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Getting Into Shape(HKTDC Fashion - Footwear, Vol 02,2007)

Sports Source Asia



Sports fever is sweeping Asia, fuelled by the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 and the East Asian Games in Hong Kong in 2009. In turn, sports lovers and international buyers are buoyed by the launch of a timely new fair.

The inaugural edition of Sports Source Asia 2007, the international sourcing fair for sports equipment, sports apparel and accessories, will take centre stage at AsiaWorld-Expo in Hong Kong from October 27-30. Jointly organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC) and Munich International Trade Fairs Pte Ltd (MMI), the event will showcase the latest in sports equipment, apparel and accessories available throughout Asia.

Hong Kong firms exhibiting at Sports Source Asia cover a wide spectrum of producers, such as Yue Yuen Industrial (Holdings) Ltd (sports shoes), Power Sky Int'l Ltd (sports equipment and apparel), Sing Wo Sports Ltd (ball game equipment), Latitude Ltd (sports watches), Red House (Hong Kong) Co Ltd (fabrics) and Jako Asia Ltd (sportswear).

Also prominent will be V.K.F. Viva Knitwear Fty Ltd, which designs and manufactures a range of knitted and woven garments for women, men and children at its factory in Dongguan on the Chinese mainland.

"We manufacture sportswear for soccer, biking and tennis, as well as swimwear and T-shirts," explains spokesperson Tina Ho. "At the fair, we will focus on sportswear and swimwear, categories in which we are very strong."

She adds that V.K.F Viva Knitwear has more than 30 years' experience and manufactures for such prestigious brands as Adidas, Ellesse, Reebok, Converse, Umbro and Champion. "Currently, our major market is Japan but we would like to expand to the US and to new potential customers," Ho says.

Another local exhibitor is Platinum Sporting Goods (HK) Ltd, a manufacturing and trading company specialising in nets for sports such as soccer, tennis, table tennis, badminton, volleyball, golf and basketball.

The company also produces skateboards, sports bags, table tennis bats, darts games, games tables and other sports accessories at its manufacturing facilities in Guangdong Province, says manager Patrick Li.

"We will mainly be displaying our wide range of sports nets at the fair, as well as some portable sports sets for volleyball, soccer, lacrosse and others, which include all the equipment in a handy portable sports bag," he explains.

Li adds that Platinum Sporting Goods is a relatively new company (established in Hong Kong in 2002) that is hoping to widen exposure for its nets business, which he claims is quite unique in the sports products industry. "As this is the first fair of its kind in Hong Kong, it is a good opportunity for us to explore new markets as well as to expand our major markets in the US and Europe," he maintains.

On behalf of the organisers, TDC senior exhibitions manager Anne Chick says that all exhibitors will benefit from Sports Source Asia. "Manufacturers or distributors of various sports equipment, apparel, accessories or related products can meet buyers worldwide to conduct business in one convenient setting," she claims.

Chick also notes that visitors to the fair will be able to seek out joint-venture opportunities and source, franchise or subcontract for in-house retail brands as well as commercial or tailor-made new brands.

"They will find products for every market - from ball game and golfing equipment and supplies to winter, water, track and field and indoor sports," she notes.

"In addition, there will be an extensive selection of lifestyle/personal and fitness/gymnastic training products, sportswear and accessories, safety and protection gear and shoes, as well as shop fittings and equipment."

Hong Kong is the ideal location for this new fair, Chick believes. "Hong Kong is one of the leading suppliers of sporting goods," she says, "and is strategically located next to the mainland's Pearl River Delta - one of the world's most frenetic manufacturing regions."

Indeed, Hong Kong's exports of sporting goods amounted to more than US$5.5bn in 2006. "Such a strong export performance makes this a particularly favourable time to launch a major trade fair for this rapidly-expanding industry," Chick maintains.

"TDC has been organising some of the largest and most professional trade fairs in the world for more than 30 years," Chick adds.

"In addition, MMI has strong connections with sporting goods associations around the world and organises the International Trade Fair for Sports Equipment and Fashion (ispo) in Munich, Russia and the Chinese mainland."

Chick notes that while ispo is largely brand-driven, Sports Source Asia will focus on equipment and apparel and is therefore essential for virtually all companies associated with sports products worldwide.

"The event is a priority for licensees, corporate buyers, online retailers, chain and department stores, as well as mass merchants, private label buyers, sourcing agents, consumer mail-order companies, importers, wholesalers, distributors and specialty and general sporting goods retailers," she believes.

The venue, at Hong Kong's newest exhibition location, will also help lure buyers and exhibitors.

"AsiaWorld-Expo is easily accessible from the Hong Kong International Airport by Airport Express or the fair's free shuttle bus service, and is just a short train ride from the city centre," Chick notes.

In addition, both buyers and exhibitors know that Hong Kong's internationally-recognised status as a world-renowned business and trading hub offers visitors the trading resources, support services and facilities they need.

"That's the key reason why many trading companies in Hong Kong are sourcing for international brands, including some of the biggest sports names in the world," Chick concludes.

Hong Kong is the perfect sourcing platform, and it is anticipated that Sports Source Asia will rapidly become the premier sourcing event for sports buyers and exhibitors worldwide.