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The Write Show(HKTDC Gifts, Premium & Stationery, Vol 01,2009)

Hong Kong International Stationery Fair

Today's stationery tends to exude style, offer added value and use quality materials to complement a healthy, tasteful lifestyle, according to exhibitors at the Hong Kong International Stationery Fair 2009.

One of Asia's major trade shows, the fair is an epitome of trends in the global stationery market, displaying an enormous array of creative and cutting-edge designs.

Organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) and Messe Frankfurt from 5-8 January 2009 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, the ninth edition hosts more than 200 exhibitors from about 16 countries and regions.

Three specialised zones are arranged to facilitate sourcing, namely Children's Stationery & School Supplies Zone, Office Supplies Zone, and Paper & Printing Products Zone. Together they house a comprehensive collection that embodies prevailing and emerging product trends.

Stylish stationery

"Our designs are minimalist and simple. They are meant to appeal to sophisticated consumers who care about the earth," says Denise Ng, Marketing Manager at Green & Associates (HK) Ltd, a Hong Kong exhibitor supplying stationery under the V-15 brand name.

"We use natural materials, such as wood, leather and metal, as well as recycled, eco-friendly materials, including recycled leather and recycled felt," she adds.

Among the company's offerings at the fair is a stylish wooden three-tier document tray with detachable labels. "The material is plywood laminated with wood veneers," Ms Ng says. Other V-15 exhibits include staplers, tape dispensers, clips holders, memo holders, and pencil holders that are in solid wood.

"Standard models use wood from the US, but we can use Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood instead if the customer requests for environmental reasons," Ms Ng advises.

Materials are also a focus for ColArt HK Ltd, the Hong Kong subsidiary of the UK-based ColArt Group, which produces and supplies colour and art materials worldwide.

"There is a trend towards high-quality and safe materials, especially for products aimed at children. This tendency is even more notable since REACH took effect," says Managing Director Gerry Ma of the Hong Kong unit.

"Our colour paints, crayons and pencils, for example, use safe materials. Our brushes are made with synthetic fibres that are as fine as animal hairs but do not have their problems, such as possible bacterial infection," he explains.

"Meanwhile, colour and art materials are also becoming more sophisticated, offering integrated functions to cater to the growing needs of leisure artists and children, who may want to use their works as home decorations or gifts."

Colourful choices

These trends are exemplified in ColArt's offerings at the fair, which include the Painting By Numbers kit for beginner painters and kids. "It comprises a high-quality textured board, a brush and acrylic paints. Each paint is assigned a number for identification, and the user just needs to apply different paints according to the instructions to come up with a beautiful picture," Mr Ma says.

Another ColArt exhibit is a DIY greeting card set for leisure artists. "They can paint the cards following the instructions provided and then decorate them with the accessories supplied. There are also stencils for personalising the inside," Mr Ma advises.

Besides these appealing, innovative and interesting products, the stationery fair will also feature seminars on the latest stationery trends and designs.

Adding to the show's appeal is the concurrent running of the renowned HKTDC Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair 2009, which will especially benefit buyers with cross-interests.

The Hong Kong International Stationery Fair 2009 is clearly the right show for spotting trends and business opportunities - as well as putting pen to paper to sign promising deals.