6 Sept 2007
Focal Point(HKTDC Optical,2008)
Hong Kong Optical Fair 2007
The focus will be on Hong Kong in November when the largest eyewear fair of its kind in Asia draws in the crowds
Organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC) and co-organised by the Hong Kong Optical Manufacturers Association (HKOMA), the three-day Hong Kong Optical Fair has become an important calendar date for global players.
For example, regular exhibitor See Kiang Optical Mfy Co Ltd looks forward to the opportunity to show off its latest collections to international buyers.
Producing at a 20,000-square-metre factory in Shenzhen on the Chinese mainland, the 28-year-old manufacturer offers a profusion of optical frames crafted from titanium, acetate, Monel and stainless steel.
"Sunglasses will be our focal point at the upcoming fair," reveals managing director Winston Lai. "In addition to temples being enhanced with stylish laser-cut patterns, our new creations will also play with bright colours and contrasting matt and shiny finishes."
The firm services mostly big importers and chain stores in markets such as the US and Italy, says Lai, noting that manufacturers today enjoy close collaboration with market-wise customers.
"When developing new design concepts it is important for us to demonstrate our technical and design skills," he elaborates. "These are always key factors."
In response to booming global demand for sunglasses, exhibitor Elegance Optical Mfy Ltd is keen to demonstrate its professional approach.
"Sunglasses form one of our main lines," says director Terry Poon. "For the fair, and the coming season, we have developed various collections under different themes. Many are very novel and modern."
Exporting its medium- to high-end optical goods to the US and Europe, in addition to managing its distribution network in Southeast Asia, Elegance Optical sees the Hong Kong Optical Fair as an excellent platform to help keep track of prevailing product and market trends.
"It is essential to keep pace with the latest developments, and this fair is the place to be, especially as so many worldwide exhibitors and buyers will attend," adds Poon.
The atmosphere at the fairground reveals all, with enthusiastic exhibitors busily introducing their latest creations to throngs of buyers, according to HKOMA president Hui Leung Wah. "This is a vital platform for everyone," he adds.
An industry veteran, Hui says that Hong Kong's optical industry has excelled in terms of both quality and design in the course of the past two decades.
"Hong Kong manufacturers are keen to uphold their reputations and maintain their competitive edge by using more advanced technology and offering value-added services," he adds.
"At present, many Hong Kong optical companies are playing an active role in design and product development. Their customers often offer the initial ideas, and the creative and R&D processes are done here to fully realize exciting new concepts."
Hong Kong is the second largest exporter of spectacles and frames in the world after Italy. The SAR's total exports of spectacles rose by 34% in the first half of 2007. With an increase of 36%, exports to the EU were particularly strong.
"It is true to say that Hong Kong-made optical products can be found all over the world," says Hui. "It is also encouraging to see promising growth in emerging regions such as Eastern Europe, in addition to our traditional strengths in the US and the EU."
TDC senior exhibitions manager Anne Chick says she is delighted that the fair has grown into such an important focal point in the course of the past 15 years.
"In addition to much greater coverage, thanks to the specialised zones, we are now seeing more famous and emerging brand names extending themselves into eyewear," Chick says.
Specialised zones catching the eye include Visionaries of Style - Enjoy Your Vision in Life Section, which has become a popular setting for elite international eyewear brands to display cutting-edge creative designs and ideas.
"Also in its fourth year is the Retail & Shop Design, Equipment and Technology Section," adds Chick. "This is a useful source for those looking to establish retail optical outlets or improve existing ones."
Ensuring that everyone stays fully focused on the latest industry developments, the popular Hong Kong Optometric Conference will again discuss important and current ophthalmic issues, as well as host a series of informative seminars covering everything from fashion trends to retail trade.
The winning creations of the 9th Hong Kong Eyewear Design Competition will also be on display throughout the event. Under the theme 'Your Style, Your Character', the highly inspiring pieces from promising designers bode well for Hong Kong.
"With a comprehensive array of products and information-packed activities, the coming fair will be another bonanza for buyers and exhibitors alike," promises Chick.
Under the spotlight at the upcoming fair, visiting buyers will have an eyeful of contact lenses, goggles, lenses, mountings, parts and accessories, related chemicals and materials, manufacturing equipment and technology, optometry instruments, spectacle cases and holders, related packaging materials and associated services and publications.
The Hong Kong Optical Fair is definitely an event to witness first-hand.
TEXT BY WINNIE HUI