1 Sept 2000
FAIR PREVIEW(HKTDC Watch & Clock, Vol 03,2000)
Vol 3 2000
Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair
6-10 September 2000
Welcome To A Time Of Growth
AS time for the year 2000 edition of the Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair draws near, we bring you news of how the fair is shaping up and the latest products going on display.
In 1999, the fair was the largest of its kind in the world. According to figures audited by the prestigious Society for Voluntary Control of Fair and Exhibition Statistics of Germany (FKM), 780 exhibitors from 15 countries and regions took part. They attracted a record of 16,033 buyers from 89 countries and regions.
We expect the 2000 fair to feature higher attendance among both exhibitors and buyers.
Hong Kong's watch and clock industry shows encouraging signs of growth. In 1999, Hong Kong remained the world's number-one watchmaker in terms of volume. Its total timepiece exports amounted to US$5.4bn.
The high-end market, which is more function- and design-oriented, registered growth in value and volume. An economic boom in our major markets, including the US and Europe, fuelled strong demand for watches with increased functions and unique characteristics.
Meanwhile, gradual economic recovery and growth in Southeast Asia and other markets, like mainland China, South America and Eastern Europe, resulted in a slight decrease in value, but a marginal increase in volume, for the more price-oriented, low-end market.
This year looks like one of industry growth. From January to March, Hong Kong's total exports of watches and clocks reached US$1.4bn, an impressive 20% increase from the same period last year.
The US and Europe remain our largest markets for high-end products, while Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe and South Africa are growth areas for the low-end market. We forecast an overall increase in both value and volume.
Hong Kong manufacturers are also poised to meet demands for the latest trends. Stainless steel and two-toned surfaces are the newest fashions, while chronograph watches and analog watches not requiring batteries are popular. Jewellery watches remain in high demand among women, while the slim look dominates in classic watches.
You will find all this and more at the 2000 Hong Kong Watch and Clock Fair. We look forward to welcoming you in September.
Lee Chung and Keith K.S. Ng
Watch The World In Hong Kong
THE 2000 Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair is an ideal venue for the watch and clock industry to gather. With only a few months to go, all figures indicate another record-breaking year in terms of exhibitors and buyer attendance. Group pavilions will represent mainland China, France, South Korea and Taiwan.
Along with its pivotal role as a venue for business exchange, the fair has become an information hub comprehensively serving the industry. In past years, we have introduced value-added elements like:
- the Asian Watch Industry Conference for information exchange on the latest market trends;
- the Hong Kong Watch & Clock Design Competition to promote creativity and foster development of design talent; and
- other concurrent events, such as a cocktail reception and a golf competition, for networking with industry peers.
We will continue to enhance and introduce new elements to serve your needs and create an atmosphere conducive to business success.
I look forward to seeing you in September.
Director, Exhibitions & Publications
Hong Kong Trade Development Council
An Update On International Pavilions
"We expect an increase in the number of exhibitors to around 50. The manufacturers come from Shenzhen, Fuzhou, Yantai, Shantou, Chaozhou and other regions. They will show electronic and electrical clocks, quartz and digital analog watches, wooden clocks and other items. Most of the buyers are from the US, Europe and the Middle East. Exhibitors at the previous Hong Kong fairs were satisfied with the business generated."
Joanna Yuen, China Resources Advertising & Exhibition Co Ltd
"A new delegation of manufacturers will exhibit in the French pavilion. They will present a selection of their products, including new creations for the coming autumn-winter season: watches, straps and bands in tune with today's fashion and design trends. We hope to continue improving business relations with Hong Kong and other parts of the Asia-Pacific region."
Valerie Miot, Professional Committee for French Watch & Clock Industry Development
"Forty-two companies will participate in the Korea pavilion. They will display a selection of high-quality clocks and watches ranging from sports and fashion to dress models. Our exhibitors reach more and more overseas buyers at the Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair, and this year we hope to meet new customers from all over the world."
Ejay Kim, Trade Assistant Manager, Korea Watch and Clock Industry Co-operative
"Thirty-three exhibitors have registered for the fair, and their products include both watches and clocks. The Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair is one of the first trade fairs the Taiwanese Watch and Clock industry joined, and it is one of the largest of its kind in the world. Our manufacturers consider it the best fair to attend."
Jason Han, Secretary General, Taiwan Watch & Clock Industrial Association
Clock-Chock Full Of Facts
OPPORTUNITIES to gain immediate access to an ever-widening range of market and product intelligence will play an increasing role in attracting visitors to the Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair, according to the event organisers.
"The upcoming fair, scheduled for 6 to 10 September, will feature about 800 exhibitors, making this one of the largest Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fairs yet," says Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC) deputy senior manager for exhibitions Anne Chick.
TDC is organising the 19th edition of the fair in co-operation with the Hong Kong Watch Manufacturers Association Ltd and the Federation of Hong Kong Watch Trades and Industries Ltd.
"While timepieces and related products, like components and packaging, are the traditional attractions bringing visitors to the fair, most participants are equally interested in collecting all the latest market and industry information," Chick says.
"We recognise this trend and actively encourage it. Therefore, we are determined to make the Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair not only the largest event of its kind in Asia, but also the most informative."
An Asian Watch Industry Conference, featuring industry experts and open to exhibitors and visitors alike, will take place during the fair.
"We are committed to providing maximum value and business opportunities," says Chick. "In the information age of the 21st century -- amid powerful trends toward e-commerce, globalisation and often-intense competition -- strategic information is one product each and every fair participant pursues."
The potent blend of timepieces and timely information should attract more than 18,000 visitors to the four-day fair, she adds. In 1999, more than 16,000 visitors from 89 countries and regions attended.
The fair features a wide array of exhibits, including mechanical watches, LCD watches, quartz analog watches, digital analog watches, quartz clocks, mechanical clocks, electronic and electrical clocks, movements, dials, casings, bands and other components, tools, machinery and packaging.
Exhibits will occupy 35,000 square metres, with group pavilions representing France, mainland China, South Korea and Taiwan.
Another special attraction is the Hong Kong Watch and Clock Design Competition, organised in conjunction with the fair so young designers can display their talents to worldwide visitors. Competition themes are "Dynamic City 2000" (for the open group) and "Ecowatch" (for the student group).
"This contest and the myriad of products on offer at the fair invariably combine to demonstrate that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region [SAR] is a natural home to some of the world's best watch and clock designers," says Chick. "In addition, the competition is an ideal opportunity to showcase promising new talent."
At the 1999 fair, the most dramatic attendance growth came from Argentina, Russia and Malaysia.
As an added convenience, potential visitors to the 2000 event can bypass registration
queues by pre-registering at the fair Web site: http://hkwatchfair.com.
Deal-Making Generates Wide Smiles
|THE first major step toward success for visitors at the Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair consists of many smaller steps: all the legwork necessary to examine tens of thousands of new products on display through-out the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Buyers soon discover what they like and buckle down to the business of negotiating potential deals. Often, the result is smiles all around--not only inside the exhibition halls, but also at related social events.|
Pace-Setter For Successful Sourcing
FOR years, Hong Kong has been an important trade and sourcing centre for watches and clocks -- and not without good reason.
"Hong Kong was the world's number-one supplier of watches and clocks last year. This reflects the high concentration of suppliers in Hong Kong," says Stanley Lau, managing director of Renley Watch Mfg Co Ltd and a member of the TDC's Watch and Clock Advisory Committee.
"Buyers can find a lot of choices and styles here. We offer all price ranges -- low, medium and high-priced products. Buyers are bound to locate what they want," says Lau.
In 1997, Hong Kong was the world's second-largest exporter of watches in terms of value and quantity, while its clock exports ranked first in value and second-largest in quantity.
Of Hong Kong's strengths, Crystal Electronic Enterprises Co Ltd managing director David Li says: "Communication is easy in Hong Kong, and we can follow fashion trends quickly.
"Our costs are low, partly because we have production bases in [mainland] China, and partly because we source and assemble the parts instead of producing them ourselves. Our prices are competitive. Besides, we deliver fast and accept even small orders."
Hong Kong has established strong ancillary and supporting industries for its watch and clock manufacturing, although the industry relies heavily on imported components. Many manufacturers have slashed costs by relocating the most labour-intensive processes to the mainland.
To sustain competitiveness, many Hong Kong manufacturers produce higher-end items. In addition to increasing ODM production, they have enhanced productivity by stepping up investment in modern technology. Some are investing in R&D on timepiece movements to reduce reliance on imports and overcome the constraints of standard movements to product design.
Stanley Lau says: "Many Hong Kong manufacturers have moved into [mainland] China. But many also keep R&D, design, sales and engineering departments in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong-invested watch and clock industry in China still uses Hong Kong as a base. Hong Kong people are clever, and there is advanced information technology here."
Eddie Leung, executive chairman of Dailywin Watch Products Mfg Ltd and a member of the TDC's Watch and Clock Advisory Committee, attributes the SAR's achievements to years of past efforts.
"Hong Kong's status as a major sourcing centre for watches and clocks is a result of our efforts in the past decade or two," says Leung.
"Our advantages are that our prices are low and styles are trendy. We have talent in Hong Kong and cheap labour in [mainland] China. Quality is also an important consideration. So it's a matter of cost, plus design, plus quality," he says.
"In 1995, the Hong Kong government established the Hong Kong Watch and Clock Tech Centre to study new and overseas technology in watch and clock production," notes Leung, the centre's chairman.
Industry players expect Hong Kong to maintain its position as a leading exporter and its status as a major sourcing centre.
"We'll maintain our edge and position. Industry players are keen to achieve that," Leung says. "In watch manufacturing, Hong Kong is unrivalled."
Hong Kong's biggest timepiece market is the US, accounting for 24% of its exports in the first two months of this year. Other main markets include mainland China (13%), Japan (9%), Germany (6%), Switzerland (5%) and the United Arab Emirates (4%).
THE global theme for watches and clocks stipulates that simplicity is beauty. That approach is likely to be reflected at the Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair in September.
"Design is now simplicity-oriented," says Stanley Lau, managing director at Renley Watch Mfg Co Ltd and a member of the TDC's Watch and Clock Advisory Committee.
Sharing that view is fellow committee member Eddie Leung, who is also executive chairman of Dailywin Watch Products Mfg Ltd.
"The market accepts simple designs," says Leung. "Hong Kong has caught up with the global market's mainstream design. Some of our designs even exceed those of Switzerland."
Stainless steel is the material of the moment, particularly in the EU, due to restrictions on nickel use and increasing environmental concerns.
"Stainless steel is popular because the colour white is trendy and because it requires no electroplating," notes Stanley Lau.
Aluminium is in vogue because it is light. Titanium and brass also have niches. The US market, for example, likes PNP-electroplated brass, according to Crystal Electronic Enterprises Co Ltd managing director David Li.
Leather has been weak, but is starting to rebound. For fabric or leather straps, pastel colours are the trend. "Synthetic leather straps with snake-skin grains are also popular," says Eddie Leung.
Manufacturers say quartz analog watches, rather than mechanical or digital, are the mainstream.
"Classic and elegant watches are mostly quartz analog," Lau says. "There is always demand for mechanical watches, but not big, because they are more expensive. The young nowadays accept quartz watches because they are convenient."
Digital watches have seen a revival recently, especially among young consumers. "Being cheaper to buy, LCD appeals to the young," says Lau.
Sport watches are star performers among medium-priced digital models, say industry players.
There is also a strong market for multifunctional watches, with features like electronic compasses, barometers, chronographs, timers, global positioning systems, LED and EL illumination.
Novel functions, such as voice announcements of time and temperature, can be added at affordable cost due to falling prices for electronic components. Some watches have cross-product features, like interactive games played between owners of same-model watches.
Consumers now buy an assortment of inexpensive watches, resulting in smaller, more scattered orders. "This shortens the product cycle and lead time," Lau says.
"Competitive pricing is important for the US market, which likes simpler designs," Lau says. "Europeans pay more attention to style. Their order quantities are smaller, but they are ready to offer higher prices."
Asians, who focus on fashion, like brand watches, while buyers from the Middle East have a passion for gold electroplating.
Turning to clocks, multifunctional alarm clocks, including desktop and travel models, are becoming popular. Some are intended for the premium market. In wall clocks, the demand is for colourful models with graphics of birds, bears and special themes.
Radio-controlled watches and clocks are also niche items for Hong Kong. One emerging market is for fad timepieces, such as those offering tone dialling, pagers, incoming call alerts and even complete mobile phones. However, such products are not expected to become a major trend in the near future.
David Li says Hong Kong manufacturers focus on middle-to-low-priced items, although some have moved upmarket as the low-end market becomes less profitable.
With the global economy flourishing, industry players predict growth in the SAR's timepiece trade. Li expects industry turnover to increase 10-15%. Eddie Leung also forecasts a double-digit increase.
Exhibitors Eager To Supply
TICK-TOCK! Each passing second brings closer the moment when the curtain will rise on the world's largest annual event for the ti mepiece trade. Many participants eagerly anticipate the action.
At the Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair 2000, scheduled for 6 to 10 September, an estimated 800 manufacturers, including 650 from Hong Kong, will showcase new products with a view to making contacts, promoting new models and conducting business.
Says Renley Watch Mfg Co Ltd managing director Stanley Lau: "Through this fair, we see existing customers and introduce new products. We also meet new buyers to expand our customer base. Buyers may not place orders immediately, but we can establish initial contact for follow-up."
The fair allows buyers to see a maximum number of suppliers within a short time at a fixed location.
"The fair acts as a promotion channel," Lau says. "Exhibitors and buyers can meet over drinks at a cocktail reception, or mingle even more informally over a round of golf. We have exhibited for 10 years. When the market is good, there is a lot to gain from participating. We think the business environment should be good this year."
Watch manufacturer Crystal Electronic Enterprises Co Ltd is another eager exhibitor, having participated for about two decades. "There will be promotional effects. The fair is very useful as a means of advertising and will save us lots of time since buyers gather there," says managing director David Li.
Exhibitor Dailywin Watch Products Mfg Ltd holds similar expectations. "We participate every year, showing our new products to existing and new customers. We can usually achieve US$1m worth of business at the fair. But it's more a promotional tool, and not every buyer orders immediately," executive chairman Eddie Leung says.
The fair also offers valuable exposure to international market developments. "It is a time when industry players get together and exchange information," Leung adds.
"When the market is good, there is a lot to gain from participating. We think the business enviroment should be good this year."
- Stanley Lau,
"It's very useful as a means of advertising and will save us lots of time since buyers gather there.
"We participate every year...and usually achieve US$1m worth of business at the fair."
- Eddie Leung,
WRITTEN BY LIZA LEE
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