4 July 2005
Two Decades Of Success(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 07,2005)
Countless products were on display, and big-ticket business was the order from the outset. Hailing the success of the event, Jeffrey Lam, chairman of the fair organising committee, happily welcomed both old friends and new faces. "It is with the continual support of these buyers and exhibitors that the fair has been able to expand into the largest and most prominent of its kind in Asia," he said.
According to Lam, the major reason behind the fair's success was simply that the region was a prime producer of competitive, top quality gifts and premium. "Buyers know they can get better value here," he declared. "We get more and more business because this is the best place to conduct business."
Echoing his remarks was Hong Kong Trade Development Council senior exhibitions manager Anne Chick: "Another important driving force behind the ongoing success of this fair is its ability to draw top exhibitors and buyers year after year and to showcase many new and top quality products. This is why, apart from being firmly established as Asia's largest, the event also ranks third in size worldwide."
On display were advertising gifts and premium items, ceramic gifts, consumer electronics, corporate gifts, fashion jewellery and accessories, paper and packaging, party and Christmas decorations, pictures and photo frames, silverware, stationery, toys and sporting goods, travel goods and umbrellas and watches and clocks.
Added attractions included the Hall of Fine Designs, which comprised a selection of the best and most exquisite gift items. "The level of design was breathtaking, matched by very high quality standards and a most elegant setting," Chick said.
On-the-spot interviews with participants at the fair discovered Basil Lentner, managing director of Tapestry Importers T/A Brasch Hobby, of Johannesburg, South Africa, which displayed a range of decoupage products.
"This fair is important to the global gifts industry because it is an excellent location for international buyers, including Europeans, to source products," Lentner said.
Besides serving 2,500 retail outlets across South Africa, the company uses the fair to maintain contacts with customers in Korea, Australia, New Zealand, the US, Israel and the UK.
Also enjoying the fair was Khalid Bennis, manager of Morocco's Medidis S.A., a first-time exhibitor displaying its photo and picture frames and mirrors.
Bennis said the 43-year-old company was hoping to build on its established markets in Europe, the Middle East and the US by expanding to Australia and Japan.
"The fair is well organised and the services are efficient. We are optimistic about the response and hope to return every year."
Dutch company Henzo B.V. took advantage of the many opportunities available at the fair.
"A long-established specialist in photo albums, we are already in 75 countries worldwide and see this fair as a great opportunity to expand further," said sales manager Jan Huizenga.
Meanwhile, ethics and sensible business practices came under the spotlight in seminars staged during the fair. "Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is an increasingly important factor in today's marketplace," stated Miranda Kwan, business development and marketing manager, systems and services certification, of SGS (Hong Kong) Ltd.
"As the CSR concept becomes more widespread, groups including consumers, shareholders, employees and the media want companies - and their suppliers - to be accountable for their use of labour and resources," she said.
There was also advice available on how to avoid the heavy cost of the expensive litigation involved in taking counterfeiters to court. One such source is the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department.
Once a valid case exists, companies can check with the department on what documents and evidence are required for further action.
Turning to the perennial bugbear of non-payment of accounts, Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corp marketing division senior manager Cyrus Lee advised manufacturers to focus not just on running their businesses, but to also look closely at how the buyer pays. "Buyers can go bankrupt or default on payments, and manufacturers need to know how best to handle the debt," he said.
Lee advocated close checks on buyers' track records concerning timely payments and added, "Pursuing overdue payments is a lot more straightforward when placed in professional hands."
The undoubted success of the Hong Kong Gifts and Premium Fair 2005, and its associated programmes, once again emphasises that Hong Kong is the right place to grow business, meet old friends and make valuable new contacts.
Written by Geoffrey somers
Survey Report Reveals Marked Trends
With exhibitors and buyers busy negotiating, tabulating the numbers in a painstaking survey was Synovate Hong Kong.
The survey produced several interesting scenarios. For example, in regards to market forecasts, both exhibitors and buyers were optimistic about 2005.
In the gifts and premiums sector, 63% of exhibitors and 67% of buyers claimed the outlook to be better than 2004.
However, there were differing expectations between the two groups as to which region had the greatest potential for growth. Exhibitors believed that Western Europe ranked first in potential in gifts and premiums, closely followed by the US and the Chinese mainland, with emerging markets at a distance. On the other hand, buyers favoured the Chinese mainland's potential for gifts and premiums, ahead of Western Europe, the US and emerging markets.
According to the survey, the 2008 Beijing Olympics were thought likely to bring more business to the gifts and premiums industry. The expectation is that the upcoming games would increase product demand in quantity and product variety, and that there would be more opportunities to expand sales networks.
Both exhibitors and buyers are sensitive to environmental issues, the survey revealed. Altogether 86% of exhibitors and 80% of buyers said they were concerned about environmental protection when trading or sourcing products. Meanwhile, about 74% of exhibitors foresaw greater use of recycled/biodegradable products and about 66% of buyers said they would source more green products during the next three years.
Nonetheless, 49% of buyers said they had difficulty sourcing green products in Asia-Pacific. Environmentally friendly packaging (57% of buyers) and material recycling, refurbishment and reuse (45% of buyers) are anticipated to be the green-related technologies commonly achieved in the major selling markets.
The full report can be viewed at http://www.hkgifts premiumfair.com/survey/main.htm