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Time To Trade(HKTDC Watch & Clock, Vol 03,2007)

Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair 2007

 

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Buyers and exhibitors are counting down the minutes until the opening of the world's largest watch and clock fair this September

There'll certainly be plenty to see at the 26th Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair, which will be held from September 5-9 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Once again, the industry's leading event will exhibit a plethora of superior designs encompassing the very latest trends from - and for - major markets worldwide.

As such, it's an essential sourcing platform for companies like Novotime S.A. of Argentina, which has been importing watches for 10 years and has the image rights for famous footballer Diego Maradona.

"I have been attending this fair for many years: the main reason is to build and maintain solid relationships with our suppliers, mainly Hong Kong companies," director Frederico A. Cohen said at last year's event.

Cohen said Hong Kong companies fully understood the needs of their customers and provide superior designs - especially ODM. "We always find new designs here," he added.

Locating the right calibre of buyers is equally important as international award-winning Hong Kong company o.d.m. design & marketing ltd appreciates.

"We have attended this fair every year since the company started because it provides excellent exposure to the market," senior marketing executive Callie Cheng said.

Traders will have plenty to savour this year, according to Anne Chick, senior exhibitions manager for the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, which organises the event with the Hong Kong Watch Manufacturers Association Ltd and the Federation of Hong Kong Watch Trades and Industries Ltd.

"A record 819 exhibitors and 16,348 buyers attended last year's silver jubilee edition and we expect about the same number this year," Chick believes.

Exhibitors will display everything from complete watches and clocks, parts and components, watch cases and packaging to machinery and equipment.

These dedicated traders will reinforce the Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair's established reputation as the premier, one-stop sourcing platform wholly dedicated to watches and clocks.

Chick notes that the fair will also feature familiar favourites such as the Brand Name Gallery, the premium section that showcases the very latest cutting-edge designs from some of the world's most creative designers.

"There will be more than 100 brands from 15 countries and regions on display," Chick promises. "Last year's Brand Name Gallery featured 96 brands, a healthy 12% growth over the previous year, and this continual increase in numbers reflects the zone's growing popularity with buyers."

Brands featured in 2007 at this premium zone include Hong Kong names such as Latitude and o.d.m.; French brands including Lafuma, Pierre Lannier, Elite Models' Fashion, and Thierry Mugler; Daewoo of Korea; Italian brand GF Ferre; and Swiss brands Olympia Star and Murex.

Chick adds that the Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair strives to promote the latest market intelligence and original designs and innovative timepieces through such important events as the popular Asian Watch Conference and design competition. "This year's conference will feature Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH president Jean-Daniel Pasche as the keynote speaker," she notes.

The 24th Hong Kong Watch and Clock Design Competition will again be held to further enhance the design and quality of Hong Kong-made watches and clocks.

Winners in the Open Group, which has "Lifestyle Culture" as its theme, and the Student Group, which will focus on "Dream of the Future", will receive their awards at the fair's opening ceremony on September 5.

Mini watch parades will be held throughout the fair period, highlighting some of the outstanding designs from exhibitors and adding glamour and pizzazz to this major event.

"This unique, winning formula will again draw important international buyers determined to keep ahead of the latest trends, ensuring that the Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair 2007 will be even more widely appreciated than its successful predecessors," Chick predicts.

TEXT BY SANDRA JENNER

TICKING OVER NICELY

The Chinese mainland, Western Europe and the US were predicted to be major growth markets for watches and clocks in 2007, according to a buyer and exhibitor survey conducted at last year's Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair.

Some 42% of the 408 exhibitors interviewed by Oracle Added Value on behalf of the fair organisers expected the mainland to see most growth in its retail markets.

"Western Europe was favoured by 32% of exhibitors, while 26% thought the US offered the best prospects," TDC senior exhibitions manager Anne Chick explains.

The survey, which also included 701 buyers, found that:

  • multifunction watches would retain their popularity - particularly those with health/sports-related functions or MP3 capabilities
  • quartz analogue, automatic and mechanical watches were the most desirable categories
  • metal and precious stones were predicted to be the two most popular dial materials in 2007
  • "Made in Hong Kong" watches were perceived to be middle- to high-end products by more than half of the traders interviewed

In addition, more than half of the traders selling to the EU said that their operations were affected by safety regulations such as WEEE, which aims to minimise the impact of electrical and electronic goods on the environment, and RoHS, which focuses on "the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment".

"The survey found that 80% of the exhibitors and 74% of the buyers who were currently selling or intending to sell to the EU would take measures to comply with environmental protection requirements," she says.

Most of them will better manage and select their suppliers and adopt environmentally-friendly packaging.

"Thirty per cent of the traders believed that taking these measures would see an average 12%-14% increase in orders from the EU," Chick notes.

However, half of the buyers surveyed admitted they were having difficulties sourcing RoHS-compliant watches. "On a positive note, 54% of the buyers who were currently selling to the EU thought that Hong Kong companies' capability in making RoHS-compliant watches is comparable to their Swiss or Japanese counterparts," Chick says.

The survey's overall findings echo Hong Kong's watches and clocks total export figures, which latest available figures show grew 5.2% to US$2.8bn during the first six months of 2007.