21 Nov 2019
As the Hong Kong Trade Development Council’s (HKTDC) autumn trade fair season drew to a close, the trade body revealed that the seven October and November fairs attracted more than 9,600 exhibitors and nearly 156,000 buyers from 165 countries and regions.
The fairs drew an increased number of buyers from Turkey, Brazil, Iran, Vietnam and Macao.
The seven fairs were the HKTDC Hong Kong Electronics Fair (Autumn Edition), electronicAsia, jointly organised with MMI Asia Pte Ltd, the HKTDC Hong Kong International Lighting Fair (Autumn Edition), the HKTDC Hong Kong International Optical Fair and the HKTDC Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair (main picture), all held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC), and the HKTDC Hong Kong International Outdoor and Tech Light Expo and Eco Expo Asia, jointly organised with Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd, held at AsiaWorld-Expo.
An independent research agency commissioned by the HKTDC interviewed 1,724 exhibitors and buyers during the Autumn Electronics Fair, the Autumn Lighting Fair and the Outdoor and Tech Light Expo. The survey showed that respondents considered fluctuations in the global economy (43%) to be the top business challenge this year, followed by an increase in operating costs (36%) and fluctuating raw material prices (29%), while only 8% of respondents were concerned about the unstable political environment in Hong Kong.
As Mainland China and the United States continue to make progress on trade negotiations, respondents expressing pessimism over the likelihood of a resolution dropped from 48% last year to 33% this year. Of the respondents, 45% remained neutral while 23% expressed optimism.
Middle East, ASEAN in focus
Western Europe (25%), North America (20%) and Japan (14%) were seen as the traditional markets that respondents from the electronics and lighting industries most hoped to develop. In terms of emerging markets, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries (10%), Mainland China (8%) and the Middle East (6%) were the most favoured.
As for market outlook, most respondents viewed Korea (63%), Australia and New Zealand (55%) and Western Europe (53%) to have the best growth prospects among traditional markets, while the Middle East (71%) and ASEAN counties (67%) topped emerging markets.
Smart products in demand
The global demand for smart products continues to gather pace. The Autumn Electronics Fair survey found 81% of respondents were willing to pay as much as 20% more for electronics products with smart-home applications. Three quarters of industry players (75%) held an optimistic view on the market potential of products incorporating augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies, while 71% saw favourable prospects for robotics. Medical applications (45%) were selected as having the greatest growth potential over the next two years, a significant increase of 21 percentage points compared with last year’s findings.
Many ASEAN buyers adopted a proactive attitude when sourcing, including Vietnamese buyer Dung Minh Nguyen, Director of HDP Vietnam Technology, who visited the Autumn Lighting Fair. “Within a few days, we identified more than a dozen potential suppliers from Hong Kong and Mainland China. We plan to order at least US$50,000 worth of products relating to commercial lighting for hotel projects, outdoor lighting and track lights from each of these new suppliers,” he said.
Important trading platform
“Despite the internal and external challenges that Hong Kong has been facing, all seven HKTDC fairs and associated events ran without a hitch,” said HKTDC Deputy Executive Director Benjamin Chau. “Surveys conducted during the fairs found that 97% of responding buyers view the Hong Kong fairs as one of the most popular channels to find new suppliers, while 96% of responding exhibitors consider the Hong Kong fairs to be the most effective in helping them reach new buyers. More than half (56%) of responding exhibitors chose to launch their new products at the Hong Kong fairs, reflecting that Hong Kong continues to be an important platform for global trade.”
During the seven fairs, the HKTDC viewed the safety of exhibitors and buyers as its top priority, Mr Chau said. Various measures were implemented to strengthen support to visitors and exhibitors, including enhancing transport services and ramping up its business-matching service to enhance buyer-exhibitor connections. “We will continue to provide supportive services in the future to facilitate industry participants from around the world to source and do business in Hong Kong, and to generate more business opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises,” he said.
The Buyer Concierge Desks newly set up by the HKTDC at the seven fairs, together with the Council’s regular business-matching services, led to 7,000 meetings, creating more opportunities to help exhibitors and buyers connect.
To help industry participants stay abreast of the latest trends, the HKTDC enhanced the innovation and technology elements at all seven fairs. For example, the Autumn Lighting Fair’s Connected Living • Smart Home zone showcased smart living concepts, technologies and products; the Optical Fair’s IT Solutions, Shop Fittings & Equipment zone presented innovative eyewear technologies; the Green Transportation zone at Eco Expo Asia featured eco-friendly solutions such as electric vehicles; and the Autumn Electronics Fair debuted the Nanjing 5G Pavilion at the Tech Hall.
Meanwhile, the Startup zone at the Autumn Electronics Fair presented an array of exciting concepts from innovative young companies. One of the exhibitors was OliveX (HK) Limited, which has developed an interactive artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled smart mirror. Company CEO Keith Rumjahn said: “This is our first time to participate in the Startup zone at the Autumn Electronics Fair. The results have far exceeded our expectations. We have met with two potential distributors from Spain and the United Arab Emirates. The Startup zone provides a cost-effective platform for us to maximise the exposure of our new product and look for potential distributors.”
Multiple forums and seminars were organised during the fairs to examine current technological trends and bring participants up to speed on the latest industry developments. These included the Autumn Electronics Fair’s Symposium on Innovation & Technology, the Autumn Lighting Fair’s forum on the theme “Ecosystem of Connected Living”, Eco Expo Asia’s Eco Asia Conference, and the 17th Hong Kong International Optometric Symposium at the Optical Fair.
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