The 32nd Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair, organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), concluded yesterday at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. The concurrent 12th Hong Kong International Printing & Packaging Fair, jointly organised by the HKTDC and CIEC Exhibition Company (HK) Ltd, also came to a successful close at the AsiaWorld-Expo. The twin fairs together attracted 62,000 buyers from 138 countries and regions. Nearly 47,000 buyers attended the Gifts & Premium Fair, while over 15,000 buyers participated in the Printing & Packaging Fair.
“The Hong Kong Gifts and Premium Fair is the largest fair of its kind in the world, making it a benchmarking event for both product and market trends,” said HKTDC Deputy Executive Director Benjamin Chau. “On-site surveys showed a more optimistic outlook on the market compared to last year. The economy of the Chinese mainland has maintained a higher growth rate this year and the number of Chinese mainland buyers recorded a considerable increase. The number of buyers from Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Russia, Spain and Brazil recorded double-digit growth.”
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The HKTDC commissioned an independent on-site survey during the Gifts & Premium Fair, interviewing more than 950 exhibitors and buyers about their views on market prospects and product trends. The survey found that the industry is generally optimistic about the market this year. Over 90 per cent of the respondents expect overall sales to increase or remain steady this year, up 22 percentage points from 2016. Close to 95 per cent of respondents expect retail/ FOB (free on board) prices to increase or remain the same. Increase in operating costs (41 per cent), fluctuations of the global economy (36 per cent) and the fluctuating price of raw materials (34 per cent) are seen as the major challenges facing the industry this year.
As for the market with the highest growth potential, most respondents pointed to the mainland (60 per cent), followed by North America (58 per cent), Hong Kong (53 per cent) and Western Europe (52 per cent). The survey also analysed product trends in the gifts and premiums market. Fourteen per cent of respondents expect advertising gifts and premiums to have the strongest growth potential this year, followed by figurines and decorations (11 per cent), technology gifts (10 per cent) and fashion jewellery and accessories (10 per cent).
– Ideal platform for showcasing product innovation
An ideal platform for companies to showcase their new products, the Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair brought together more than 4,300 local and overseas exhibitors from 31 countries and regions this year. Hong Kong exhibitor PO: Selected brought a variety of new products to the fair, including a thermo mug with a two-way tea leaf compartment that allows users to control brewing time and the strength of the brew. Wilson Wong, Deputy Head of Business of the company, said the new product attracted strong interest from many buyers. In the first three hours of the fair, they established contacts with about 50 buyers from the mainland, Europe, the Middle East, North America and South America.
Many buyers spoke highly of Hong Kong exhibitors at the fair. Piyarat Phongpheaw, Merchandising Department Manager of Thailand’s Siam Piwat Retail Holding Co Ltd, said Hong Kong is Asia’s trendsetter and that its lifestyle products suit the tastes of consumers in Thailand. She could immediately bring the new products to Thailand after sourcing at the Gifts & Premium Fair and gain a first-mover advantage. She identified five to six Hong Kong suppliers of electronic gadgets and stationery and would place smaller-quantity trial orders to test the market.
Buyer from Poland, Agata Olejnik, visited the Gift and Premium Fair for the second time. She said she identified 25 potential suppliers from the mainland and Hong Kong for umbrellas with selfie sticks, smart watches and Bluetooth speakers, and was planning to order US$1 million worth of promotional gifts from these new suppliers.
– A springboard for start-ups
The Gifts & Premium Fair launched a Startup zone this year to allow start-ups to exhibit at the fair at lower cost. The new zone featured 20 start-ups from Hong Kong, the mainland and Taiwan. Hong Kong start-up Kazoo Technology (Hong Kong) Ltd develops “smart cards” that stores information readable by mobile device touch screens, which can be used in gaming, marketing and corporate networking. “The new Startup zone provides the most cost-effective platform for local start-ups like our company to reach out to international buyers and to collect their feedback,” said Kendall Lo, the company’s CEO and Co-Founder. On the first day of the fair, he met potential buyers and business partners from Australia, Canada, the mainland, Germany, Malaysia and Russia.
– Thematic zones attracted buyers to Printing & Packaging Fair
This year’s Hong Kong International Printing & Packaging Fair featured more than 440 exhibitors from eight countries and regions, showcasing a broad spectrum of printing and packaging solutions. Catering to the printing and packaging needs of different industries, the fair comprised the De Luxe Zone, the Green Printing & Packaging Solutions zone, the Food & Beverage Packaging Solutions zone and two new zones: Printing and Packaging Solutions for Fashion & Accessories and Innovative Retail Display Solutions.
Kleber Horita, Supplies Manager of Ofner, a food manufacturer from Brazil, joined the Printing & Packaging Fair for the first time. He met many suppliers from Hong Kong and the mainland and found suitable packaging solutions. He said he expected to place orders worth at least US$50,000. “The quality of the exhibitors is very good and the business matching meetings have been useful,” he said. “I really like the exhibition and will definitely come again.”
Cross-sector collaboration is creating more opportunities for the printing and packaging industry. Hong Kong exhibitor Wide Ocean Printing Company, which has been collaborating with local illustrator Prudence Mak to feature her “Chocolate Rain” character in their products, showcased at this year’s fair a new line of products including red packets, calendars and jewellery boxes launched in collaboration with a Japanese designer, and successfully attracted the interest of buyers from the mainland, Hong Kong, Japan and the United States. Man Sang Envelope Manufacturing Co, Ltd, another local exhibitor from the De Luxe Zone, launched a new packaging series featuring the work of renowned Hong Kong painter Chan Hoi-ying as well as specially-designed packaging for cosmetics products, which were also well received by international buyers at the fair.
– Helping regional companies go global
With its strong base of international buyers, the HKTDC’s trade fairs are ideal platforms for local or regional companies to explore global markets. “We have been participating in the Hong Kong International Printing & Packaging Fair over the years to extend our presence worldwide,” said Krisada Ramdeja, Export Marketing Manager of Thailand’s Cyberprint Group Co Ltd. “The results have been encouraging.” He said the company met potential buyers from Mexico, Brazil, France and the United States soon after the fair opened.
During the Gifts & Premium Fair, the HKTDC signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Thailand’s Office of SMEs Promotion (OSMEP) to promote bilateral SME development cooperation, further strengthening Hong Kong as an international trading hub in the region.