1 March 2003
Basel 2003 World Watch and Jewellery Show(HKTDC Watch & Clock, Vol 01,2003)
Time For Change At Basel 2003
International buyers will be spoilt for choice at the largest-ever Hong Kong pavilion at the upcoming Basel 2003 World Watch and Jewellery Show.
The Hong Kong Pavilion in the prestigious international event that runs from April 3-10, 2003 has increased from 314 companies in 2002 to some 320 businesses. They will be housed in approximately 6,600 square metres of exhibition space - over 20% more floor area than last year - making the Hong Kong pavilion the largest in the Zurich fairground.
"There were about 140 applications from the watch section and about 180 from the jewellery section," Hong Kong Trade Development Council manager of Product Promotion Phoebe Leung explains. "Many Hong Kong companies requested double or even triple booths."
The expanding Hong Kong pavilion reflects the ever-increasing popularity of the world's leading branded goods exhibition, which this year will be split between Basel and Zurich to enhance the business environment for exhibitors, buyers and visitors alike.
This new concept of "One Show - Two Locations" involves clear segmentation of exhibitors according to their business strategies. The exhibition venue in Basel will feature solely branded products, while the Zurich venue will house companies that do not pursue a brand-oriented strategy.
"The larger exhibition space and better infrastructure in the Zurich fairground will ensure that many Hong Kong watch and clock manufacturers will be able to present a comprehensive range of products to overseas buyers," adds Leung.
This realignment means a new location for Hong Kong exhibitors and a shift in their traditional expectations of the trade fair, which most Hong Kong manufacturers have been attending for many years.
Pengelly Co Ltd director Alric Leung is positive about the changes. "From appearances I believe there will be no change - if anything it will be better," says Leung, who was part of a delegation that travelled to Zurich in April 2002 to inspect the new location. He believes his target market of potential buyers and distributors will find the arrangement more user-friendly. "A buyer generally knows what he wants, and if he wants to buy Hong Kong watches, then he will see a more concentrated selection," Leung adds.
3 Wells Watch Industries Ltd managing director Clement Cheuk agrees. "In terms of our OEM and ODM business, I think there will be no negative effect. Those buyers have no choice but to come to the Hong Kong pavilion, wherever it is."
Angel Wong, project manager for Advance Watch Co (FE) Ltd, a company that manufactures many of the world's most famous brand name watches at its own factory on the Chinese mainland, believes that "One Fair, Two Locations" is a logical progression in the evolution of the Basel Fair. "Splitting the fair will mean that people know where to go and it will make it easier for them to do that," she maintains.
"Distributors and retailers of brands will go to Basel, while the wholesalers and department stores with own brands will go to Zurich."
Advance Watch will be showcasing its new camera watch at the fair. The watch, which has a colour display and colour download, can take up to 16 photographs. "In the past we have found that promoting new and innovative products at Basel is the best way to generate interest from potential buyers," says Wong. "I think our camera watch will generate a lot of interest."
Another company eager to promote its new products at Basel is Latitude Ltd. The company's business development director, Ricky Law, says that in addition to its range of sensor products, Latitude will be promoting its new computerised diver's watch. "This is one of our more unusual OEM products, and we will be seeking interest from licensees at the fair."
Wong adds that Advance Watch is positively eager to try out the new arrangement of "One Fair, Two Locations". "Advance is a well-known name and we believe that we can draw more attention from potential licensees at Zurich," she confidently predicts.
WRITTEN BY JUDY SMITH
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