1 Sept 1997
SHOW REPORT(HKTDC Jewellery, Vol 02,1997)
SHOW REPORTFair Attracts Record Turnout
THE June Hong Kong Jewelry & Watch Fair, held from June 20-23 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre this year featured a record number of exhibitors - 514 - from 31 countries and regions and registered 10,678 trade buyers from 71 countries and regions.
According to organiser Miller Freeman Asia Ltd, more than US$15.42m worth of on-site business orders were booked at the fair, and 127 exhibitors indicated that they expected post-fair business transactions to reach US$25.84m.
Buyers from Taiwan topped the list of visitors, and attendance rose by 51% from Indonesia and 56% from the Philippines. This year also witnessed a significant increase of 31% in visitors coming from the Middle East, particularly Israel.
On display was a wide spectrum of exhibits and services including exquisitely designed and crafted fine jewellery, quality diamonds, versatile gemstones, pearls, advanced equipment and tools, and prestigious associations and publications from around the world.
San Wang Liao, a visitor from Taiwan looking for pearls, jade and diamonds, said: "We come to this June fair every year. It is an essential sourcing opportunity and the fair has much potential for growth."
Luitha Von Gericke from South Africa said: "There is a good variety of pearls in the fair, well-priced and of high quality. The timing is great for us as there is no jewellery show in South Africa during the mid-year. The atmosphere is very friendly and we will definitely come again."
Liviu Schwartz, a diamond trader from Israel on his first visit to the fair, said: "I am impressed - the fair has created an exciting place to meet people in the industry and collect useful market information."
The June Hong Kong Jewelry & Watch Fair 98 will be held from June 25-28 in the extension to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Also organised by Miller Freeman Asia Ltd, the Asia Pacific Merchandise Fair 97, held earlier in June at the Hong Kong Exhibition Centre, attracted 4,907 visitors from 59 countries and regions.
Spain and Germany were major national groups participating in the fair. Spain presented a variety of fashion jewellery and accessories ranging from earrings, necklaces and chokers to rings, brooches, bracelets, tie-pins and cuff-links. Both retro and modern designs were represented.
Jewellery sets presented by German companies featured semiprecious stones, gemstones, enamel and crystals set in 18K gold and silver. These attracted a lot of interest among buyers.
In the stationery and premium products section, exhibitors displayed products ranging from basic stationery to innovative items.
The gifts and houseware section was expanded this year and featured crystal houseware decorated with floral patterns in pewter, disposable cameras and tableware.
Olga Ochkina Poligrafresurs from Russia said the exhibits were of high quality and design and that she would be back next year.
Rita Derkatsch from ICM Marketing (Hong Kong) said, "The fair is well organised and exhibits are interesting and trendy. The fair is manageable in size and allows visitors to look at the products in detail."
Next year, the Asia Pacific Merchandise Fair will be held at the same time as the June Hong Kong Jewelry & Watch Fair.
TDC NEWSSurge in Interest from New Markets
HONG Kong Fashion Week - Spring/Summer '97 concluded on July 19 with a significant increase in the number of buyers coming from Southeast Asia and South America.
The four-day fair, packed with catwalk extravaganzas and the latest fashion exhibits from 376 exhibitors from 19 countries and regions, attracted a total of 12,645 buyers.
Reflecting the growing garment market in the region, the increase in visitors from Indonesia leapt 43%, the Philippines 15% and Singapore 4%. The number of buyers from new markets such as Brazil rose 19%, while those from Chile surged 120%, compared with the last spring/summer event.
"We received a lot of buyers from Southeast Asia, especially Indonesia. From their enthusiastic enquiries we learnt that they view Hong Kong Fashion Week as an important fashion event in the region. It's good that Hong Kong Fashion Week has established such a good image as it will attract these buyers to make regular trips to the fair in the future," said Kevin Yeung, chairman of the Hong Kong Fashion Designers' Assn, who also had his own booth at the fair.
Genevieve Lam, manager of Hillier Fashion, was impressed by the fair. "The overall design and layout of the booths project a high quality image, while the wide array of exhibits on display can certainly make the event a one-stop-shop for buyers. Besides joining the Fall/Winter Fashion Week, our participation in the spring/summer event helps us to maintain contact with our regular buyers," she said.
Joining the spring/summer event for the first time, Hillier Fashion received total orders worth HK$1.5m.
Apart from seeing Hong Kong as a source for specific merchandise, many international buyers endorse Hong Kong Fashion Week as the information hub of the region for tracing the latest fashion trends and market information.
Atsuko Takii, president of Japanese concern Takii Knitwear Trading Co, said: "As an international, cosmopolitan city, buyers can discover the most up-to-date world fashion trends here. Hong Kong is undoubtedly the capital for fashion in Asia, with many inspiring and trendy new fashions that I can import to Japan."
Gernot Gollas, director of German firm Gollas Co, said: "Asia has become the centre for the textile industry instead of Europe, which was my main attraction for coming here. I look for high-quality women's wear and men's wear, and at the new trends and designs for ideas for my business."
Scott Shih, president of US group Delisun Int'l Co, said: "Anyone in the fashion world looking for innovative new trends should visit Fashion Week for creative inspiration." Shih was looking for men's wear and sportswear, including jeans and casual jackets.
Up-to-the-minute trends and market information will again be among the special features at the coming Hong Kong Fashion Week - Fall/Winter 98, scheduled for January 14-17. The event, to be held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre extension, will include other attractions such as the Lingerie Salon, International Textile Pavilion, Fashion Gallery, Europe Selection Pavilion, and the Asia Pacific Young Fashion Designers' Show.The next Spring/Summer Fashion Week is scheduled for July 15-18.
JAPANESE visitors were impressed by the high quality, attractive designs, new trends and competitive prices of Hong Kong's housewares on display at the recent International Show held in Tokyo.
A delegation of 22 Hong Kong houseware manufacturers under the auspices of TDC took in HK$42m worth of confirmed orders and HK$208m of orders under negotiation, both all-time records as well as large increases over last year.
The Hong Kong delegation exhibited clocks, coffee makers, car accessories, artificial flowers, foot massagers, furniture covers, toasters, electric toothbrushes, travel irons and other products.
Tsunsharu Kobayashi, president of importer Swanson Inc, said: "Hong Kong designs are far better than those of other Southeast Asian goods. The quality, design and colouring of Hong Kong products have improved remarkably since manufacturers relocated the production to the Chinese mainland. Hong Kong will play a significant role as a gateway to China for companies entering the region."
Kyotaka Saito, manager of Marna, Japan's leading houseware manufacturer, said: "Japanese companies have a lot to learn from trading with Hong Kong firms, which are very internationalised. China is going to become a leader in the global market, so Japan should further strengthen its business relationship with Hong Kong."
Hong Kong exhibitor Tung Fat Ind Ltd has been selling lanterns to the US since 1953 and other markets including the UK and Germany. Director Kenneth Kung said: "Decades ago, consumers were satisfied with flashlights if they simply worked well. Recently, people have become more conscious of design, styling, colour and materials. When we started marketing flashlights in Japan five or six years ago, we recognised that Japanese consumer tastes are very Westernised. We have good reasons to believe our sales will grow in this market."
Kevin Lee, managing director of Richfine Ind Ltd, a manufacturer of glass, ceramic and earthen tableware, said: "We are here for the first time, but we began to study Japanese consumer tastes and demands carefully three years ago, and we also conducted a survey of the Japan market. We now recognise that this market has great potential for our products, and so far we have successfully focused on marketing our own products through wholesalers. We have learned how to design and manufacture houseware products to meet Japanese consumer tastes."
Last year, Hong Kong exported HK$156.6bn worth of household goods. Japan is Hong Kong's fourth-largest market, importing HK$8.5bn worth of household goods last year, up 7% over 1995.
LEADERS of Hong Kong's business community, and their counterparts in Europe have launched an important initiative to boost economic ties by announcing the formation of a high-powered bilateral committee.
The Hong Kong/European Union and European Union/Hong Kong Business Co-operation Committee will open an important new channel for private-sector dialogue between the two regions on increased trade, investment and economic co-operation.
The initiative, which has top-level support from the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) and the European Commission (EC), is spearheaded by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC), which will also serve as secretariat.
The committees are chaired by Victor Fung, chairman of TDC, and Peter Sutherland, chairman of Goldman Sachs Int'l and former director-general of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. While working in close co-operation, each committee is autonomous, with its own perspective and agenda.
At the inaugural meeting of the Hong Kong committee, a message of support was received from the Chief Executive of the SAR Tung Chee-hwa. Tung says the timing for the initiative is auspicious. "Coming soon after the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the birth of the two committees is a testament to the confidence in the business prospects and opportunities of the two places.
"At this important time as the people of Hong Kong assume the solemn responsibility of managing our own affairs and as Hong Kong moves forward with pride and confidence as a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, I congratulate the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, Hong Kong's business community and their counterparts in Europe for establishing this high-level forum for business exchanges.
"The committees will add an important private-sector dimension to the work of the SAR Government in further strengthening Hong Kong's friendship and economic ties with Europe and in underscoring the SAR's continued autonomy in trade," Tung said.
A message was also received from the vice-president of the EC Sir Leon Brittan. "This shows the importance that Hong Kong companies attach to closer economic ties with Europe. I welcome the prospect of prominent members of the European business community setting up a parallel body in the near future.
"These initiatives are most timely as the Commission, in the wake of the establishment of the SAR of Hong Kong, hopes to put trade and investment links between Europe and Hong Kong on an even firmer footing than before," Sir Leon said.
On the European committee will be heads of multinationals and conglomerates with a strong stake in Hong Kong, and small- to medium-size European enterprises striving to develop business in Asia using Hong Kong as a base.
Chairman of the Hong Kong committee Fung says the initiative will help advance Europe/Hong Kong relations at business-to-business level while fostering greater understanding.
BRAZIL'S safeguard measures on toys show little impact on Hong Kong's total exports to that market, according to a report in the latest issue of Trade Watch published by TDC.
Entitled: "Brazil's Recent Safeguard Measures on Toys and the Impact on Hong Kong Exports", the report says Brazil's stable economy will stimulate import demand for other products. This should more than offset the negative impact of the tariff increase.
Trade Watch reports that from January 1997 to December 1999, Brazil will impose additional duties on imported toys classified under HS headings 9501 (wheeled toys), 9502 (dolls), 9503 (toys) and subheading 9504.10 (video games and parts and accessories). The revised total tariff rate will be 63% in 1997, 49% for 1998 and 35% for 1999.
As the affected categories account for a large chunk of Hong Kong's domestic exports and re-exports of toys, games and sporting goods to Brazil, the safeguard measures led to an immediate slow-down in toy exports to the market. Last year, Hong Kong's total exports of these toys to Brazil declined 8%, amounting to more than HK$62m.
Although the safeguard measures will seriously hamper Hong Kong's toy exports to Brazil, they only slightly affect Hong Kong's overall exports to that market.
Over the past few years, Hong Kong's exports to Brazil have grown rapidly. Total exports to Brazil more than tripled between 1993 and 1995. Following a 5% drop in 1996, exports recorded an increase of 33% during the first four months of this year, compared with the same period last year, reaching HK$2.85bn.
SMALL- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which form the backbone of Hong Kong's economy, face a new era of unprecedented competitive challenges but also strong opportunities for growth, according to TDC chairman Victor Fung.
"Changing times have created new competitive challenges for local small- and medium-sized enterprises," said Fung, at a seminar that marked the opening of the TDC's annual Market Day Exhibition at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre Extension.
"Many SMEs have not yet made the adjustment to operating in a high-cost economy. They have not identified past inefficiencies or incorporated cost-saving information and managerial systems."
According to Fung, Hong Kong SMEs have successfully diversified their production processes by expanding out of Hong Kong and into the Pearl River Delta region. "It is necessary for local SMEs to equip themselves to face the tough competition ahead and to step up efforts to penetrate into new market fronts," said Fung.
Despite the challenges, the TDC chairman noted Hong Kong SMEs are in a good position as a new era of opportunity opens. "Hong Kong is now in the best economic shape to advance as a Special Administrative Region, moving towards a more affluent and market-oriented regional economy and is set to penetrate into bigger overseas markets."
Market Day is a "one-stop shop" showcasing TDC's services including:
- global trade promotion
- Asia's largest databank of business contacts
- 22 trade publications
- international trade fairs
- market intelligence
- fashion promotion
- Design Gallery
TO enhance the business community's understanding of Hong Kong's services sector and its market potential, TDC has launched a reference book entitled "Profiles of Hong Kong's Major Services Industries" - a comprehensive report on the territory's major services industries.
The report covers Hong Kong's 25 key services industries: accounting, advertising and marketing research, air transport, arbitration and mediation, architecture, banking, building and construction, conventions and exhibitions, design, engineering, express cargo, freight forwarding, import and export trade, industrial testing and inspection, information technology, insurance, legal, management consultancy, media, non-bank financial services, publishing, sea transport, securities, surveying, and telecommunications.
To coincide with the Government's announcement in March 1996 that TDC be entrusted to further promote Hong Kong's trade in services, TDC's research department released a report entitled "Profiles of Selected Service Industries of Hong Kong", which provides the business community with a preliminary knowledge of Hong Kong's services industry.
The new, updated report aims to provide local and overseas companies with more detailed information on Hong Kong's services sector.
The report also presents an overview of Hong Kong's services sector as a whole. The rapid economic growth in Asia has provided favourable conditions for the transformation of Hong Kong's economy. As Hong Kong's manufacturers shift their lower value-added production processes to the mainland and overseas developing countries, Hong Kong continues to handle the more elaborate production processes, as well as provide management functions and other production-related support services.
This shift in production has also generated considerable demand for trading, shipping, financing and professional services from Hong Kong, which is the ninth-largest exporter of commercial services in the world. Since 1980, Hong Kong's services exports have been growing at an average rate of 16% per annum.
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