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Hong Kong International Stationery Fair(HKTDC Gifts, Premium & Stationery, Vol 04,2000)


Vol. 4 2000



SHOW PREVIEW

Hong Kong International Stationery Fair
9-12 January 2001

Countdown Proceeds To Fair Debut

Bright Colours, More Functions Ahead

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

Specialization Drives Fair Expansion

Price And Practicality Lead Product Trend Stakes

 

Hong Kong International Stationery Fair

9-12 January 2001

Expected Visitors 9,000
Expected Exhibitors 120
Fair Hours 9-11 Jan 2001
12 Jan 2001
*Buyer registration hours
9:30am-6:30pm (9:00am-6:00pm*)
9:30am-5:00pm (9:00am-4:30pm*)
Product Mix Writing equipment; paper and paper products; office supplies; artists' equipment; educational systems; children's stationery and school supplies
Venue Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre
Organizers Hong Kong Trade Development Council
Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd
Visitor Enquiries Hong Kong Trade Development Council
Exhibitions Department
Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre
1 Expo Drive, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 2240-4338   Fax: (852) 2824-0026
Email: exhibitions@tdc.org.hk
Web site: http://hkstationeryfair.com
Concurrent Fair Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair 2001



Countdown Proceeds To Fair Debut

STATIONERY and office-supplies companies eagerly await the debut of the Hong Kong International Stationery Fair, set for 9-12 January 2001, at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC).

Jointly organized by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC) and Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd, the fair is an outgrowth of the Pen & Paper Show formerly held at the end of each year.

"The fair offers a broad-based marketing platform for the stationery and office-supplies industry, so we decided it was appropriate to rename it," says TDC senior exhibitions manager Anne Chick.

The new fair will occupy 3,880 square metres in the Grand Hall of the HKCEC and is expected to attract 120 exhibitors from the Chinese mainland, Europe, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand and the US, plus more than 9,000 visitors.

The Hong Kong International Stationery Fair runs concurrently with Asia's largest toy show, the Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair, at the same venue. A survey at the Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair 2000 showed 25% of the buyers were interested in children's stationery and back-to-school items. "Strategic timing helps us to match these buyers with a host of stationery companies," Chick says.

Messe Frankfurt general manager Betty Heywood says the scheduling "is ideal for buyers needing to replenish stocks after the busy Christmas season".

Ringsun Industrial Ltd, which sells electronic staplers, punches and tape dispensers, hopes to do 30% of its annual business at the fair. Cannes Lam, assistant to the company's managing director, says: "It's an important fair for us. We believe matching it with the Toys & Games Fair is good for sales."

The Stationery Fair features six product categories: writing equipment, paper and paper products, office supplies, artists' equipment, educational systems, and children's stationery and school supplies.

Matching Corpn Ltd believes the show will elevate its profile among buyers. "Our business is less than a year old, so we aim to promote ourselves," says Venice Lau, marketing executive at the company, which sells metal office items like scissors, letter openers and card-holders.

In 1999, Hong Kong's total exports of office and stationery supplies reached US$454m, up 18% on 1998. Major markets were the US, Europe and the Chinese mainland.

Fittings for binders and files, clips and staples, writing and drawing inks, pens and sliding pencils are all large export categories.

Notably, Hong Kong's exports of stationery and office supplies exceeded US$270m in the first six months this year, up 33% over the first half of 1999.

Chick says the Hong Kong International Stationery Fair targets not just Asian markets, but markets in the West as well. "We intend to expand and hope to develop the fair into an international event," she says.


Bright Colours, More Functions Ahead

BUOYED by strong export growth in the year 2000 and beyond, Hong Kong's office and stationery industry is upbeat about sales prospects.

Major export items include paper stationery (sketchbooks, memo pads, exercise books, shopping bags and gift-wrapping materials), plastic school and office supplies, pens and pencils, writing and drawing inks, fittings for binders or files, clips and staples.

Manufacturers are responding to rising demand for products that are ergonomic in design and sophisticated in function. The trend is toward bright, multifunctional items.

Konwell Industries (HK) Ltd is launching plastic desk organizers in a range of iMac-inspired colours. Some models also feature optional stationery attachments, such as rulers, pencils and pens. "People want new items, iMac or metallic colours and products able to do more than one thing," says Konwell's general manager Albert Chu.

Other companies are making ball-point pens that incorporate magnifying glasses, needles and threads, or torches. Message pads with light displays to show incoming messages and dual-time LCD clocks are proving popular too.

Stationery sets, typically consisting of a plastic ruler, tape measure, retractable paper cutter, tape dispenser, pencil and pencil sharpener, stapler and scissors, are another growing sales item.

Also in demand are licensed products associated with animal or blockbuster-movie characters.

Ringsun Industrial Ltd, which specializes in electronic staplers, punches and tape dispensers, has excelled with its Hello Kitty staplers. "We sell them as gift-premium products," says Cannes Lam, assistant to the managing director.

The seven-year-old firm exports mainly to North America, but hopes to expand to Japan and South Africa. It plans to introduce a two-in-one stapler-plus-punch and a tape dispenser for the industrial market.

In 1999, Hong Kong's total exports of stationery items reached US$454m, up 18% on 1998. For the first half of 2000, exports rose another 33%.

Sales to the US, the largest market, are expected to remain strong. In Europe, consumer spending is growing steadily. The economic recovery in Asia and an expected rebound in the Japanese economy are other positive signs. Rising standards of living on the Chinese mainland also bode well for demand.

To outpace competitors from Taiwan and Korea, Hong Kong firms stress product variety, high quality, innovative designs and prompt delivery. Konwell's Chu says: "We don't cut prices to compete. We go for better quality."

Though once a seasonal, back-to-school business, the stationery industry has received a boost from widespread computer use and a surge in home offices. These trends show no signs of easing.

For Hong Kong's manufacturers, all indications point to continued good fortune.

WRITTEN BY ANDREA PAWLYNA


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 No. of Exhibitors: 3,033* 54,595 68,350m2
* Not including the concurrent Hong Kong Premium Show 2000 which had 413 exhibitors
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.

WRITTEN BY HELEN WONG

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