6 Oct 2005
In Full Swing(HKTDC Gifts, Premium & Stationery, Vol 04,2005)
Jeffrey Lam, chairman of the show's organising committee, noted that the overwhelming response to the first and the second editions of the SSS verified the need for an extra event for relevant industry sectors in addition to the highly specialised and dedicated fairs held in the traditional buying seasons.
"The SSS, and its timing, offers buyers and exhibitors an ideal mid-season platform to launch new business," he said. "The SSS has quickly become a convenient one-stop sourcing opportunity for buyers to grasp the latest ranges on offer by suppliers, who in turn can promote their latest innovations and tap into new marketing and distribution channels."
Echoing those sentiments, Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC) senior exhibitions manager Anne Chick also commented on the impact of shorter product life cycles on purchase patterns.
"With today's consumers becoming more demanding in regard to product variety and novelty, buyers need to replenish their shelves more regularly while manufacturers need to come up with new ideas to meet the market needs. The SSS serves both buyer and seller and, moreover, provides buyers another opportunity to place last-minute holiday season orders," said Chick.
If proof was required, it was highly visible in the form of the fine products and merchandise displayed by 1,259 exhibitors from 21 countries and regions - including group pavilions from the Chinese mainland, India, Korea, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
Apart from visiting individual exhibitors and group pavilions, there was plenty for buyers to see and do. For example, five easy-to-navigate themed zones attracted lots of attention: Dining & Cooking, Fun & Play, Gift Ideas, Home Living and Style & D嶰or provided clear indications of the kaleidoscope of merchandise on offer, while a premium section - Treasure Island - was dedicated to distinguished products displaying superb creativity and quality.
Also joining the hunt for business at the SSS this year were 64 buying missions from 35 countries and regions, proving the event's fast growing prominence among key international buyers like idee+spiel and Chicco Babyausstattung GmbH of Germany, Hudson's Bay Company of Canada, Sanrio Co of Japan, the PMS International Group of the UK and Stockmann of Finland.
In addition, the Japanese Procurement Centre - set up adjacent to Hall 2 - hosted a delegation of 19 Japanese companies anxious to map out their sourcing network in Asia.
Toys 'R' Us-Japan Ltd director of product development department, merchandise division, Taka Tohyama said, "The SSS is very important to us. With the December holidays as our busiest season, we see the July show as our best chance to find last-minute new products. The timing allows us to meet vendors, view products and follow-through design processes and still have everything completed by December."
Fellow Japanese buyer Mikami Co Ltd chairman Y. Mikami said he was well prepared for his second visit to the fair. "My company produces and markets items for outdoor and indoor living. We want to produce mythical creatures that fit in with fung-shui principles to bring people success and prosperity. They are difficult to find nowadays but companies in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai used to make them and still have the expertise. I am meeting several exhibitors here, who I identified through the TDC's Business Matching Service before I came."
One highly impressed buyer was Bharat Chandani of Homes r Us Trading LLC, the home furniture and furnishings retail chain from Dubai. "Hong Kong holds a lot of attraction for us because it is a blend of East and West. Suppliers here are very competitive. Staging the event in July is good because we do not have to hold stock from earlier in the year and there is an element of freshness. There are plenty of products we are interested in - soft and hard furnishings, bathroom accessories, table items, and bed linens etc - and we will probably place enough orders to fill about 15 containers."
Equally enthralled was Stockmann of Finland department store division buyer Outi Lampenius, who said he was amazed by the myriad of exhibits on display. "We have six department stores in Finland with a seventh opening later this year. I am sourcing items for the garden department, but I am also attracted to some other fantastic items that I will be reporting to other departments after I return. The timing of the fair is good for us as it gives us enough time to find new lines for next summer."
The SSS also provided a comprehensive information hub for industry players who were able to take advantage of four seminars addressing different themes and encompassing topics on environmental awareness and tightened rules in the toy industry; the implications of C-TPAT (Custom-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism) in Supply Chain Cargo Security; effective credit management; and the importance of quality management systems.
The SSS is a fresh, new name that has quickly established itself as a must-visit in the diaries of tens of thousands of businessmen worldwide - and everyone eagerly awaits the 2006 edition.
WRITTEN BY WINNIE HUI