outside is contained on the inside right down to the smallest detail and slightest shade of colour. Such packaging sways a lot of buyers."

While Topchoice concentrates mainly on graceful designs, often with a floral theme, it reserves a portion of its output for customers looking for trendy designs on porcelain products. "This is a segment of the market that cannot be overlooked," says Liang. "There will always be people who prefer novelty products to traditional ones, and we cater to their tastes, too."

Topchoice's main factory, with a workforce of 3,000, is in the northern part of the Chinese mainland and it ships by the container-load from Tianjin. Associate factories on the southern mainland, adhering to the same strict quality-control measures, ship their container-loads from Yantian container terminal on the eastern seaboard of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone.


Prime Time Return For Major Event

Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair 2004

April 28 - May 1, 2004

Show Times

Fair DatesOpening HoursBuyer Registration Counter
April 27 (Tue) 2:00pm - 7:00pm
April 28-30 (Wed-Fri)9:00am - 6:30pm8:30am - 6:00pm
May 1 (Sat)9:00am - 5:00pm8:30am - 4:30pm

Visitor Enquiries: (852) 2240-4435

APRIL 28 - MAY 1, 2004

Total Exhibitors
2003: 3,790

Total Visitors
2003: 62,365

Product Mix
All types of gifts and premiums including:
Advertising Gifts & Premiums
Ceramic Gifts
Consumer Electronics
Corporate Gifts
Fashion Jewellery & Accessories
Paper & Packaging
Party & X'mas Decorations
Pictures & Photo Frames
Toys & Sporting Goods
Travel Goods & Umbrellas
Watches & Clocks
General Gift Items, Trade Services & Publications

66,702 square metres

Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre

Hong Kong Trade Development Council in cooperation with The Hong Kong Exporters' Association

HK$100 per person. For trade only. Persons under 18 will not be admitted

Federation of Hong Kong Industries
Trade and Industry Department, HKSAR Government
The Chinese General Chamber of Commerce
The Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong
The Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce
The Indian Chamber of Commerce, Hong Kong

Exhibitions Department
Hong Kong Trade Development Council
Unit 13, Expo Galleria
Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre
1 Expo Drive, Wanchai, Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 2240-4323
Fax: (852) 2824-0249
Email: exhibitions@tdc.org.hk
Web: http://hkgiftspremiumfair.com

The Latest And The Best

Global buyers are sharpening pencils and fine-tuning shopping lists for the 2004 Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair, now back in its "prime time" April slot.

The fair will display the latest in general gift items, advertising gifts and premiums, fashion jewellery and accessories, party and Christmas decorations, ceramic gifts, consumer electronics, pictures and photo frames, silverware, stationery, paper and packaging, toys and sporting goods, travel goods, umbrellas, watches and clocks, trade services and publications.

Most of these products will be high quality yet relatively reasonably-priced items from factories located on the Chinese mainland and in other countries and regions of Asia - a combination that is a big attraction for many buyers.

"With aggregate sales running at US$19bn, Hong Kong is one of the world's biggest exporters of giftware and this fair is the place to source and order the very latest products," says Anne Chick, senior exhibitions manager at the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC).

"This fair is recognised as one of Asia's most important trade events," she adds, "and now that it's back to its usual time slot, TDC is pulling out all the stops to ensure that it's as indispensable as ever... a fully re-energised event featuring the latest in new design trends and upbeat styles."

According to Chick, every indication points to the fair further consolidating its position as by far the best place in Asia to locate the latest in gift ideas, new designs and premiums.

"A further bonus is that the fair dates - Wednesday, April 28 to Saturday, May 1 - are absolutely ideal for buyers preparing for the year's biggest buying season. Yet another reason that it's a five-star must for global buyers," she says.

One of the fair's prime attractions is the Hall of Fine Designs, where upmarket branded products, designer collections and other original items debut in a prestigious and elite setting.

Nobody misses the opportunity to check on the latest top-of-the-market products, and buyers looking for the very best usually head there first to snap up the newest, most exciting items.

"Another big plus," says Chick, "is the online Business Matching Service that will come on stream two months before the event. This is a super timesaver for buyers since it identifies exhibitors by name, product/service and country/region, and enables them to locate their target exhibitors in advance."

In addition, buyers can even make advance appointments with just a click on the Cyber Booking service at the fair's website, which will be available two months before the fair.

The fair is the main source of gifts and premiums for many overseas buyers. Thomas Buscher, product manager of Correct Pro GmbH, of Germany, has been a regular for eight years and says that at the last fair he lodged orders with 10 companies for pens, calculators, backpacks, table clocks and umbrellas, most made in Hong Kong, the mainland and Taiwan.

John Cheung, business director of Iz Marketing, Singapore, placed orders at the last fair for alarm clocks and calculators of "very interesting design", and has become a regular visitor looking for new and innovative designs.

First-time visitor Kuldip Verma, deputy general manager of Flex Industries Ltd, reports locating some "nice gift boxes and CD organisers to add to our existing product lines".

More importantly, he says, attending the fair enabled him to get a better insight into current market trends, while meetings with other buyers and exhibitors had opened the doors to future contacts.

Marketing manager Alex Lee of exhibitor Asia Gravure Ltd, says: "We manufacture 2.8 million picture frames per month, exporting mainly to the US and Europe. This fair is an important event for us and can account for 25% of our sales."

Meanwhile, marketing manager Angela Lee of exhibitor Man Nin Shing Co Ltd, says: "The US and Europe are prime export markets for our 14-year-old firm. The fair is an excellent vehicle for discovering new customers and new markets."

Interestingly, although deferred to July 23-26 following the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak, the 2003 edition of the fair nevertheless attracted 3,790 exhibitors (2,355 of them from Hong Kong) and 62,365 buyers (24,054 from overseas).

The exhibitors came from 31 countries and regions, and the buyers from 128 countries and regions. For 2004, an even greater attendance is anticipated now the fair is back in its "usual" time slot.


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