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Hot Opportunities(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 09,2006)

Summer Sourcing Show for Gifts,
Houseware & Toys 2006



Greeting VIPs, exhibitors and buyers at the recent Summer Sourcing Show for Gifts, Houseware and Toys, the Hon. Jeffrey Lam, SBS, JP, chairman of the fair organising committee, said it was not hard to understand why the event continued to grow in popularity.

"The Summer Sourcing Show has proved itself to be a perfect choice for buyers to source the latest products and maintain close relationships with manufacturers, especially those buyers who wish to place last-minute orders for trendy items for the Christmas and New Year season," Lam remarked.

In his address, guest of honour The Hong Kong Association of Banks chairman Peter Wong JP noted: "There is also an ongoing trend towards consolidation of buyers and retail channels. In particular, large-scale retail chains and mass merchants are minimising inventory and shortening delivery lead time in an effort to reduce costs and business risks."

The event, organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC), ran from July 4-7 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. "July is just perfect timing," said Lam. "It plugs an important gap in the international show schedule and allows buyers to place last-minute holiday-season orders while exploring new opportunities and marketing and distribution channels."

Lam also believed that novelty items tend to make markets move, especially in the toys, gifts and houseware sectors where there is plenty of scope for design- and material-driven innovations.

Many buyers were in full agreement, among them Australian Nursery Distributors director John Barker, who came to look for baby and children's items for retail and department store sales throughout Australia. "This is the first time we've attended this fair, which is well-organised and of a very high standard. The quality of products on display is also very good, and we have already found some interesting items such as baby monitors, small toys, clocks, and storage and linen products for children," Barker said.

Another first-time visitor was Shoppers Drug Mart director of global sourcing Caroline Pius. "Shoppers Drug Mart has about 950 stores across Canada and I am looking for seasonal items - anything from plush toys and sandals to costumes and Christmas decorations. We've already made a few contacts and we will arrange to visit their factories with a view to building up long-term relationships," she remarked.

Attending the Summer Sourcing Show for the second years was Toys 'R' Us-Japan Ltd director Taka Tohyama, who again took the opportunity to place last-minute orders for the Christmas season. "We are now targeting not just the 0-15 age group but everyone from 0-100, so I am sourcing gift items for adults and not just toys for children. I saw plenty that interested me, including PC accessories, speakers for MP3s, radios and picture frames," Tohyama said.

Also utilising Hong Kong as a regular sourcing platform was Toysmith product manager Burke Williams of the US, who was also attending for a second time. Toysmith has been importing toys, novelty and gift products for sale in the US and other world markets for 25 years. "Hong Kong is our main sourcing centre where suppliers are good in product quality, safety tests and shipping on time. This year, I am looking for outdoor toys, new novelty and gift items, children's jewellery and room decorations. I have identified 50-100 good items for potential ordering," said Williams.

The Summer Sourcing Show has undoubtedly established itself with buyers and sellers alike, says Hong Kong Trade Development Council senior exhibitions manager Anne Chick, noting that the event is still evolving. "For example, the Ladies' World zone was a recent addition to the original five zones of Gift Ideas, Dining and Cooking, Style and Dˆmcor, Home Living, and Fun and Play," she observes.

Meanwhile the premium showcase, Treasure Island, continues to be a favourite area for global buyers seeking out world-class brand names and exclusive designs of exceptional style, quality and creativity.

"Many exhibitors and visitors have already signed up to return next year, and it is tremendous to see how this event has become such an important calendar date for various industry players," said Chick.


An Impressive Head Count

Emerging as a key world sourcing event, the July Summer Sourcing Show played host to goods and services offered by 1,018 exhibitors from 18 countries and regions.

The event continues to attract more buying groups, and a total of 74 trade missions representing 2,412 companies and 3,638 buyers attended for a four-day buying bonanza.

The strong attendance from global buyers was well supported by the robust presence of some 25,153 trade visitors from Asia, Europe, North and South America, Australia, the Middle East and Africa. In terms of numbers, they were led by visitors from the Chinese mainland, Japan, Taiwan, the US, the Philippines and Thailand.

The presence of seven group pavilions, including the Chinese mainland, the Hong Kong Exporters' Association, Korea, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam further underscored the growing significance of the event.