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Window On The World(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 09,2007)

Summer Sourcing Show for Gifts, Houseware & Toys 2007

 

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Exhibitors had plenty of cause for celebration at one of the key mid-season events for international sourcing industries

Hong Kong trade fairs have become such a vital part of doing international business for Miao Ma Zhao that she has one big wish - to visit the city even more often to exhibit in these events.

The general manager of Chinese mainland children's furniture maker Fujian Senda Foreign Trade Co Ltd said her "big ambition" was to book a booth at the "world-famous" Hong Kong Toys and Games Fair each January. "The booths there are too hotly demanded," she said. "It's tough to get one, but we'll keep trying."

Miao said she met leading buyers from all around the world in Hong Kong. "We always want to meet new customers and Hong Kong fairs are also ideal for learning about product trends," Miao said at the Summer Sourcing Show for Gifts, Houseware and Toys at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in July. "Many of the overseas buyers have branch offices in Hong Kong, and they attend and gather catalogues."

Miao represents Fujian Senda at trade fairs for gifts and housewares in Hong Kong each April and also attends overseas events.

"The fair organiser, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, provides excellent service on everything from the booths to announcements and fair design."

Pointing to Fujian Senda's bright mini-furnishings, which include everything from tables, chairs - even rocking chairs - and benches to clothing racks, storage boxes and blackboards, she highlighted a cartoon-like bee adorning many pieces. "We work hard to develop themes and designs different from other companies," Miao said. "Then the customers show much more interest."

Fellow exhibitor Dhanabadee Art Ceramic Co Ltd from Thailand also joins Hong Kong trade fairs at least twice a year, and managing director Panasin Dhanabadesakul displayed the company's vases and pots at this year's Summer Sourcing Show.

"I've met a lot of potential buyers - some of whom could become very big customers," he said, adding that Hong Kong fairs are the "biggest and best" events to gauge important trends in Asian markets. "Many of our customers fly right over Thailand and drop into Hong Kong, so of course we'll return to attend future fairs."

Dhanabadesakul noted buyers demanded fresh designs and new models, even for vases, as seasons, moods and trends changed. "Our products are very fashionable - every six months we develop and display new items with different patterns, colours and finishings," he explained.

One new Dhanabadee vase collection resembles seashells, with silver paint covering the porcelain. "We wanted a very luxurious look," Dhanabadesakul said. "The customers love it."

His company also utilises a new technique: sandblasting. "Normally, sandblasting is used for metal and glass, but now we apply it to ceramics to make an etching style," Dhanabadesakul noted.

Interestingly, Dhanabadee's fastest-growing market is the Chinese mainland. "Consumers in China's main cities look for higher value-added and our products appeal to them," maintained Dhanabadesakul. "South America also looks like a promising region."

Creative Glass Ltd general manager Eric Cheung, meanwhile, offered extra-large novelty beverage bottles - up to several feet tall - for his customers' promotional and display purposes. "Most enlarged bottles are plastic, and they look it," he said. "But we make real bottles, and the look comes very close to the actual products."

His five-year-old Hong Kong-based company also displayed new garden decorations, such as bird-feeders and colourful glow-in-the-dark glass balls atop metal poles at the Summer Sourcing Show. "The glass balls are decorative in the daytime," said Cheung. "At night, they glow and save energy."

Customers wishing to research or buy products attend the Summer Sourcing Show, Cheung noted. "This year, we've met new customers from the US, Europe, the Chinese mainland and Taiwan."

Mugs and plant pots, some white and others brightly coloured, are the forte of Richyarts Co Ltd from Xiamen on the mainland. "We participate in Hong Kong trade fairs, and will soon establish a Hong Kong office," manager Angela Chen revealed.

"Hong Kong is our window for opening to the world," she added. "Buyers come from everywhere - they all know Hong Kong and we always get to know more clients."

Tables and chairs for children dominated a display by Kooha Create Hong Kong Ltd, the regional arm of Japanese firm Kooha Create Co Ltd. "This is our first exhibition in Hong Kong," said director Masahu Kogawa. "We came to find more business."

He arrived from Japan to lead the Hong Kong regional office in June. "Overseas buyers from Europe, the US and elsewhere come to Hong Kong - many more than go to Tokyo," Kogawa said. "Hong Kong's trade fairs are more international."

Once equipped with valuable Hong Kong trade-fair experience, Kooha may join fairs elsewhere. "We could travel to the UK, Germany and the US," Kogawa added.

TEXT BY JOHN CAIRNS